Re: Venting

From: Markus Mehring (
Date: Fri Feb 07 2003 - 16:45:04 EST

  • Next message: Markus Mehring: "Re: Root Cause Analysis"

    On Fri, 7 Feb 2003 15:38:28 -0600, you ("Sam Milton"
    <>) wrote:
    >I know this will be off-topic, but this will only be one post.  I have been
    >listening for a week now as theories are bandied about, and the media
    >continues to try to play "gotcha" with scraps of technical information to
    >try to prove somehow that some of the smartest engineers in the world were
    >careless, or stupid, or lazy, or negligent in some way.  It really leaves a
    >bad taste in my mouth.
    Couldn't agree more. And I would expand that also to some politicians and
    other self-proclaimed experts on the subject.
    >As an chemical engineer myself (but not one of the
    >smartest in the world), I can appreciate the complexities of the shuttle and
    >all of the potential malfunctions.  It amazes me that these engineers like
    >Mr. Dittemore maintain their cool with airhead reporters (Miles O'Brien
    >excluded) asking questions about boundary-layer flow which they obviously
    Well there sure are one or two more who know what they're saying and what
    they're reporting on... But it's true, some of those questions are
    annoyingly stupid, repetitive, sometimes leading, etc.
    >My theory on this disaster, since everyone has one, is that either the
    >debris impact or some other object struck the left leading edge reinforced
    >carbon-carbon panels and damaged them. These U-shaped panels are attached
    >side by side to the front spar of the wing.
    I would agree to that in that it amazes me in how so many people have
    focussed on heat shield tiles since Saturday and tied that focus to the
    debris impact. I would much rather have wondered if that impact hadn't had
    a bad influence on the RCC in some way, such as in rupturing it a little at
    the wing shoulder, with that rupture getting larger during reentry,
    allowing a little bit of plasma in, the rupture getting yet larger and
    changing the airflow over the wing, the wing dissolving from there on down
    etc. I know this is also pure speculation, but this would explain a lot of
    the symptoms a lot better than that stupid "tile damage" the media is
    making such a fuzz about.
    >Today Aviation Week reported
    >that an Air Force telescope saw severe damage to the wing glove are of the
    >leading edge.
    I have seen the photo, and I think it's debatable if that really is "severe
    damage" considering its resolution (or rather lack thereof...). It shows
    what might(!) be missing structure in that area and a sort of (plasma?)
    turbulence trailing the left wing elevon area. Let's not jump to a
    conclusion based on a photo that mostly consists of black and white blocks.
    <major snip>
    Very good assessment, can't help but nodding while reading it.
    >As for the sensor loss, I don't know enough about their location or wiring to say.
    Some of those sensors apparently share a wiring route that goes around the
    left and front wheel well, closely behind the RCC area that might(!) show
    some damage on the aforementioned photo. I'm just not sure wether that's
    the precise point of impact of that piece of debris, looks to me as if that
    impact occured a tad bit more outboard. I'm really not sure, and I'm
    reluctant to speculate.
    CU!	Markus
    Unsubscribe from SeeSat-L by sending a message with 'unsubscribe'
    in the SUBJECT to

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Feb 07 2003 - 21:13:49 EST