Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reinventing The Wheel



There's a great little article in the March '09
Air & Space magazine called; Hot Commodity
printed in the recurring section called; In the
Nuseum. I was able to access the photo online,
but not the text. Good luck if you can.
www.airspacemag.com

The NASA and contractor engineers charged with
designing the heat shield for the new NASA Orion
crew capsule found they had a problem. AVCO, the
contractor that made the original Apollo heat
shields was long gone, along with all their files.
Meanwhile, all the existing capsules are on display
and off-limits. Look but don't touch. OFFICIAL
National Treasures. I like that. It was looking
like they'd have to reinvent this wheel from scratch
though.

The right question in the right ear led to the Paul
E. Garber storage facility, owned by the National
Air & Space Museum. It's a really cool warehouse
packed with the greatest stuff. They had 5 crates
of new and used heatshield parts and samples tucked
away. The story goes on to say that the gathering
of happy scientists looked like kids on christmas
morning. Current ideas verified, impressive old
materials tech, fastening methods revealed...
A happy story as far as it goes.

I really don't mind that NASA is engaged in retro
rocket science, if it were up to me, they'd be
resurrecting the entire Saturn lift capability.
I just hope I'm not there, years from now, when
NASA is trying to relearn how to build and fly a
spaceplane.

1 comment:

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