Friday, January 04, 2008

Flying jalopy.

NASA is having more problems with the STS, which qualifies for antique vehicle license plates here in Tennessee. Considering that the Plymouth Reliant was the Motor Trend "Car Of The Year" in the year the Shuttle made its maiden voyage, this is perhaps unsurprising. Maybe the carburetor is stuck. Whack it with a screwdriver, it worked on my K-Car.


Anonymous said...

That's NASA for you.
Squander a dollar to save a nickle.
It really sucks cuz it was my dollar.

Anonymous said...

I watched them remove the connector on the NASA channel last night.

Rather than calling it a "cl********k of monumental proportions" all I have to say is that NASA went from an organization that could get the job done to one of a gaggle of chicken littles more concerned about procedure.

Anonymous said...

I had a Reliant K(lunker)-car in the station wagon version for a few years. When they first started putting lots of ethanol in the gasoline, some components weren't quite ready for it. Like the rubber spacer between the carb and the intake manifold. Mine simply rotted to pieces.

Chrysler had a fix for it though. An aluminum spacer that took up the space. Only cost a half a gazillion dollars for the part.

If the astronauts hate the Shuttle half as much as I hated that P.O.S., I'm surprised that they can find anyone to fly it.

On t'other hand, if somebody offered me a free trip to space in it, I'd jump at the offer so fast as to make their head spin. I know it's a kludged-up flying junk pile with the glide ratio of a set of car keys, but I'd still take the chance.

Anonymous said...

I don't recall the actual numbers, but the original projected disaster odds were in the neighborhood of 1per100 flights. I think the results are pretty much ballpark!

Zendo Deb said...

They needed to repair a "system" on the STS a few years back, but no one made open reel tape drives, so they had to buy one on e-Bay.

Anonymous said...

When I was working on the STS in 2003, (ET LOX cable tray PAL ramp redesign)there were basically two camps - the old folks who said "hey, 2 out of 100 isn't too bad for the first major space flight system" and the young folks who said "let's do everything we can to remove all risk."

So they took Werner Dahm's suggestion (I was in that conference, at that time was working in TD63) of "leave the foam where it is - it's only caused one problem out of nearly 100 foam strikes" and tried to placate the "safety at all costs" folks by delaying launches at the slightest problem.

Roberta X said...

This is what happens when you take a not-very-good system and politicize the manufacturing, support and (eventually) management: it all goes to hell.

We ended up with a less-useful shuttle very early on, thanks to Congress at least as much as NASA and it has gone downhill from there.

I suggest Richard Feynman's marvelous "Mr. Feynman Goes To Washington: Investigating The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster" (in "What Do You Care What Other People Think?") to anyone instested in the Shuttle program and its problems. Dr. Feynman was a brilliant theoretical physicist who could out-engineer most engineers and his conclusion -- about a 1 in 200 change any given flight will prang -- still holds.

Roberta X said...

"Chance," not "change." Seems my fingers have written more reports about rewiring junk than estimates of odds.