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post #1 of 12 Old 05-17-2009 Thread Starter
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Sailboat mechanics in space

Was reading about the astronaut-mechanics' day yesterday as they worked on the Hubble telescope--it seems some "easy" jobs turned out to be really hard, and some dreaded jobs turned out to be easy--and it sounded pretty much like any repair I've ever done. Maybe they need to use sailboat mechanics or DIYers up there!

From today's Washington Post--see if it doesn't sound familiar:

"[the astronaut had to ] unscrew 32 fasteners, each of which had to be captured in a tiny plexiglass compartment ...Grundsfeld's task was made all the more difficult by the awkward position of the instrument. He was unable to face the screws head-on, and had to approach from a 45-degree angle. A strut partially blocked his vision...Each card presented sharp edges...the fourth and last card became stuck in place...with much shaking and wiggling and prying, freed the card."

OK, the sharp edges can be fatal to them, otherwise sounds like a day working on the boat--though they didn't mention cursing.

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post #2 of 12 Old 05-17-2009
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One difference is that NASA will have a team of engineers spend years planning the repair, and any tool they figure they need will be designed, prototyped and tested...

I know many times on a home maint job I had wished for some tool that does not exist!
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-17-2009
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Also, working on a boat generally has the benefit of gravity... although, given the contortions one must make to fit into some of the engine workspaces I've seen, gravity is not always an ally.

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post #4 of 12 Old 05-17-2009 Thread Starter
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Oh yeah, definitely some times I wanted to pull out the gravity suppression generator, dog. I'd point it around where those nuts, bolts, and washers might be falling.

And jarcher, I thought about all those custom tools and support they have. Figured I spot them that advantage as an offset to the whole slip-up-and-die thing

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post #5 of 12 Old 05-17-2009
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And jarcher, I thought about all those custom tools and support they have. Figured I spot them that advantage as an offset to the whole slip-up-and-die thing
Yeah, there is that. But I can tell ya, if I was offered their job it would be a no brainer! Sign me up!
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-17-2009
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learned a long time ago if i didn't have the tool i neede i'd make it to save time next time i needed it
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-17-2009
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the real difference is we know blistering and delamination wont kill us. also they have no need for epirbs, life vests etc because if it goes wrong up there, there is no coast guard
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-18-2009
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the real difference is we know blistering and delamination wont kill us. also they have no need for epirbs, life vests etc because if it goes wrong up there, there is no coast guard
Actually, I read that they have the other shuttle on standby with a small crew, and estimate that in an emergency they can launch it in 2 days. This orbit is nowhere near the space station, so the other shuttle would be the only hope.

Thinking back, though, I can recall many, many aborted launch attempts. Leaks while fueling, computer issues, weather and so on. Getting launched in two days seems aggressive, but then again, I don't work for NASA.

Not exactly the Coast Guard in space, but better than nothing I guess.
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Actually, I read that they have the other shuttle on standby with a small crew, and estimate that in an emergency they can launch it in 2 days. This orbit is nowhere near the space station, so the other shuttle would be the only hope.

Thinking back, though, I can recall many, many aborted launch attempts. Leaks while fueling, computer issues, weather and so on. Getting launched in two days seems aggressive, but then again, I don't work for NASA.

Not exactly the Coast Guard in space, but better than nothing I guess.
this is why i have said for years that the shuttle cockpit should be able to survive reentry with out the rest of the shuttle, even if the shuttle body breaks up around it . another option is a remote piloted escape pod that floats around waiting for the SHTF that can be flown to the shuttle and do a reentry in the pod. hell even a few Apollo type capsules sitting on missiles waiting.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-18-2009
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this is why i have said for years that the shuttle cockpit should be able to survive reentry with out the rest of the shuttle, even if the shuttle body breaks up around it.
You can't jettison debris once it forms around the cockpit; so if the shuttle breaks up it's pretty much "a very bad day" for NASA. I don't think it would make much difference if the capsule could survive a failure of the rest of the spacecraft; even IF it could be designed.


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another option is a remote piloted escape pod that floats around waiting for the SHTF that can be flown to the shuttle and do a reentry in the pod.
I think this is a big reason why they are now calling the mission to the Hubble a "dangerous" mission compared to going to the International Space Station where there is the option of returning in a capsule or waiting for another shuttle. The pod would need to be on the same orbit as the shuttle mission so that's why a standby shuttle is waiting during this mission to the HST.

I'd like to know what the next generation shuttle craft is going to be; are they going to build a re-usable ship or will it be back to capsules for future manned exploration?
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