Window damage to delay STS 129 by 6 months?

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trailrider

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According to the news report I saw, the knob floated in between the window pane and the back of an instrument panel while the interior of the spacecraft was "inflated" to 14.7 psia on orbit. I wonder if they have considered pressurizing the vehicle to 29.4 psia, which would give the same delta-p (29.4 - 14.7 atmospheric = 14.7 delta-p) across the structure that is present on orbit, when there is no effective atmospheric pressure on the outside of the vehicle? At least they might be able to get the knob out of the way. Of course, I am not familiar enough with the orbiter's systems to know if the overpressurizing is practicable or not.

And that still doesn't determine if the pane is damaged! :( Always something!

Ad LEO! Ad Luna! Ad Ares! Ad Astra!
 
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samkent

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I wonder if they have considered pressurizing the vehicle to 29.4
I doubt they would do that. What would the effects be on the ground personnel left inside to fetch the knob? I assume “the bends” would be a risk if people were left inside during the pressurization. Would the knob fall into a worse place if it did fall out? Some times you just got to take the whole thing apart to make sure you get down to the area you want.
 
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aphh

Guest
samkent":3olxtn1w said:
I doubt they would do that. What would the effects be on the ground personnel left inside to fetch the knob? I assume “the bends” would be a risk if people were left inside during the pressurization. Would the knob fall into a worse place if it did fall out? Some times you just got to take the whole thing apart to make sure you get down to the area you want.
Overpressure of 2 athmospheres would be the equivalent of about 10 meters under water. Any licensed diver should be able to work in that pressure with no problem, especially if the overpressurization occurs gently.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underwater
 
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JonClarke

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aphh":1tosc7pt said:
samkent":1tosc7pt said:
I doubt they would do that. What would the effects be on the ground personnel left inside to fetch the knob? I assume “the bends” would be a risk if people were left inside during the pressurization. Would the knob fall into a worse place if it did fall out? Some times you just got to take the whole thing apart to make sure you get down to the area you want.
Overpressure of 2 athmospheres would be the equivalent of about 10 meters under water. Any licensed diver should be able to work in that pressure with no problem, especially if the overpressurization occurs gently.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underwater
It would only take a diver about 30 seconds to descend ten metres, so it doesn't have to be done that slowly. According to my dive tables you can spend three and a half hours at that pressure before you reach the no decompression limits. Provided they let the pressure down gradually according to well established proceedure (so that the cabin acts as a decompression chamber, they could spend even longer at that pressure.
 
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samkent

Guest
Any self respecting thug from the bad side of town should be able to get that window out PDQ. Just set an Ipod on the seat and the knob issue will go away over night.
 
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CalliArcale

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JonClarke":1uqdsvvh said:
It would only take a diver about 30 seconds to descend ten metres, so it doesn't have to be done that slowly. According to my dive tables you can spend three and a half hours at that pressure before you reach the no decompression limits. Provided they let the pressure down gradually according to well established proceedure (so that the cabin acts as a decompression chamber, they could spend even longer at that pressure.
Yeah; I'd think the compression/decompression issue would be manageable for the technicians.

They'd want to be careful about Atlantis, though. There are only three of those birds left, and if they cause more damage, it could be an even longer delay. I would be surprised if there was much engineering data as to the risks of pressurizing to two atmospheres, and I'm sure that's out of spec. Considering also the risk of the knob dropping down into the guts of the thing, it might be simpler just to dismantle the console.
 
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job1207

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As per the article now on sdc. Atlantis is scheduled to fly just twice more. So, there will not be any long delays. If the problem does not get fixed, then the other orbiters will fly.

As noted they will be pressurizing to 18 pounds per square inch. That will be an interesting test.

The most concerning statement to me is this. "Small gouges already have been detected." Given the tolerances quoted above, you wonder when they are going to be saying that they need to replace the window, if they want to fly this orbiter.

I hope that is not the case. This is a weird one. You can't plan for most weird ones. Oh well.
 
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seth_381

Guest
From what I've read this seems so stupid ! Your NASA you have so many engineers and maintenance people working for you and you don't know if you can repair a window ! It makes sense why people don't want NASA to have money I mean why can't you fix a window in Florida instead of sending it to California (I do understand the factory/company no longer exists but still) !
 
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JonClarke

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seth_381":1qdlt1e9 said:
From what I've read this seems so stupid ! Your NASA you have so many engineers and maintenance people working for you and you don't know if you can repair a window ! It makes sense why people don't want NASA to have money I mean why can't you fix a window in Florida instead of sending it to California (I do understand the factory/company no longer exists but still) !
This isn't you average window Seth. It pays to be careful.

Jon
 
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seth_381

Guest
yes if not correct it could risk the crews safety, but still not knowing if you can fix a window and if not to retire a billion dollar space craft. It is really stupid to send a whole vehicle to the other coast to have a window repair things like that should be able to done right at the space center in Florida.
 
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MeteorWayne

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seth, what gave you the idea they would send the whole vehicle to the other coast? I haven't seen that anywhere.

This is not just a window, it is part of the pressure hull for the orbiter, so they need to be very careful. If any scratches are more then cosmetic, it could lead to the window cracking during flight, possibly leading to loss of the crew. That would be bad. It's not like a crack in your windshield.

If the damage would create such a risk, it would have to be replaced. Since the manufacturing facilities no longer exist for the windows, it would take months or years to fabricate a new one, and the Shuttles won't be flying by then. So the most efficient thing to do might be to just shift those 2 missions to the other orbiters. That would allow the remaining shuttle flights to be completed.

Get a clue :)

Wayne
 
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seth_381

Guest
then I inferred a little too much I figured since the article that I read said the last time they had been replaced was during overhauls so I figured they had just sent the whole orbiter. But still why wouldn't they have spares but if repairing it would take so long I guess I see why to just end it now instead of waste the money.
 
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JonClarke

Guest
seth_381":3l69x59j said:
then I inferred a little too much I figured since the article that I read said the last time they had been replaced was during overhauls so I figured they had just sent the whole orbiter. But still why wouldn't they have spares but if repairing it would take so long I guess I see why to just end it now instead of waste the money.
End what now, Seth?
 
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seth_381

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I was trying to say if it couldn't be fixed they should mothball it early like said but I don't like the word/words mothballing
 
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scottb50

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seth_381":2wg35hju said:
I was trying to say if it couldn't be fixed they should mothball it early like said but I don't like the word/words mothballing
Duct tape, easy fix.
 
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JonClarke

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seth_381":fta939ff said:
I was trying to say if it couldn't be fixed they should mothball it early like said but I don't like the word/words mothballing
Not while there are missions to fly.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Rumor (mentioned at today's STS-127 CSB) is that the window has passed the test and there will be no delay due to it.
 
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xXTheOneRavenXx

Guest
MeteorWayne":1cp0hv5f said:
If the damage would create such a risk, it would have to be replaced. Since the manufacturing facilities no longer exist for the windows, it would take months or years to fabricate a new one, and the Shuttles won't be flying by then. So the most efficient thing to do might be to just shift those 2 missions to the other orbiters. That would allow the remaining shuttle flights to be completed.

Get a clue :)

Wayne
I understand the company who originally fabricated the windows no longer exists Wayne, however there are several manufacturers for underwater vehicle windows for high pressure. I just took about 2 secs on Google to find:
http://www.opticalwindows.co.uk/pressurewindows.html or for bang on Aluminum silicate glass http://www.lasertechnologies-jenoptik.com/products/laser_cutting/brittle/glass/glass.html. Gesh, NASA is full of scientists and supposidly highly educated researchers. But not one of them knows how to use the internet or a phone book? It's not hard to find a company that is up to the task. All NASA would need to do is contract it out for a reasonable price for the company to get right on it. Trust me, I work for the military and when you want something done right away, money will ensure it gets done. When you need a part or something manufactured... with money you'll get it fast. The more money the faster it arrives. Yes, the shuttle is a different venture for any high pressure glass company. But who do you think the military contracts out to for the high pressure glass in nuclear submarines (USA). Someone does it for them. So just because the initial company went under, doesn't mean they all did. Also I'm sure the original company contracted to make the shuttle windows did not exist specifically for those windows.
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
That's not the reason for the delay if the window needed to be replaced from what I recall. It was the racks of equipment in front of it that would have to be remeoved to allow access; then reassembled, then retested, etc. It's not like replacing a windshield on yer car :)
 
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xXTheOneRavenXx

Guest
lol, I know that. But still. The shuttle compartment isn't that big. From the NASA videos I've watched, there doesn't seem to be a lot of equipment, just that it's bolted into the rack. It doesn't take months to unbolt equipment, move it, test it, and put it back in and do another test. Military does bigger setup's and tear downs daily. All they really need is the right people with an organized schedule. The problem I think is getting the right people off their butt to complete the job in a timely manor. I understand there isn't much maneuverability inside the shuttle, but still. If they really wanted to get the work done in a timely manor, trust me... it could be done.
 
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