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Old 11-29-2012, 06:47 PM   #1
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Booster rocket O-Rings

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
I am constantly amazed and amused by people who apparently lie awake at night and dream up "better" ways of doing things that teams of engineers and manufacturers have apparently missed for so many years.

Me, I figure the manufacturer knows his product better than anyone else and wants me to have a positive experience with the product, tell others how pleased I am with it, and return for my next purchase. I follow the manufacturer's instructions to the best of my ability. So far it's been working for me.
Morton-Thiokol Inc. engineers thought the booster rocket engine O-rings would be fine...how did that work out for the Challenger crew?

The world is flat...

Man can't fly...etc...etc...

Man had we only listened to the "experts".....
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:13 AM   #2
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Morton-Thiokol Inc. engineers thought the booster rocket engine O-rings would be fine...how did that work out for the Challenger crew?

The world is flat...

Man can't fly...etc...etc...

Man had we only listened to the "experts".....
Yeah, you can learn a lot driving a tow boat!
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:28 AM   #3
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Yeah, you can learn a lot driving a tow boat!
Only one of my talents....

Driving the tow boat is the easy part anyhow....

....hmmmm...where does all YOUR boating expertise come from???
and depending on how the engine is prepped for storage you can add ALL the oil in the spring cause it ain't doing the working part of the engine any good in the pan.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:18 AM   #4
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Morton-Thiokol Inc. engineers thought the booster rocket engine O-rings would be fine...how did that work out for the Challenger crew?

NOPE , the SUITS thought it would be a fine idea to launch , after all there was a Sked!

They never bothered to put the engineers in the loop.


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Old 12-01-2012, 08:25 AM   #5
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Morton-Thiokol Inc. engineers thought the booster rocket engine O-rings would be fine...how did that work out for the Challenger crew?

NOPE , the SUITS thought it would be a fine idea to launch , after all there was a Sked!

They never bothered to put the engineers in the loop.


The final decision was made by suits but I think I remember the engineers being in the loop.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:01 AM   #6
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<MOD Split Post from other thread>

psneeld - The MT engineers designed the rings per NASA specs - the specs were a higher temperature than occurred at launch. The book should have been followed by NASA, their own book.
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:07 PM   #7
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They never bothered to put the engineers in the loop.


Of course they did. The father of one of our cameramen back then was the acting president of MIT's college of aeronautics or whatever they call it, and he was on the investigation panel for the shuttle accident. I met him once after that investigation and he summed up the findings for us. The solid boosters were designed by engineers and those engineers said they would work great in the temperature range they were supposed to work great in. They were wrong.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:03 PM   #8
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My understanding is the question was still put before the engineers..."Is it OK to launch?" and without a resounding "NO"...the decision was made...

I could be wrong...just my recollection of some of the findings after the incident.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:22 PM   #9
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My understanding is the question was still put before the engineers..."Is it OK to launch?" and without a resounding "NO"...the decision was made...

I could be wrong...just my recollection of some of the findings after the incident.

My recollection of the accident is that you are correct.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:47 AM   #10
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I can't necessarily blame the MT egineers...

They speced O rings that were probably made by someone else...

Who bought O ring ingredients from someone else....
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:49 AM   #11
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Aerojet General was making boosters in South Florida without O-rings. The plan was to barge them up to the Cape. If they had gotten the contract instead of Morton-Thiokol we wouldn't have lost Challenger that day. The facility that Aerojet built is abandoned now and the last booster they fired is still in the test pit. I recently snuck into the facility and took a look around. Very spooky.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:18 AM   #12
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This is what happens when something is built by the low bidder.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:33 AM   #13
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Read a very interesting report by an ex-NASA rocket scientist. The problem wasn't just hte O-rings, it was the back and forth torque developed by the entire assembly. If you've ever noticed, they light off the three engines on the shuttle before the fire off the SRB's (solid rocket boosters) because the latter can't be stopped, and they can't launch properly without the 3 shuttle engines all up and running.

Think about the torque on the entire shuttle/fuel tank/SRB assembly. You can watch the thing flex away from the shuttle engines, then back, then back again. Of course the engineers compensated for all this flex. You can see that the SRBs light just before the shuttle is straight up, then release to launch.

Well, this engineer claims that the computized flight program couldn't compensate for this back and forth motion once the shuttle lifted off. In short, the vehicle assembly kept flexing back and forth as the computer tried to correct the flight path. He even showed high resolution photos showing the spurts of hot gas coming out of the joints as the predicted intervals based on the mathematical analysis.

So these hot jets of gas were impinging on the shuttle parts, and finally burned through a fuel transfer line or something which resulted in the final explosion. I may not have gotten all this totally correct, but you get the gist. I think he and a co-worker who also worked on the report were fired right after they published it. His warning was that upgrading the O-rings wasn't a true fix, and it was an inherent danger in launching.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:18 AM   #14
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His warning was that upgrading the O-rings wasn't a true fix, and it was an inherent danger in launching.

I seem to remember photos of the rocket before launch with ICE hanging out of the sections.

No ones O rings can seal unless on a smooth surface.

Death by decision , not low bidder.
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