Recovery of Space Shuttle Columbia and Return to Flight of Space Shuttle Discovery Michael U. Rudolphi Engineering DirectorMarshall Space Flight Center
On February 1, 2003, Space ShuttleColumbia and her crew were lostupon re-entry during STS-107.The debris field ranged from easternTexas to western Louisiana. Radar - derived debris plot
Multi-Agency response toa monumental challenge Disaster field offices (DFO’s) were established at Barksdale AFB, LA and Lufkin and Ft. Worth, TX. More than 25,000 people were actively involved in search efforts. Over 480 Federal, state, and local agencies (as well as private organizations and volunteer groups) provided search personnel, supplies, and equipment. Debris field included: Area about the size of Rhode Island Main corridor ~10 miles wide and 240 miles long, stretching from Dallas, TX to Fort Polk, LA 8 counties inhabited by over 400,000 people (none injured by falling debris)
GoalsEnsure public safety.Recover crew.Retrieve evidence.Compensate costsincurred by localjurisdictions.
Ground searchSearched 680,748 acres (total) 9,800 acres per day (average) 4.4 acres per day per searcher (average)To date 82,300 out of 222,900 lbs recovered (~38% total re-entry weight of Space Shuttle Columbia) Over 81,965 pieces retrieved during search 66,895 pieces identified at Kennedy Space Center
Water SearchDive Teams Total area scanned US Navy Salvage Team 14.69 sq. miles in Toledo Bend Reservoir US Coast Guard Team 3.17 sq. miles in Lake Nacogdoches FBI Dive Team DPS Dive Team Houston Police Dive Team Galveston Dive TeamBoats Dives13 dive boats12 security boats 3,100 targets cleared in Toledo Bend Reservoir10 sonar boats 365 targets cleared in Lake NacogdochesSonar types used Personnel involved per day: up to 166 Multi-beam Side scan Bottom time: 800 hours total
Air searchHelicoptersFixed wing aircraftDC-3 aircraftCivil Air PatrolDepartment of DefenseNASA ER-2 (U-2 jet)Motorized paragliders
Monomethyl hydrazine spherical tank Decontamination setup
Reassembling the pieces All retrieved material shipped: first to Barksdale AFB or Johnson Space Center then to Kennedy Space Center
Why Columbia recovery succeededHigh-quality, capable, compatible peopleClearly articulated missions, strong universal buy-inTrust built through transparency of leadershipLocal capability, community generosityPowerful support for NASAand the space programNo ongoing threat to life or propertyOpenness of physical spaceConstituent units empoweredAccountable, but not overly rule-boundNegotiated competing missions,lack of “turf” strugglesExplicit attention to morale
In MemoriamCommander: Rick HusbandPilot: William McCoolMission specialists: Mike Anderson David Brown Kalpana Chawla Laurel ClarkPayload specialist: Ilan Ramon (Israel)Lost during recovery effort: Jules “Buzz” Mier, Jr. Charles Krenek
ET/TPS Return to Flight - Development Cryoingestion- Critical Defect DeterminationThis image shows a large pieceof foam that separated from theET during STS-114. Bellows Ice Mitigation TPS Fracture Toughness Root Cause Testing
STS-121 / ET-119 Return to Flight Modifications Bipod Harness Revisions Bipod Hardware RevisionsLO2 and LH2 PAL Ramp Elimination Development Flight Instrumentation LH2 PAL Ramp Intertank Acreage Machining / Venting LO2 PAL Ramp Ice Frost Ramp
STS-114 / ET-121 Return to Flight Modifications LO2 Feedline Bellows TPS Drip Lip and * Fwd Bellows Heater System Bipod Strut Hardware (Lubricated thru-bolts) Redesigned Remove/ Replace Bipod Fitting Longeron CloseoutsIntertank / LH2 TankFlange Closeout Increase Area ofEnhancement Vented Intertank TPS ET/SRB Partial LH2 PAL Ramp Bolt Replacement Catcher ET Camera in LO2 Inserts Feedline Fairing ET Ground RTF Umbilical Redesign Instrumentation * Delta from RTF Baseline – Not reviewed at SSP DCR
SRB bolt catcher • Original design load did not include dynamic effects on energy absorber crush strength. • Possible debris sources included SLA-561 thermal protection material, attach fasteners, or insert failure. • New design uses cork as TPS material and has passed factor of safety testing.
SRB Return to Flight Bolt Catcher NSIPC Redesign• Bolt catcher redesigned to increase margin of safety• NSI pressure cartridge Previous Bolt New Bolt Catcher Catcher redesigned to eliminate Design Design NSI ejection ET SRB ET SRB Bolt Catcher External Tank Separation Plane SRB Play Play Video Video Bolt Catcher Fwd. Sep Firing
SRB Return to Flight Booster Separation Motor (BSM) Igniter Redesign LH SRB RH SRB Previous New Igniter Igniter Design Design Forward BSM location Aft BSM location Case Propellant Igniter Exit Cone Igniter Adapter Graphite Liner throat• Booster Separation Motor Igniter BSM Cross-section Closure redesigned to eliminate erratic BKNO3 bags Igniter Rod Igniter Case performance Retainer Igniter Propellant Grain BSM Igniter Cross-section
SRB Return to Flight External Tank Attach (ETA) Ring SpliceStruts Plate (4 places) Thrust Post LH ETA Rings ETA Rings H-fitting Ring Segment Location of ETA Rings • Implement 4340 Steel ETA Ring
SRB Return to Flight External Tank Instrumentation• Enhanced Data Acquisition System (EDAS) used to record 13 ET measurements Bipod Temperatures (2 RTDs; 2 measurements) +Z Intertank Accels (3 accels; 6 measurements) Typical EDAS Installation LO2 PAL Ramp Accels (4 accels; 5 measurements)
SRB Return to Flight SRB Camera System ET Observation Camera Opposite Location for RH ETA Ring Camera Forward Skirt CameraPlayVideo
Return to Flight: DiscoveryOn July 26, 2005, Space ShuttleDiscovery was launched duringSTS-114.Two weeks later, the missionconcluded with a successfullanding at Edwards AFB, CA.Continued with STS-115.
NASAs Constellation Program is developing theCrew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and CrewLaunch Vehicle (CLV) in order to return humansto the Moon and begin to prepare for evenlonger voyages.
Questions and Answers www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall
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