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About spaceflightengineer

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    Canopy Polisher
  1. As a spaceflight historian and 30+ year member of the NASA "team" I can fully back Otto's assertions. Currently supporting the ridiculously inefficient DOD (in this case the USAF) I am reminded daily how comparatively efficient the NASA is and I usually have linked that with other aspects that I was proud to brag about. But after about 5 years of referencing materials (for modeling and other requirements) I have to conclude the NASA has handed over the public site reigns to nitwits. The erroneous info just keeps increasing convincing me that the agency that has had the cap on expertise, is now accessing the nimrod American media as their primary source. It's sad and stupid at the same time. I had thought the horrible image scans coming out of JSC was going to be the only crap on the NASA public websites, but apparently that's no longer the case. But I hold out hope for improvement. After all, the bozo Lori Garver left the agency.... Keep up the great real space modeling all. BP
  2. Wow, Jay- I was going to make some sniping IUS remarks and you beat me to it! IUS is the hardware equivalent of bloatware. It didn't matter what your mission didn't require- you flew it all anyway [pretty much another USAF mandate- big surprise there]. And let's don't even talk about 2nd stage nozzle slip rings (can you say "smash-the-crap-outta-TDRS-1"?). But it got the job done, and this scratchbuilt IUS, as with the GLLO [JPL-ese for "Galileo"] is just excellent. Lov that all you guys photo-doc your builds so well. (Jay- I am going to have to get this URL to Rob Schorry- master scratch DS craft modeler; I don't believe he's on this forum- yet!). BP
  3. Those SRB squib bolt debris traps or covers weren't incorporated on STS back in the STS-6 timeframe. I know- I was incorporated in the STS program at the time. They 180 degree spherical domes over the bolt heads only, I used to see them all the time when I'd be on the MLP deck (...usually heading to get inside a TSM for some connector or line modifications with my techs). BP
  4. It's "SCA". Unless you aren't speaking of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The 2 birds are dash 100 and dash 100SRs. I imagine using a dash 400 would involved a bit of work, however if you promise to photo document and share with the forum, it should turn out great! :^) This would be a good point to ask a question of the group. While I was living in Japan in the mid-'70's I had a very large scale 747 kit. I've been told by someone that is an uber airliner freakazoid that there has never been a kit of the 747 larger than 1/100th scale. MIne was, to my memory of it, a Hasegawa kit and never exported to the states, and larger than 1/100th. What say you out there? Does anyone have knowledge of a larger kit? Thanks. BP
  5. Yikes! STS-6! Man, it pays to stay current on this group's real space forum. (I simply don't visit anywhere near often enuf). This should be fun! BP
  6. Hmm- I assume by "bolts" you mean the circles that on the real craft are threaded slugs of tile material, threaded in and covering the fasteners for the window frames. A more accurate representation versus dots would be some tiny diameter tubing pressed against the black paint (or perhaps decal) and twisted to give a scored circle effect (in white). A perfect white circle isn't what it should resemble, but a partial random effect. ...just my 2 centavos.... BTW- this may be off topic but Fair Sailing to Dr. Ride. She was a fine human, a true professional and actually a lot of fun. Thx. BP
  7. I'm enjoying your build of the Tamiya orbiter- I still have mine with some minor assembly done, awaiting completion- it's been waiting since it was first issued (at the time I was busy with the real thing...). One of your first posted pix showed tube glue. Is this what you primarily use for modeling and can I ask, why? Continue the great work- I'm looking forward to the finished product (and hints- I'm always ready to "borrow" from fellow modelers...). BP
  8. Thanks for posting the link. (I'll have to see if I'm mentioned!) :^P Bruce P.
  9. The 3/4 shot looking down on the orbiter into the PLB is very near to a shot I took at Palmdale from next to the SILTS pod looking toward the nose, replete with the exposed tanks and understructure in the bay.** Purdy cool. Good work. Bruce P. **Uh, I mean that magically appeared in my camera. Yeah- that's it. (Employees weren't supposed to take pix! Only Visitors! What a dipsh*t reg that was....)
  10. The ET doors are in the locked open position (colored in what you described as "chromate"- it's actually known as "corpon"). The orange is nothing more than large plastic taped into position to help ensure the orbiter being mated doesn't get the ET struts and prop ["propellant"] lines dinging the TPS tiles. As soon as the orbiter is mated, the plastic is removed. Those doors are closed within a couple of minutes of ET jett ["jettison"]. Though my systems were primarily "Comm & Tracking" (all comm- including RF, voice and comm on the EMUs [spacesuits], and Navaids [RADAR altimeters, TACAN, Microwave Scan Beam Landing System- MSBLS [pronounced "miss-bliss"], I also use to deal with, on the earlier days of the program, Data Acquisition or film cameras that we'd mount in the ET wheels on the orbiter, so I dealt with those ET doors for clearance checks. I was always impressed that those edge tiles on the doors didn't seem to get messed up or broken, and you'd think they'd be very prone to that since those tiles had thin edges protruding past the edge of the metal doors, There're metal seals comparable to RF seals around the edge of the metal portion of the doors that took a bunch of heating- I'd watch them slowly change color over the span of missions, but they kept the belly high temp heating out of the ET umbilical areas quite well. Those doors would at times be opened after landing for retrieval of the film cameras, so on earlier missions you may see shots with the doors hanging down (and the T-shaped up-locks extended; there're 2 of them centered between the doors that, when the doors are closed, are flush with the tile. Bruce P. (Launch Ops, C&T, Instrumentation and Range Safety Systems engineer 1981-1992) Loughead Space Ops Co and Rockwell Space Division- "Where Science GETS DOWN!"
  11. Pete, I don't get over to check your progress often enough. All I can say is "Gomph!" (apologies to Cheech Wizard...). What are you referring to as payload bay TPS? The panels or "floor" of the bay were literally plastic panels- aka debris panels, that provided no thermal anything. There were thermal blankets under them though. The forward chines on orbiter 102 were white FRSI painted a modified cadillac black (Satellite thermal paint, with a higher concentrated of gold, just for shuttle [of course...]). That FRSI started at the black tiles on the upper chine surface (they weren't AFRSI as on the follow orbiters after 099). 102's painted chine surface was simply one of many experiments on what was essentially the R&D orbiter. Your eye for detailing on this project is your best yet. Wonderful work. Thanks. BP
  12. Nice looking work there. I think if I did the X-43 I'd probably have it in an underwater dio myself. I am in the prelim stage of the 1/32nd SH X-15A2 myself. I intend to do the works on it, but am not thrilled with their assembly design. Still, it doesn't have the misshappened nose of their 1/48th kit. Best Wishes for a great year to all! Bruce P.
  13. The thinnest tiles were the LRSI that used to line the sides of the fuselage and payload bay doors, though there were HRSI on the belly- just about centered under the crew module that were as thin- 3/4 inch and less! Some interesting points and info regarding tile operations (though not truly modeling info)- the original placement of tiles on the belly or bottom of the orbiters were emplaced as "arrays"- literally groups on trays bonded with the type silicon RTV and cured under vacuum. These arrays were in effect the same on all vehicles as the dimensions of the aluminum skin for the lower surface was the most reliable for meeting intended dimensions. All 5 space worthy orbiters had these arrays. Then the "fun" began- making the close out tiles between arrays. Early on in the program foam material that had similar characteristics to actual TPS was HAND sanded to fit. "Fitting" had to take into account the expansion gaps and the felt SIP or strain isolation pad eventually attached (again with RTV) to the bottom of the tile. That felt remained constant in thickness. The hand made foam model or prototype for the tile was then placed on a numerically controlled machine ("NMC"). And while an arm went around tracing the surface of the foam tile, a raw piece of tile material was being ground to match. Those tiles would be coated on the upper surface and down the sides to about 2/3rds (the bottom third of the tile sides allowed the heat inside to vent) and the coating- glass based, baked to bond. Then the SIP was attached and then the Tile with SIP attached to the orbiter space it was designed for. Distances between the tile's sides and adjacent tiles had to be certain amount- and cut up IBM cards were stacked to achieve and maintain those. Tiles were bonded under vacuum- a plastic sheet attached around the tile to seal tight using a gray putty like material (at one time referred to euphemistically as "monkey poop"). Curing took, if I recall properly, 72 hours. The vacuum helped shorten the time if it were in ambient air and also helped with outgassing dispersion. Then tiles would under go pull tests with a similar vacuum device. Later, LASER scanners were developed to scan the tile space, and then feed the stored dimensions, biased for SIPs and gaps directly into the NMCs. Some of you may recall that when Columbia (OV-102) first got shipped, not totally finished, to KSC, that the media reported "tile" flying off the orbiter- punctuating the media's penchant for negative reporting about the shuttle back then. Sorry, but the "tile" flying off were the foam temp tiles- placed on the orbiter in an attempt to reduce drag and maintain a smooth airflow. It turned out that bonding of the foam tiles just didn't occur well with the RTV. That foam tended to have a chalkiness that RTV couldn't "bite". BTW- two type RTVs were used on the orbiter- for two temperature regimes. I always found it interesting that the RTVs did bond so well to the bottom of the tiles, as that raw material also had a chalky surface. Removal of tiles was done with a sort of device similar to heated nichrome wire we all have used for styrene cutting. It just had to be pulled under the RTV- as they'd try to save and reuse tiles when it was being removed for reasons of access to panels and such. Some tiles would be broken from debris (usually runway) and if bad enough would be broken off (with super care to not injure the tiles around it). I still have white surface glass from low temp tiles off of Challenger after STS-8 that I want to work into a model some day. (It would have been swept up and tossed). I used to have to get tile removed frequently for antenna access or change out. Once the AFRSI went over the upper surfaces of the Crew Module/upper forward fuselage it made things a bit easier for the tile folks (nicknamed "puzzle workers"), though stenciling the antenna coupler alignment marks are a tad more difficult on slightly lumpy quilted fabric. The largest tiles I was aware of were on the ends/tops of the inboard horizontal aero surfaces where they faced the fuselage and some on the ends/tops of the body flap. The end "tiles" for those inboard horiz aero surfaces on Columbia were ablative pieces, NOT reusable TPS tiles, though they seemed to hold up for multiple missions and weren't swapped out often. Also the SILTS pod, placed atop that orbiter after STS-9 had the oddest TPS tiles. The pod resembled a torpedo and the front had to have basically a 180 sphere covered with like-shaped tile. Only complicating that were two cut outs for infrared cameras- one pointing at the orbiter's nose region and one to the port wing leading edge. (Here's a weirdness of my particular mind: the pod always reminded me of the comic book version of the ship baby Kal-El was sent from Krypton to earth in, in Superman comics- especially with the top removed (allowing a view of the compartment the cameras and support gear sat in). Bruce P.
  14. Which are the "strangely-shaped" TPS tiles on our orbiters that you are referring to, if you don't mind pointing thing them out? Thanks! Bruce P.
  15. Nice looking TSMs ["Tail Service Masts"- not towers] there. I realized reading your write up that I really have never completed a full orbiter other than a model of 101 ("Constitution/Enterprise")- that I did while suffering through, er, completing my final 6 months in the USAF- right after the first drop test (which I was present for, having been on leave at the time). Weirdly, that 1/144th Revell orbiter has remained intact through moves, etc. I'm sort of proud of it particularly since I hand painted the windows and they turned out very good (...don't know if I could do that again 33 years hence). I have all the 1/144th scale kits- full stacks, and one of the orig issue 1/72nd Mono stacks. I too want to uber detail a MLP- perhaps for the 1/72nd, but probably end up doing a 1/144th. I should detail one of the doorways to replicate, with a figure, when I first entered a TSM and let's say I "sprawled" into it. I could title the dio "First trip into a TSM". Get it? First "Trip". I'll be in the lounge all week except Thursday. Please keep posting progress pix! Thanks. Bruce P.
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