While we are discussing NASA'a history of honesty and disclosure ..would like to remind readers of technical data pertaining to the loss of Shuttle Columbia.
Columbia..the oldest orbiter in the fleet..first launched in 1981.
Columbia was withdrawn for overhaul...a new *Glass cockpit was installed..
new monitors..new computer suite..new software.
completely gutted...her old wiring was removed..and rewirred new.
basically..rebuilt in *far less time than the original construction time frame.
Columbia was also refit in one local ..then moved ..then refit further.
different workers..different management.
o.k....new girl is ready to go hey...
its discovered later on another shuttle..Atlantis I beleive.
that there are cracks in the flow system plumbing connencted to the engines..
requiring complex Tungsten repair in situ.
Tungsten repairs require clean environment and must be contaminate free weld proceedure..or...
so then..Columbias engines are hauled out..disconneted pipeing..
sensors..flow valves..re-wired again...
Columbia was a 1/4 rebuild again if not more.
these fire from port modules...
valves open and close in milisecond sequencing...this is computer run..and tied to software.
information was disclosed ..on the net..
STS 112 had a RCS thruster pack failure prior to de-orbit burn..
thats when the shuttle flips over for re-entry.
the failure was discovered in pre check..the result was they isolated the thruster port and went with the others in the thruster port package..4 thrusters per I beleive.
NASA Technical statement:
OMS-RCS failure display computes resulting failures within the OMS and RCS engines.
there are many reports of RCS thruster failures on past shuttle missions...one can discover them via google search.
NASA gives the minute and second by second telemetry on Columbia..its on the net to read.
RCS thursters are firing front and rear as Columbia is being lost..part of the 30 seconds of recovered telemetry.
here's the kicker..
NASA says the wing drag caused the computers to fire RCS thrusters to control yaw and potential sheer of the craft...
sheer is turning sideways into forward movement.
The crew in the cockpit are calm..the temperature increase sensors pinging are not** alarming them..
[The temps revealed within the wing sensors were not that high to indicate wing failure.
there was also heat increase in hull on one side too..temperature climb..then loss of telemetry.
NASA has forwarded reams of whatever to vouch for the plasma wing burn thru..
problem is...the time from loss of voice com and telemetry was not in reason to the temperatures...
which were not high enough to melt out the wing ..nor melt it off the orbitor.
something happened..in a second.
it *terminated voice com...
and it caused the orbitor to go into an unrecoverable sequence.
the turns in re-entry require the RCS thrusters to fire.,this is all *pre laid in.
as mentioned..Columbias RCS thrusters are firing and turning off..then firing again..
front and back...
firing way to much...
again..this is happening in the turns...and continues until all telemetry is lost...inclusive of the extra 30 seconds.
what could cause the com system to drop..
the ship appeared to be comming apart..but there was a form of hull integrity for some time after the voice com dropped...say a minute or a few minutes.
not a word from a crew whose craft was failing?
I suspect the glass cockpit..which was new...
the 2 refits generate what math as per possible installation error or poor workmanship?
if the system overfires..it will send the craft into sheer..and then it will tumble.
while tumbling the ionization and heat will terminate the voice com...
thats if it just tumbled..
but what if there was an explosion..in the rcs/oms engines..
the flow is designed to be non volitle..but it is possible for a flaw to occur with the fuels and gases and pressure flow explosion.
a pressure flow explosion which could open lines up where a more volitile secondary explosion could rip the orbitor apart.
Some ex NASA types who worked on the shuttle commented on the net that the voice com should still have been open..
that voice com should be part of the last 30 seconds.
a cascade computer failure connected to software fault could explain the loss of com.
while the orbitors rcs's over fired...
or the craft suffered an explosion from the RCS cycling...the crew were not able to talk about the RCS failures occuring..
as mentioned in the NASA technical point..
the RCS failures show up on the cockpit monitors..and the computer reacts to the sequence.
In researching this on the net discovered some history of damage to previous STS missions...
in one mission.... a SRB [solid rocket booster] seperated.
the bosters seperation was not clean...and it hit the underside of the shuttle and raked near full length....gouges to many tiles..crushed tiles..tiles knocked completely free from the hull.
this shuttle landed with no problem : )
other shuttles have returned with over a hundred tiles missing..
some shuttles have been punched thru by impact..wether man made..or space particle and meteroid.
holed is a better word..and some have been holed in numerous places..and with exstensive tile damage..
again..these all landed just fine.
some are concerned that NASA has spun the plasma burn thru as a tactical line..rather than face a massive inquirery..which would look at manufacturing...
new software and compter suite..
management for construction.
quality control etc..
coments arrise that many shuttles previously have been struck by foam and other debrie during take off...
some consider that the film shown by NASA could have been doctored...
the tests they ran..could have been controlled to create the wing being broken as showed in NASA test video.
returning to key points..
the sensors in the wing and wheel well were not indicative of *extreme high temp as one would see ramp up if plasma was eating the wing out...
the difficult part in weighing all the data is knowing exactly what Columbia was doing..
I have looked hard...
I beleive Columbia had completed one S turn and was in RCS cycling for second S turn...then loss of com.
this seems to be a key point..with clarity ident left out of much of the NASA info released.
theres alot to consider now...
one comment and one which I kind a think fits the bill...is if the RCS firing sequence began to fail,,Columbia may **allready have been in partial *sheer..the crew would not know this...
the temps would begin to rise..as the orbitors angle plane in descent is off..and has haet going over the wing and running by the fuselague on one side.
the time from noticing this .....to the time of reacting could have been just moments...and then an unrecoverable tumble.
there is more to discuss here..