I have a hard time trying to wrap my head around that decision. I mean why bother going to the effort photographing STS-1? It was not like anything could've been done in their situation. STS-107 was a completely different story. There was a vehicle being stacked in the VAB. Engineers looked at the footage saying "Woah!" "Ouch!" "We need to look at this!" and management had no concerns to even try and look at the vulnerable RCC panels?
In 2003 I was an investigator on the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. I was not involved in that part of the investigation, but I encourage you to read the final report for more information. I think the key thing to understand is that by 2003 the shuttle was considered to be an "operational" program that no longer really contained surprises. As a result, people involved in the shuttle program didn't ask deep questions. In particular, they had long decided that foam was not a safety issue, it was a maintenance issue, and they considered all foam impacts in that context. And nobody thought that foam could punch a hole in RCC, because they thought that foam was something light and non-dense, and they could not wrap their head around what it could do when traveling at 500 miles per hour.
and when it's going at 500 mph, the thing is going to do some damage.
Quite apart from the difficulty in doing so, there was no need as every flight (apart from the last HST servicing mission) went to the ISS and the crew aboard the ISS photographed it every which way during a back flip manoeuver. In addition the shuttle carried the Orbiter Boom Sensor System which was used after launch and prior to landing to do extreme closeup sensor sweeps of the insulation/tiles.Keith
As I pointed out previously it wasn't going at 500mph, the shuttle was. The foam relatively speaking stopped moving.
Quote from: saturnapollo on 04/20/2017 09:26 AMAs I pointed out previously it wasn't going at 500mph, the shuttle was. The foam relatively speaking stopped moving.Ok, I misread that. Sorry. Point still stands. Any collision at 500 mph is going to break stuff.
This was a meaningless correction anyway - velocity is a relative quantity. The foam was going at 500 mph in the rest frame of the Shuttle.
This was a meaningless correction anyway - velocity is a relative quantity.