Author Topic: Discussion: STS-124, Cleanest Flight ever?  (Read 3515 times)

Offline maxx

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Discussion: STS-124, Cleanest Flight ever?
« on: 06/14/2008 05:58 PM »
I've followed a few shuttle flights compared to some member of this forum. I know this is really subjective, but it seems to me that this flight was very clean, maybe the cleanest.

IIRC on this flight we have:
* foam event during ascent: too late to be an issue.
* OMS gimbal issue: not a problem for the mission.
* a protrusion on the tail fin: identified and not an issue during entry.
* a thermal clip floating around the orbiter: not an issue for entry and already seen before even if no imagery was available on previous occurrences.
(Did I forgot something?)

Some members noted there was very few issues being worked on the "Live" threads during this mission.

"A phenomenal mission all the way around, from processing to landing."  -  Gerstenmaier
"The orbiter looks extremely clean." -  Leinbach


Is this the cleanest shuttle flight ever?
If not which one holds the record?

Is too early to make such statement?

Your comments are eagerly awaited.

Offline Andrewwski

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Re: Discussion: STS-124, Cleanest Flight ever?
« Reply #1 on: 06/14/2008 06:04 PM »
In my opinion, it's hard to classify one mission as being cleaner than another, as all have issues that differ from those of previous missions.  You can't really compare apples to oranges.

With that being said, the last few missions have all been incredibly clean.
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Re: Discussion: STS-124, Cleanest Flight ever?
« Reply #2 on: 06/14/2008 07:31 PM »
We'll need to see what was worked on entry and post flight in the OPF, but as a vehicle:

She had the lowest number of IPRs (Interim Problem Reports) in the history of the program during her flow.

S0007 was very smooth - though I'm not sure we've got like-to-like comparisons over the history of the shuttle program. However, we know the IPRs added during S0007 were minor and just a few.

Flight IFAs (In Flight Anomalies) get reviewed by the PRCB about two weeks to a month after flight, but based on MER (Mission Evaluation Room) "Funnies" - as they call them - she only had nine ahead of EOM. That's very low, although to be fair they've refined the reporting process from when anything and everything was noted as such on RTF missions etc.

Regardless, the issues worked had no mission impact and were very few and far between, whilst not losing sight that this is an amazingly complex vehicle.

ET-128 performed really well (second half of http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/content/?cid=5436 )
That's important as it was the first flight with a newly built post-RTF tank, and with modifications that were being - for lack of a better word - certified for STS-125. As a result of that, the TPS only had a few "cosmetic" areas of damage:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/content/?cid=5445

And instead of looking at what didn't go wrong, we could look at what went right, from the obvious mission goals, to some first flight items.

For example, the CO2/Airflow plan worked very well: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/content/?cid=5438 and the EMU Glove mod worked great:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/content/?cid=5430
Both were probably not absolutely required, but that shows they still look at improving the situation yet further.

However, personally I think the most important point is that all the recent missions have been very smooth, and consistency is the really important element.

The vehicles are only as good as their engineers and technicians. So you don't need me to tell you how much they deserve the credit for yet another amazingly issue-free mission.

Offline Stowbridge

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Re: Discussion: STS-124, Cleanest Flight ever?
« Reply #3 on: 06/14/2008 08:48 PM »


However, personally I think the most important point is that all the recent missions have been very smooth, and consistency is the really important element.

The vehicles are only as good as their engineers and technicians. So you don't need me to tell you how much they deserve the credit for yet another amazingly issue-free mission.

I'd concur with that!
Veteran space reporter.

Offline Launch Fan

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Re: Discussion: STS-124, Cleanest Flight ever?
« Reply #4 on: 06/16/2008 06:23 PM »
Cleanest, Most Successful, Least Issues. There's a lot of ways to describe a mission, but very successful is certainly one.

Offline kschachn

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Re: Discussion: STS-124, Cleanest Flight ever?
« Reply #5 on: 06/16/2008 06:45 PM »
IIRC on this flight we have:
* foam event during ascent: too late to be an issue.

On this one, those pieces were too late to cause damage, but on the photos seemed rather large. I saw some comments that they were "bigger" but thin. Was that the case?

Offline jeff2space

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Re: Discussion: STS-124, Cleanest Flight ever?
« Reply #6 on: 06/16/2008 06:59 PM »
I concur, probably one of the cleanest flights ever.  Maybe the biggest issue would be the damage to 39-A and if it will effect the launch schedule.  Also brings up the concern as to the age of the complex and if major upgrades are needed for the future.

Offline Ford Mustang

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Re: Discussion: STS-124, Cleanest Flight ever?
« Reply #7 on: 06/16/2008 07:16 PM »
I concur, probably one of the cleanest flights ever.  Maybe the biggest issue would be the damage to 39-A and if it will effect the launch schedule.  Also brings up the concern as to the age of the complex and if major upgrades are needed for the future.

Leroy Cain addressed this issue in one of the Post-MMT Briefings.  They should be ready to launch 125 on schedule, and then will go from there, IIRC.  There's (sadly) only two more years left for the Shuttle program.  They might not make any major upgrades until the end of the program, but there will be upgrades for the new era.

Tags: STS-124