Author Topic: Here is a question for the "what if" people out there.  (Read 1772 times)

Offline Zoomer30

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This is something I had always wondered, but since its kinda pointless I did not waste to much time on it.  What if the leak in the 51-L SRB had happend on the other side of the joint (ie Not facing the tank).  Could the shuttle make it all the way to SRB sep (about 50-60s of flight time)?  A leak on the side would still cause the guidance issues with the thrust pushing it off to one side a bit, but I think the wind shear was more of an issue there.  Then there is the issue of what is the flare hitting if it comes out the other side.  Could burn the wing.  Depends on how the slipstream acrts.

From my point of view, it seems even the experts at Thiokol did not fully understand their own design.  They assumed a failure like what the Challenger had would casuse an instant explosion on the pad as the joint would have undergone a zipper effect and just failed all the way around.  Guess they under-estimated how strong those joints were.  Also the plug of burnt propellent was not considered.

Offline Flightstar

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RE: Here is a question for the "what if" people out there.
« Reply #1 on: 04/18/2006 10:43 PM »
The fact it didn't explode on the pad has nothing to do with Thiokol not knowing their boosters, which is wrong.

Debris, by chance, plugged the hole and only the most violent wind shere ever for a Shuttle launch dislogded the debris and caused the plume to burn through.

Offline Zoomer30

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RE: Here is a question for the "what if" people out there.
« Reply #2 on: 04/18/2006 11:50 PM »
I guess I mean they under-estimated their design. Even though the design was flawed, it was still quiet strong.  They assumed "joint fails = SRB explodes as all the thrust tries to leave that little hole".

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