Author Topic: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site  (Read 231956 times)

Offline AS-503

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #340 on: 02/02/2013 02:53 AM »
From my recollection of the report, the sequence was:
The hole in the wing leading edge allowed plasma to progressively destroy the inner structure of the wing, including some hydraulic lines.
Normal operation of the hydraulic system (to move aerodynamic surfaces) leaked hydraulic fluid until the system was empty.
This loss of hydraulic power meant the vehicle could no longer maintain a controlled attitude, and it pitched up, breaking up not long after.
I think the APU's were working fine for some time after hydraulic power was lost, and were not a contributing cause.
There is a full report on L2.


At the moment of break-up (altitude and velocity), and considering the amount of asymetric drag due to left wing disintegration.

Which played a larger role in vehicle control; the RCS or the aero surfaces?

Offline Jim

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #341 on: 02/02/2013 03:30 AM »
RCS

Offline Targeteer

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #342 on: 02/02/2013 03:30 AM »
From my recollection of the report, the sequence was:
The hole in the wing leading edge allowed plasma to progressively destroy the inner structure of the wing, including some hydraulic lines.
Normal operation of the hydraulic system (to move aerodynamic surfaces) leaked hydraulic fluid until the system was empty.
This loss of hydraulic power meant the vehicle could no longer maintain a controlled attitude, and it pitched up, breaking up not long after.
I think the APU's were working fine for some time after hydraulic power was lost, and were not a contributing cause.
There is a full report on L2.

The APUs provided the hydraulic power. If there was no fluid, there was no hydraulic system and the APUs shut down because they had nothing to pump to prevent failure from trying to do so.  The APUs didn't contribute to the loss. They were victims of the chain of the events started by the leading edge breach.
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #343 on: 02/02/2013 04:40 AM »
In addition to the resources on L2, the CAIB report is publicly available. Page 65 of this part of the report is a good place to start:
http://www.nasa.gov/columbia/caib/PDFS/VOL1/PART01.PDF

I don't see or recall reading about loss of hydraulics, except articles from the first few weeks after the accident. Sensors related to some of the hydraulics were the first things to fail, but the conclusion was that was due to burn-through of the sensor wiring, not actual loss of hydraulics..

The report section referenced above discusses the telemetry that indicates the shuttle was experiencing progressively increasing drag on the left wing as it shed pieces that altered the aerodynamics, and then in the later stages, began to deform in bulk.

There was initially a tendency to yaw left, and roll left, shifting later to a stronger left yaw, but RIGHT roll tendency. Reading that, my first speculation was the weakening forward spars allowed the leading edge of the wing to begin to deflect upwards, effectively increasing the angle of attack of the left wing. The CAIB working scenario (page 196 onward), however, suggested a large dimple-like "recession" of the lower wing skin due to failure of some of the forward ribs, with a comparable aerodynamic effect (increased left wing AOA).

This left yaw, right roll effect abruptly increased a couple seconds before telemetry was lost. The RCS jets were still firing to counter the yaw, and the ailerons were countering the roll, which suggests hydraulics were still working, but at this point were losing ground.

42 seconds after radioed telemetry was lost, the onboard data recorder stopped. 5 seconds later, the breakup of the airframe occurred.

I'm having trouble finding any clear info in the reports about what happened in those 47 seconds. I had the impression Columbia was in a tumble or spin, but I've never even seen a confirmation NASA knows what happened in that window.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #344 on: 02/02/2013 07:16 PM »
  In future similar procedures can be applied to other spacecraft.

Don't want to keep going OT, but I think it is a very bad idea to always require a backup spacecraft ready to fly every time we send a manned mission up. Do any of the current visiting vehicles to the ISS get full vehicle exterior reviews before docking?

Colombia was destroyed by a special case of the general problem called hull breach.  It does not matter whether the hull was breached by foam, iceberg or bird strike people onboard frequently get killed.

The story of Titanic's hull breach, including similarities.
http://www.cuug.ab.ca/~branderr/risk_essay/titanic.html
« Last Edit: 02/02/2013 07:16 PM by A_M_Swallow »

Offline Jim

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #345 on: 02/02/2013 07:45 PM »
  In future similar procedures can be applied to other spacecraft.

Don't want to keep going OT, but I think it is a very bad idea to always require a backup spacecraft ready to fly every time we send a manned mission up. Do any of the current visiting vehicles to the ISS get full vehicle exterior reviews before docking?

Colombia was destroyed by a special case of the general problem called hull breach.  It does not matter whether the hull was breached by foam, iceberg or bird strike people onboard frequently get killed.

The story of Titanic's hull breach, including similarities.
http://www.cuug.ab.ca/~branderr/risk_essay/titanic.html

And that has nothing to do with spacecraft orbital post launch inspection or having a LON spacecraft.
« Last Edit: 02/02/2013 07:47 PM by Jim »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #346 on: 02/02/2013 08:18 PM »
Ben,
The more pertinent question for the future is why was there not better ascent imagery?
Keep digging.

You know, I still don't think this point has been addressed or answered by anyone here, at least to any satisfaction I have seen.

I think it requires more than just NASA.

I was a CAIB investigator. I didn't deal with the ascent imagery issue, but during the investigation I hung out with the people who did. I don't remember if this made it into the report and I'm too lazy to look it up, but we did look into the issue of ascent imagery and why it wasn't so great, and we developed a timeline of what tracking cameras were available over the years and how they went away.

If you go back to STS-1 you may be able to dig through archives and find ascent imagery and you'd find that it was taken by a bunch of tracking cameras. Then jump ahead to, say, STS-50, and you would find that there were fewer cameras pointed at the launch. Then jump to STS-100 and you'd find that there were fewer cameras pointed at that launch. Or you'd discover that somebody had put up a building in beautiful downtown Cocoa Beach and it now obscured part of the ascent, but rather than moving the camera, NASA had simply accepted the limitation.

The launches were routine. Money was finite. Equipment had aged and replacing it would be expensive. So there was less ascent imagery of STS-107 than there was of earlier flights. That's just the way it happened. (And it may have been more complicated than that. Which cameras were owned by NASA and which were owned by USAF? Who is responsible for funding them?)

Now in any organization you have to make trade-offs on budget, even on safety issues. There's not enough money to fully fund everything. Do you buy better tracking cameras or do you buy an X-ray machine for examining the TPS on the orbiter?

There were other similar issues. We had a Nobel Prize winner on the board who was really into digital cameras and he was really peeved to learn that NASA was operating film cameras both on the orbiter and on the ground when digital technology was available. Yeah, there's a cost issue, but he did have a point that for things like tracking and vehicle health assessment you want the data as soon as possible. But again, it's money. And it's also management. They go hand in hand.

« Last Edit: 02/02/2013 08:19 PM by Blackstar »

Offline Targeteer

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #347 on: 02/02/2013 11:25 PM »
In addition to the resources on L2, the CAIB report is publicly available. Page 65 of this part of the report is a good place to start:
http://www.nasa.gov/columbia/caib/PDFS/VOL1/PART01.PDF

I don't see or recall reading about loss of hydraulics, except articles from the first few weeks after the accident. Sensors related to some of the hydraulics were the first things to fail, but the conclusion was that was due to burn-through of the sensor wiring, not actual loss of hydraulics..

The report section referenced above discusses the telemetry that indicates the shuttle was experiencing progressively increasing drag on the left wing as it shed pieces that altered the aerodynamics, and then in the later stages, began to deform in bulk.

There was initially a tendency to yaw left, and roll left, shifting later to a stronger left yaw, but RIGHT roll tendency. Reading that, my first speculation was the weakening forward spars allowed the leading edge of the wing to begin to deflect upwards, effectively increasing the angle of attack of the left wing. The CAIB working scenario (page 196 onward), however, suggested a large dimple-like "recession" of the lower wing skin due to failure of some of the forward ribs, with a comparable aerodynamic effect (increased left wing AOA).

This left yaw, right roll effect abruptly increased a couple seconds before telemetry was lost. The RCS jets were still firing to counter the yaw, and the ailerons were countering the roll, which suggests hydraulics were still working, but at this point were losing ground.

42 seconds after radioed telemetry was lost, the onboard data recorder stopped. 5 seconds later, the breakup of the airframe occurred.

I'm having trouble finding any clear info in the reports about what happened in those 47 seconds. I had the impression Columbia was in a tumble or spin, but I've never even seen a confirmation NASA knows what happened in that window.

Read the Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report.

http://history.nasa.gov/columbia/columbiacrewsurvival.pdf

Thanks to Jorge for the link to the report.  That is where I saw the reference to depletion of the hydraulics system, not in the CAIB.

From page 56

"A complete loss of hydraulics would cause the elevons and body flap to move to a floating position, resulting in an uncontrolled pitch-up. RGPC-2 data (approximately 25 seconds later) showed that the hydraulics systems failed, but no time signature was available to confirm when the loss occurred. Video data supported this time for LOC (loss of control). The Spacecraft Crew Survival Integration Investigation Team (SCSIIT) concluded that the LOC occurred as a result of the loss of hydraulics at GMT 13:59:37 (EI+928). The loss of hydraulics likely occurred when all three redundant hydraulic systems lost pressure due to breaches in the hydraulic lines from thermal damage in the left wing. "

and page 60

"The RGPC-2 data also indicate that while all three auxiliary power units (APUs)31 were running, all three hy- draulic systems had zero pressure and zero quantities in the reservoirs. With the loss of hydraulic pressures and the vehicle LOC, the crew likely assumed a generic problem with the APUs. A crew module panel was recovered with switch configurations indicating an attempt by the PLT to recover the hydraulic systems and hydraulic pressure by performing steps to initiate a restart of two of the three APUs. Switches for the same two of the three system hydraulic circulation pumps were also in the “On” position..."

I hadn't read this report in some time and it is still as sobering.
« Last Edit: 02/02/2013 11:39 PM by Targeteer »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline AS-503

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #348 on: 02/02/2013 11:32 PM »
Ben,
The more pertinent question for the future is why was there not better ascent imagery?
Keep digging.

You know, I still don't think this point has been addressed or answered by anyone here, at least to any satisfaction I have seen.


From page 60-61 of the CAIB pdf.

Imaging Issues

The image analysis was hampered by the lack of high resolution and high speed ground-based cameras. The existing camera locations are a legacy of earlier NASA programs, and are not optimum for the high-inclination Space Shuttle missions to the International Space Station and oftentimes
cameras are not operating or, as in the case of STS-107, out of focus. Launch Commit Criteria should include that sufficient cameras are operating to track the Shuttle from liftoff to Solid Rocket Booster separation.
Similarly, a developmental vehicle like the Shuttle should be equipped with high resolution cameras that monitor potential hazard areas. The wing leading edge system, the area around the landing gear doors, and other critical Thermal Protection System elements need to be imaged to check for damage. Debris sources, such as the External Tank, also need to be monitored. Such critical images need to be downlinked so that potential problems are identified as soon as possible.


Wayne Hale also posted a blog titled, "After Ten Years: Counting Down to Disaster".
He had this to say about the long range tracking cameras.

During those days, a crew of photo/TV people went down to a little concrete building about a block from Ron John’s Surf Shop on Cocoa Beach.  They loaded film in the long range tracking cameras in preparation for the STS-107 launch.  Maintenance had been cut way back on the photo/TV equipment and checking the focus and operations of the cameras was not a “requirement.”  The short staffed team loaded the film, locked the building up, and hurried to the next camera location.  We were going to sorely miss the pictures that long range tracking camera could have made for us.

Offline robertross

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #349 on: 02/02/2013 11:42 PM »
Ben,
The more pertinent question for the future is why was there not better ascent imagery?
Keep digging.

You know, I still don't think this point has been addressed or answered by anyone here, at least to any satisfaction I have seen.

I think it requires more than just NASA.
...
Now in any organization you have to make trade-offs on budget, even on safety issues. There's not enough money to fully fund everything. Do you buy better tracking cameras or do you buy an X-ray machine for examining the TPS on the orbiter?

There were other similar issues. We had a Nobel Prize winner on the board who was really into digital cameras and he was really peeved to learn that NASA was operating film cameras both on the orbiter and on the ground when digital technology was available. Yeah, there's a cost issue, but he did have a point that for things like tracking and vehicle health assessment you want the data as soon as possible. But again, it's money. And it's also management. They go hand in hand.


I agree with all you say (and grateful for your work with CAIB, no doubt a diffcult task).

The way I see Mr. Hale's point, as (I believe he is attempting to do) he is trying to make us aware of what we are faced with going forward into America's next foray into (human) space exploration: he specifically calls out 'the future'. And it may very well be the tradeoffs as you put it. So maybe the approach shouldn't be hardware to meet the tasks and designing a (fairly) robust analysis 'envelope' around the new capability, but to see what the limitations of our capabilities for analysis & 'rescue', and working around them to either develop new ones, or modify our approach to ensure we don't put ourselves in that situation until that capability exists (or is developed enough). And of course that trail leads to the (lack of) money.

So our (NASA's) approach may need to be more incremental than it typically has been, to realize we aren't as smart as we think, and cover more of the bases before we put a human in harm's way. That doesn't necessarily mean we never get off the ground, but simply that if we plan to put man (a person) on the moon again, there is at least a way for that person to survive until a rescue attempt (with suffiicient margin) can be mounted. As for imagery, maybe it requires the full resources of the military as wel go forward, with the understanding that only certain individuals have access to that data (images), and become the direct conduit to NASA. Costly, yes - but perhaps just prudent.
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline robertross

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #350 on: 02/02/2013 11:52 PM »
Ben,
The more pertinent question for the future is why was there not better ascent imagery?
Keep digging.

You know, I still don't think this point has been addressed or answered by anyone here, at least to any satisfaction I have seen.


From page 60-61 of the CAIB pdf.

Imaging Issues

The image analysis was hampered by the lack of high resolution and high speed ground-based cameras. The existing camera locations are a legacy of earlier NASA programs, and are not optimum for the high-inclination Space Shuttle missions to the International Space Station and oftentimes
cameras are not operating or, as in the case of STS-107, out of focus. Launch Commit Criteria should include that sufficient cameras are operating to track the Shuttle from liftoff to Solid Rocket Booster separation.
Similarly, a developmental vehicle like the Shuttle should be equipped with high resolution cameras that monitor potential hazard areas. The wing leading edge system, the area around the landing gear doors, and other critical Thermal Protection System elements need to be imaged to check for damage. Debris sources, such as the External Tank, also need to be monitored. Such critical images need to be downlinked so that potential problems are identified as soon as possible.
...

See, I take exception to the statement(s) above. It's only a hazard that is bound by the known quantities/qualities and the limitations of the materials in use. A heat shield is exposed, considered vital, and should be examined. Yet many other aspects are overlooked, or not considered 'critical', until they come back and bite you.

In the future, Orion (along with Dragon, and Dream Chaser, and the others) will likely be crewed and rely on more than just a heat shield to protect its crew. If we focus on the critical areas, we feel confident and become blinded by all other aspects of the spacecraft's vulnerabilities, we may simply face a different failure mode. Then we do a review, implement more changes, spend money (that should have been spent from the start), to make us feel safe yet again.

I'm seeing safety tradeoffs, with money at its center, as a big hole in the 'plan' to flying a safe vehicle.

I'll stop my line of thought now. Mr. Hale's insight has probably brought me way off base, but it's simply what I see as a re-curring issue time and again as these 'investigations' have played out. One was too much (Apollo 1).
« Last Edit: 02/02/2013 11:53 PM by robertross »
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #351 on: 02/02/2013 11:58 PM »
The image analysis was hampered by the lack of high resolution and high speed ground-based cameras. The existing camera locations are a legacy of earlier NASA programs, and are not optimum for the high-inclination Space Shuttle missions to the International Space Station and oftentimes cameras are not operating or, as in the case of STS-107, out of focus.

As a photographer I understand that you can never have the perfect picture, but the imagery wasn't entirely lacking.  To me, this stuff is quite remarkable, even if it isn't optimal.  This is really difficult photography.

« Last Edit: 02/02/2013 11:59 PM by Lee Jay »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #352 on: 02/03/2013 12:03 AM »
I agree with all you say (and grateful for your work with CAIB, no doubt a diffcult task).

Not sure what you mean by "difficult." It was a good job, they paid me well, and it was important work. I'm glad I was there.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #353 on: 02/03/2013 12:07 AM »
I'm seeing safety tradeoffs, with money at its center, as a big hole in the 'plan' to flying a safe vehicle.

Safety tradeoffs, with money as a variable, is ALWAYS the case. Somebody has to make judgements about where to spend limited resources, and there is always too much to do and not enough money to do it. That doesn't mean that you cannot make really bad mistakes and spend the resources badly. But this stuff is never black and white.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #354 on: 02/03/2013 12:50 AM »
That's not the original. It was a highly enhanced version, made painstakingly during the months after the accident.

I know that.  All I'm saying is that the out-of-focus tracking camera wasn't the only one shooting the launch with high resolving power.

Offline robertross

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #355 on: 02/03/2013 12:57 AM »
I agree with all you say (and grateful for your work with CAIB, no doubt a diffcult task).

Not sure what you mean by "difficult." It was a good job, they paid me well, and it was important work. I'm glad I was there.

The emotional aspect.
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Offline AS-503

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #356 on: 02/03/2013 01:22 AM »
That's not the original. It was a highly enhanced version, made painstakingly during the months after the accident.

I know that.  All I'm saying is that the out-of-focus tracking camera wasn't the only one shooting the launch with high resolving power.

What was the veiwing angle of the out of focus camera?
Was it filming the underside of the wing?

Wouldn't that have been the best possible perspective to analyze the point of impact and the clocking angle?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #357 on: 02/03/2013 02:57 AM »
I agree with all you say (and grateful for your work with CAIB, no doubt a diffcult task).

Not sure what you mean by "difficult." It was a good job, they paid me well, and it was important work. I'm glad I was there.

The emotional aspect.

People died, they shouldn't have, our job was to figure out what happened and hopefully make sure that it didn't happen again. Our work had a purpose. We thought we were doing good. We didn't have a problem with motivation.

Offline Targeteer

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #358 on: 02/03/2013 03:00 AM »
Many, if not all, of the existing cameras were replaced by digital, Hi-Def versions post Columbia.  Are they still maintained and used (unmanned launches) and planned to be available for resumption of manned launches from the Cape--whenever that occurs?
« Last Edit: 02/03/2013 03:02 AM by Targeteer »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Targeteer

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #359 on: 02/03/2013 03:15 AM »
Could the long range tracking cameras at Vandenberg and Edwards have been used for the 107 re-entry? 

Vandenberg may have been too far north but this re-entry was somewhat unique in overflying California while re-entering--as opposed to landing-- and using those assets for possible scientific/engineering or purely PAO purposes seems like it might have generated some interest.
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

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