Tagged * Wayne Hale’s Blog™

Space Thanksgiving

Article Abstract: Today is the day in America that we set aside to count our blessings and give thanks for all the good that is in our lives.  So I will set aside my curmudgeonly ways and ignore the future and all the imperfections to concentrate on what is good and right. Like most of…

Unfamiliar Terms

Article Abstract: During the summer of 2009, we were working on the history book about the Space Shuttle, ‘Wings in Orbit’. We had hired three summer interns, college students, to help with the book. Their primary assignments were to build the appendices, check references, make tables, and the like. Unusual for NASA interns, these three…

Significant Conversations

Article Abstract: Just about exactly 10 years ago I was serving as the  Deputy Program Manager for the Space Shuttle Program.  Columbia had been lost a year and a half earlier and we were all trying our best to return the Space Shuttle to flight.  I got assigned to present the program status at a…

STS-93: We don’t need any more of those

Article Abstract: It was about a quarter past midnight on January 23, 1999 when the Ralph Roe, the Shuttle Launch Director, told Eileen’s crew that they were go for launch and wished them good luck. The launch, which had been scrubbed late in the countdown on two previous attempts, was going to be about 7…

Practicing for Disaster

Article Abstract: Even though we sometimes hated them, the training teams that prepared mission control and the astronauts for every flight are real heroes.  Without their efforts, all of us flight controllers would have believed we knew everything there was to know about everything and would have tripped over our own shoelaces at the first…

STS-93: Dualing computers

Article Abstract: In the early days of rocketry, when subsystems reliability was low, hard experience led designers to add redundancy for critical functions where they could.  Redundancy comes at a cost:  increased weight, increased complexity, unintended interactions, complex schemes to manage the redundancy, etc.  Now days, subsystem reliability is much higher, especially electronic parts.  So…

STS-93: Dodging Golden Bullets

Article Abstract:   Calling it Rocket Science is, of course, a misnomer. Science provided the background but today it is definitely Rocket Engineering. Scientists and Engineers mix together like, well, cats and dogs. Friendly détente some days, not so much other days. But there is one part of building liquid rocket engines that can still…

Understanding STS-93: the key is Mixture Ratio

Article Abstract: Some time back I started to tell the story of the most interesting shuttle launch:  STS-93.  I think it is time to return to that topic.  To understand what happened, some background is necessary. If this is too engineering-geeky for you, well, what are you doing thinking about rockets and space travel?  Consider…

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