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SRB Aft Skirt "Whale Bone" Bracket

Mission: Believed between STS-32 and STS-46  
Comment: Affectionately called the "whale bone" because
it was reminiscent of the rib of a whale

This bracket helped support a glass fiber (with a silicone rubber coating) curtain within the aft skirt of a Solid Rocket Booster (SRB). The curtain was used to protect the SRB's guidance system and prevent any of the local fauna from nesting or taking up residence inside the hardware while it was readied for launch on the pad. The curtain also acted as a thermal barrier, preventing auto-ignition of hydrazine fuel that powered two hydraulic actuators positioned farther inside the aft skirt. The curtain was mostly destroyed after the SRB separated from the orbiter and impacted with the ocean, resulting in this bracket being discarded post-flight.

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