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  How NASA cut Gemini heat shield core samples

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Author Topic:   How NASA cut Gemini heat shield core samples
space1
Member

Posts: 820
From: Danville, Ohio
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 12-14-2018 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently found documentation of the method NASA used to cut Gemini heat shield core samples. I'm a bit surprised that it was such a manual method. Also none of the workers are wearing any kind of protective gear. The sampling was done at Kennedy Space Center during postflight inspection of the recovered spacecraft.

thisismills
Member

Posts: 149
From: Michigan
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 12-14-2018 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for thisismills   Click Here to Email thisismills     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Really appreciate you for sharing this information.

Was this part of a larger spacecraft inspection document or a procedure documented on its own? If known, would you be able to share the document number here or a hi-res scan of the page. I would very much like to include it as part of my Gemini Heatshield Core summary. Thanks!

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 4245
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-14-2018 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apparently NASA invited a multi-armed Hindu diety to cut the cores...

space1
Member

Posts: 820
From: Danville, Ohio
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 12-15-2018 03:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This was the only page I copied from a larger document about postflight inspection procedures (remove this, ship it there, etc.).

I should also note that this was done with the heat shield removed from the spacecraft.

Regarding the quadro-armed deity, I purposely did not include the recognizable faces of the multiple technicians to avoid privacy concerns.

(Thisismills, email sent to your address on file.)

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 1362
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 12-17-2018 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by space1:
Also none of the workers are wearing any kind of protective gear.
Protection from what?

GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 2352
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 12-17-2018 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In today's industrial safety culture.

First the one person is wearing a ring and watch while operating a rotary type of equipment, there is no protective gloves and open sleeves, as well as possible airborne contamination is not being vacuumed into a waste contamination device.

So many violations here.

space1
Member

Posts: 820
From: Danville, Ohio
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 12-17-2018 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding protective gear, I was thinking mostly of respiratory risks. Creating a fine dust which is possibly hazardous would justify some precautions.

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 1362
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 12-18-2018 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GACspaceguy:
...there is no protective gloves and open sleeves, as well as possible airborne contamination is not being vacuumed into a waste contamination device.
Why gloves or sleeves? That is not required nor is vacuuming. Especially since the cutting is low RPM. That is why two people were required to hold the drill.

GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 2352
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 12-18-2018 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Precautionary PPE based on an unknown properties post reentry. I would say our EHS would require that protection based on the unknowns at the time. Purely speculative based on 40 years of aircraft repair/modification history.

oly
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Posts: 657
From: Perth, Western Australia
Registered: Apr 2015

posted 12-18-2018 07:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There has been in excess of 50 years of development in workplace safety practices between when this photo was captured and now.

We have all seen images of construction workers building steel framed sky scrapers in New York, riding loads of steelwork as it is lifted by crane, walking along beams without safety harnesses and smoking on the worksite. Times have changed.

The instructions posted above note that tap water is to be used as a lubricant during the heat shield cutting process. This liquid would mitigate much of the dust particulates produced during cutting, however the use of a geared, high torque electric drill and tap water would probably fail modern risk assessment reviews.

I suspect that the above photo may have been staged for the camera, because the people in the photo appear to be too nicely dressed to undertake the cutting of glass fiber structural materials. they appear too clean to have been handling charred phenolic materials, It is a messy job.

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 1362
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 12-19-2018 08:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GACspaceguy:
Precautionary PPE based on an unknown properties post reentry.
They were known. Post mission for Gemini wasn't the first time they handled and dissected the material after it was charred. The material was charred in labs, hypersonic wind tunnels, sounding rockets, RVs etc and analyzed afterwards long before used on Gemini.

space1
Member

Posts: 820
From: Danville, Ohio
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 12-19-2018 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by oly:
I suspect that the above photo may have been staged for the camera...
This was one of several photos documenting cutting of samples. One photo shows a movie camera recording the activity. Throughout the disassembly and inspection of the spacecraft everyone is dressed either in casual office clothes, or some are in white shirt and tie (managers?). No sign of staging for the cameras other than for documentation.

Jonnyed
Member

Posts: 290
From: Dumfries, VA, USA
Registered: Aug 2014

posted 12-19-2018 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jonnyed   Click Here to Email Jonnyed     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
PPE trousers by Brooks Brothers! Times have changed/evolved, haven't they?

Looks like someone has lined through the "use tap water..." instruction in the manual and initialed the line-through, so perhaps tap-water was never used during the drilling operation?

Inhalation risks and eye-protection considerations seem most likely here (I am informed by several years of naval shipyard work, but admittedly I'm still typing "...from my armchair.")

All times are CT (US)

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