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  Space Shuttles - Space Station
  Shuttle Foam - Fact or Fiction?

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Author Topic:   Shuttle Foam - Fact or Fiction?
mikelarson
Member

Posts: 293
From: Port Washington, NY
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 07-03-2006 01:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikelarson   Click Here to Email mikelarson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A year or so ago I was surfing the web and found a site where some guy was claiming the reason we've had all of these foam problems with the shuttle over the past few years is that in the mid-1990's NASA was forced to change the adhesive used to apply the foam because production of the old adhesive was evidently very bad for the environment / global warming. His point was that the new stuff wasn't as good as the old stuff and environmental concerns trumped safetly and engineering.

Anyone care to comment? Given the huge story the foam has been since Columbia, and since it hasn't made the mainstream news I figured it wasn't true (and was just one of those Internet legends), but would appreciate all of the expert advice and opinions that are found here.

Mike Larson
Chesapeake, VA

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-03-2006 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fiction, from here:
quote:
According to Volume 1 of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's report, on page 51, the tank that flew on STS-107 used foam on its domes, ramps and other areas that were hand shaped that was applied using CFC-11. Further, on page 129, the CAIB reports that while NASA did change blowing agents to reduce its use of CFCs, this only affected areas that were mechanically applied with foam. "Foam that is hand sprayed, such as on the bipod ramp, is still applied using CFC-11."

So the contention that using CFCs would somehow immediately fix the foam problems is simply not true.

Further, foam shedding was observed and considered a concern on STS-1 and on just about every mission since then.


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