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  Byron Florence, Skylab meteoroid shield designer

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Author Topic:   Byron Florence, Skylab meteoroid shield designer
JohnRoy1970
New Member

Posts: 4
From: Martinez, Georgia, USA
Registered: Jul 2013

posted 07-10-2013 07:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JohnRoy1970   Click Here to Email JohnRoy1970     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have some calculations, documents, papers, reports (some drafts later revised), and research associated with the development of the Skylab Orbital Workshop Meteoroid Shield by Byron B. Florence. I was surprised to find these items discarded in a metal shed behind a house at an estate sale last week. I purchased them for $15.

I am interested in having them evaluated. All of the items were produced while Mr. Florence worked as a contractor for Mcdonnell Douglas Astronautics Company from 1967-1971. I would like to know what I have and also of the collection's importance in regards to the development of Skylab, etc.

I am mainly curious at this point.

tfrielin
Member

Posts: 149
From: Athens, GA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 07-10-2013 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tfrielin   Click Here to Email tfrielin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think these papers may be of some value as they have a rather, well, interesting (notorious is too strong a word) context — the micrometeoroid shield this man designed was ripped off after Skylab's launch and caused the cascade of problems that almost doomed the lab.

Interesting that he kept the record of his design failure all these years.

David C
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Posts: 107
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 07-10-2013 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by tfrielin:
Interesting that he kept the record of his design failure all these years.
Wow, you make it sound like a one man screw up. How about those who assisted, reviewed, approved and built it? Seems very harsh, or personal?

tfrielin
Member

Posts: 149
From: Athens, GA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 07-10-2013 10:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tfrielin   Click Here to Email tfrielin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whoa — that's a bit harsh your own self.

I am not fingering Mr. Florence personally, but he obviously must have been involved in the faulty design in some way.

JohnRoy1970
New Member

Posts: 4
From: Martinez, Georgia, USA
Registered: Jul 2013

posted 07-10-2013 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JohnRoy1970   Click Here to Email JohnRoy1970     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gentlemen, I have gone to both extremes myself, wondering if it indeed was the failure of one man, or more of a combined failure from numerous persons, etc. What is most likely, though, is the research that I have (a large portion of it handwritten) might help determine what may have exactly gone wrong if that has not already been determined.

I just hope that someone will read this message who will be able to direct me further...

(His full name was Byron B. Florence, III. Apparently he died a number of years ago, but that is all I know about him at this point.)

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 579
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 07-10-2013 03:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think harsh may be an extreme word, even though, yes, it could have led to the loss of the Skylab module (but not of a crew) and maybe have ended the program before it barely began. I read somewhere that engineers, in a post-flight analysis, did not adequately (or not at all) test the effect of high-speed airflow over the skin of the Saturn V where the shield was located, therefore resulting in its loss, jamming one solar wing against the station and the loss of the other one.

So, like any good engineer, he kept his notes for himself, the subsequent investigation-and posterity. Like other accidents/disasters, you learn from all mistakes made.

JohnRoy1970
New Member

Posts: 4
From: Martinez, Georgia, USA
Registered: Jul 2013

posted 07-15-2013 08:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JohnRoy1970   Click Here to Email JohnRoy1970     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read through the information again this weekend, with more of a studious effort on my part, and determined that Byron Florence, III put together a "Meteorid Protection" Report for the Skylab Meteor Shield, as well as something related to a mishap with the MS during a test; it was called the "Ground Effects Investigation - Final Report," from 1971.

All of the information I have is related to Meteorid Analyses and studies related to an earlier malfunction of the Meteor Shield in 1971. However, there is some early research in the "Meteoroid Protection" folders (there are 2 Master Reports and 3 copies) about Skylab, including a blueprint of the Orbital Work Shop from Spring 1970. Pretty cool stuff.

JohnRoy1970
New Member

Posts: 4
From: Martinez, Georgia, USA
Registered: Jul 2013

posted 10-21-2013 07:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JohnRoy1970   Click Here to Email JohnRoy1970     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have decided to auction off the archive, along with the aircraft prototype design, as I could never get anyone to get back with me. I tried NASA, Aviation Weekly, other Aircraft Designers, and I just gave up after getting no replies to my emails. We will see how things go in November at auction...

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