Scroll down to read this post.

 

In celebration of my birthday on February 5, 2023, I am running a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:

 

1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.

 

2. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.
 

3. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.
 

4. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:


5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
 
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


SLS launch early on November 16th remains uncertain

Despite repeated assurances that the November 16, 2022 1:04 am (Eastern) launch of NASA’s SLS rocket remains on target, managers have also noted that damage to a small piece of caulking at the base of the shroud protecting the Orion capsule remains an issue that could cause a scrub.

But high winds from Nicole caused a thin strip of caulk-like material known as RTV to delaminate and pull away from the base of the Orion crew capsule’s protective nose cone at the top of the rocket. The material is used to fill in a slight indentation where the fairing attaches to the capsule, minimizing aerodynamic heating during ascent. The fairing fits over the Orion capsule and is jettisoned once the rocket is out of the dense lower atmosphere. “It was an area that was about 10 feet in length (on the) windward side where the storm blew through,” said mission manager Mike Sarafin. “It is a very, very thin layer of RTV, it’s about .2 inches or less … in thickness.”

Engineers do not have access for repairs at the pad and must develop “flight rationale,” that is, a justification for flying despite the delaminated RTV, in order to proceed with the launch. Managers want to make sure any additional material that pulls away in flight will not impact and damage downstream components.

In plain language, NASA managers would either have to issue a waiver that says this small piece of caulking poses no risk, or scrub and roll the rocket back to the assembly building to fix it. The second option would delay the launch another month, at a minimum.

A waiver however would continue NASA’s pattern with the shuttle (and continuing with SLS) to dismiss potential engineering problems simply to avoid schedule delays. With the shuttle, this pattern twice caused the loss of a shuttle and crew. With SLS, NASA has already waived by more than a year its rules concerning the stacked life of the rocket’s solid-fueled boosters. Agency managers have also waived the full test requirements from the dress rehearsal countdown, so that this test did not test everything it should.

It is expected that NASA managers will announce the waiver today on this problem. Whether it matters when the rocket goes through maximum dynamic pressure shortly after lift-off will likely determine the future of SLS.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

6 comments

  • Jim Schmidt

    “a thin strip of caulk-like material known as RTV”

    So they used gasket sealer from autozone? While there are Aircraft grade versions, it is still just Room Temperature Vulcanizing silicon sealant. Why am I not surprised it is on this rocket?

  • Va Jack

    Am I reading this right? The rocket couldn’t handle the winds from Nicole but can withstand the aerodynamics of a launch? What were the the winds on the cape? 50-60mph?

  • pzatchok

    I refuse to even use that stuff in my bathroom let alone on anything outdoors.

    I used to rebuild classic cars and didn’t even use it then.

    And they are using it for aerodynamic use? And almost a quarter of an inch thick?
    80 mph wind rips it out and they think it hangs on during lift off?

    They spent enough on this craft why not send the fairing back to be either modified to fit better or build a whole new one?

    More than likely the area they are covering with RTV does not even have an aerodynamic problem and they are just using it to keep out the rain and bugs.

    If they had a gantry that could reach all around the rocket they could just reapply it in place.

  • Ray Van Dune

    How’s this for a “flight rational”?:
    1. The sealant material that detached during an 80-mph wind will not likely further detach during the hypersonic ionized airflow expected in the later stages of launch.
    2. Even if it does, it will be unlikely to harm anything important because it is soft, even going at thousands of feet per second.
    3. Even if it does, and its absence generates excessive heat there is nothing critical nearby, except the rim of the reentry heat shield, which will not be needed until the end of the mission.
    4. Recommend launch!!

  • Ray Van Dune

    “Whether it matters when the rocket goes through maximum dynamic pressure shortly after lift-off will likely determine the future of SLS.”

    I think I recall from ground school many years ago that some aerodynamic phenomenon like flutter actually depend on true airspeed, instead of apparent. That MIGHT mean that the susceptibility of the sealant could continue to increase to flutter-induced type failure, even beyond Max-Q. Just a hunch!

  • pawn

    Mother Nature gives NASA a hint.

    NASA….What?

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *