Friday, March 24, 2006
Curses! Failed Again!
"To keep the liquid oxygen from warming up and naturally boiling away while the rocket sat on its tropical launch pad before launch, a "thermal coat" had been wrapped around the first stage. Problems running out of liquid oxygen on the remote island have bedeviled SpaceX over the past few months.(Here.)
'A glaring deficiency that we had in the November and December attempts was the fact that we were basically boiling LOX at an unacceptably high rate. It is hard to get LOX on the island. So what we did was put a blanket scheme together to cover the first stage LOX tank,' Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX vice president of business development, told reporters during Friday's countdown.
'It is held to the rocket by Velcro and and we've got lanyards that hold it down to the ground. So basically the lanyards will pull a zipper as the vehicle lifts up, a Velcro zipper, and that LOX tank insulation will stay on the ground as the vehicle flies through it.'"
Foam on the shuttle and an insulating blanket on the Falcon. What is it with thermal protection of fuel tanks that causes such problems with launchers?
We wish SpaceX success in the future and hope it will be able to launch its next mission from Vandenberg on schedule in three to six months.
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