[shuttle] Beam Me Out Of This Death Trap, Scotty — article from 1980 about problems within NASA’s Space Shuttle program … ‘The main cause of [problems] is currently the shuttle’s refractory tiles, which disperse the heat of reentry from the ship’s nose and fuselage. Columbia must be fitted out with 33,000 of these tiles, each to be applied individually, each unique in shape. The inch-thick tiles, made of pyrolized carbon, are amazing in two respects. They can be several hundred degrees hot on one side while remaining cool to the touch on the other. They do not boil away like the ablative heat shieldings of capsules and modules; they can be used indefinitely. But they’re also a bit of a letdown in another respect–they’re so fragile you can hardly touch them without shattering them.’ [via Metafilter]

1980 Shuttle Article

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 4th, 2003 at 11:52 am and is filed under Space.

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