2005-08-09

Shuttle Waiting for Foam Fix

I was reading about this last week - where they will not fly the shuttle again until they can stop the foam falling off the external fuel tank.

I was thinking maybe they could put some sort of metal shielding over the most sensitive areas. Which may not be such a bad idea anyhow.

But then I was thinking about the external fuel tank and why they put on the foam. They put on the foam to help insulate the ultra cold of the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen from the outside. This helps reduce the icing on the outside.

Then the solution hit me. What common household item is known for keeping hot-things-hot and cold-things-cold? A thermos. Where is the insulation on a thermos? On the inside of the shell. So what is obvious solution for the space shuttle?

PUT THE FOAM ON THE INSIDE!

Okay - I have to imagine that some other rocket scientists have thought of this already. Why wouldn't they have already gone with this idea? Probably because it would mean enlarging the tank a little to fit the insulation on the inside. And that means more weight. And also it might be more expensive to put the insulation on the inside. Yet it does seem to be an obvious solution.

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