Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Book Your Orbital Vacations Now!
SciScoop: by rickyjames on Fri Jul 9th, 2004 at 04:49:59 PM PST

....As for the whole subject of reboost, somewhere inside NASA is a very interesting videotape taken at the 1992 or 1993 Houston Critical Design Review that has me arguing with a VP-level guy at what was then McDonnell Douglas about Space Station reboost. I present some facts about the amount of water generated by the Shuttle fuel cells during station docking, and state my belief and calculations that plumbing that water over to space station for use as electric resistojet reboost mass makes a lot more sense than letting that water deorbit with the shuttle and ultimately get drained onto the runway at Kennedy after being launched to orbit at $10,000 per pound. I outlined a whole scenerio we (Boeing) had worked out where once every 90 days a large chunk of the station's power would be diverted to reboost for a few weeks using water as the reaction mass for resistojets. I then note that Macdac had just received a $50 million contract from NASA Johnson to build a hydrazine carrier system for space station reboost fuel, which was insane - not only did it meen HUGE new cuts into the up-trip logistics mass budget (managed at that time by Boeing) in addition to the Shuttle fuel cell reactants that was going anyway, but hydrazine exhaust frost was inevitably going to build up in shadowed areas of the station and be a HUGE safety problem when it was accidentally rubbed against and brought back into the airlock by EVA. I stated that NASA couldn't possibly be so foolish as to let a $50 mil contract to MacDac without doing a trade study with safe, economical water resistojets, could they, so could I please see a copy of the engineering study that showed hydrazine was the safe and economical way to go over shuttle fuel cell water? The Macdac VP stutters, says the decision has been made to go with hydrazine (so much for DESIGN REVIEW), and ends the MacDac Q&A session.

Everybody in the auditorium knew I had made my point all too well. What can I say, the fix was in by the JSC Mafia. Space station was a VERY disillusioning experience for me...

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