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*breathes a sigh of relief*

So they touched down safely without any holes burning through the wings:

Click the image to see the story.

Despite this big ol' gash in the tiles:

(This was taken in space, by the way. Had to share that nerd-coolness.)

I'm still unclear on why NASA uses fragile LEGO blocks to protect their most-expensive equipment from burning to cinders upon re-entry....



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 23rd, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC)
It's because legos were awesome and we all played with them as kids.
Aug. 23rd, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
True! And you could build things like Space Shuttles out of them, crash them into other LEGO structures, and not a piece would fall off.
Aug. 23rd, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
I wish my legos could fly at Mach 25 :(
Aug. 23rd, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
It's not fragile lego blocks. It's just the fact they are using 20year old ceramic plates. The testing times to "clear" new materials, components and such for NASA use is extensive and insane. Hence why most computers are still 2-3 gens behind on the orbiter. They have to know every possible caveat they might have.

NASA just needs (and wants) to retire the orbiter program and move on to the next big thing, sadly there is some bit of entrenchment and a WHOLE LOTTA lack of funding.
Aug. 23rd, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
It's also because they don't have a single-sheet something or other that would cover the whole vehicle, and if they did, when it was damaged, they'd have to replace the whole thing. This way, the only have to replace the damaged tiles.

But hey, that's the whole Space Shuttle. It's not "reusable" so much as it's "rebuildable."
Aug. 23rd, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
Fortunately they keep their feathers numbered for just such an occasion.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )