View Full Version : Discussion: Astronauts Prepare for Spacewalk ...

2005-Aug-03, 04:56 PM
SUMMARY: Astronauts Steve Robinson and Soichi Noguchi made their preparations to head outside the space shuttle Discovery today. This spacewalk had been planned for the mission, but shuttle managers gave the two men the additional task of fixing two protruding gap fillers in between the heat tiles on the underside of the shuttle. Robinson will attempt to pull the excess material out by hand, or use a hacksaw if that doesn't work.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/sts114_status_report_16.html)

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Don Alexander
2005-Aug-03, 04:59 PM
Just a question: Now that the protruding gap fillers have successfully been removed, what fills the gaps? :(

2005-Aug-03, 05:02 PM
I guess a hole between the tiles is less dangerous during re-entry than a spacer projecting out.

I'm sure we all wish them well.

With kind regards,


2005-Aug-03, 06:35 PM
Stuff explands when it gets hot. Tiles are stuff, and when the shuttle re-enters, they heat up, expand, and so there is flexible space left in between the tiles when Shuttle is put together.

Launches are really bumpy from the rocket engines, and the tiles are delicate. Having this gap filler in between the spaces keeps the fragile tiles from bumping and breaking each other on the way up.

The Shuttle is nice and smooth so that air flows around it, reducing drag. The more drag, the more friction, the more the air around heats up. So the worry is that having gap filler sticking out creates a very unaerodynamic shape, more drag, and more heating. That's why they pulled it out.

2005-Aug-03, 09:58 PM
It's good to see that the work has been carried out successsfully & that the shuttle is now expected to be safer for reentry!

I wish them all the very best of luck. :)