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My understanding was that this kind of shit always just burned up in the atmosphere on its way back to Earth. But there are those spent rocket boosters, looking perfectly intact and not burnt up at all. I wish they would provide a little more commentary on the pictures than "Divers from the Dryden Research Center perform an assessment of Discovery's spent solid rocket boosters." Like, did they sink and then someone buoyed them back up? Were they floating and they put floats on them? Is that what those straps are for? What are they inspecting them for? Are there tons and tons of these things lying on the ocean floor? Have any fallen and hit the Earth? If so, where are they and do they cart them away or are they sitting somewhere, stuck in the upper floor of someone's condo? TELL ME!!!

I'm hungry.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2006 11:54 am (UTC)
Parachute cords, dumbass! For the parachutes! And big steel tanks that have nothing in them tend to float, with the heavy end down. They are discharged well below the re-entry altitude, so no re-entry friction and no burning.
Dec. 14th, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC)
Oh cool, thanks!
Dec. 14th, 2006 02:52 pm (UTC)
Remember that video I posted a few months ago from the perspective of a solid rocket booster's fall back to the ocean?

The solid rocket boosters are reusable and are released by the shuttle well below altitudes that would cause it to burn or break up. The last 100,000 feet or so of its fall is by parachute. They end up in the water only about 100 miles from the launch pad.

It is the big external tank that is released at orbital altitude and burns and breaks up on its fall back. Whatever pieces survive end up in the Indian Ocean.

These are the two ships NASA owns which are responsible for recovering the boosters.
Dec. 14th, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, cool, thank you!
Dec. 15th, 2006 02:28 am (UTC)
They reuse them, as has been mentioned. They drift down on parachutes that come out of the nosecone, and thus land nozzle-end first, so they float on the air trapped inside them, like an upside-down glass in the sink.

That's part of the reason they only launch the Shuttle from Florida, over the ocean, and not from Vandenberg out west.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )