From: email@example.com (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: X-33/Venturestar Question...
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 17:22:51 GMT
In article <35aV5.81075$Ze6.firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Kim Keller <email@example.com> wrote:
>> >Is the currect OPF, VAB, RSS truly the most efficient way to turn around
>> >and launch a shuttle ?
>> Undoubtedly not, but reforming the process is easier said than done...
>Well, if we're talking about the STS shuttle, then yeah, it is the most
>efficient method of launch processing...
I'm skeptical; it looks to me like improvements could be had. Not, mind
you, just by giving people different procedures tomorrow. First you would
have to change some of the assumptions behind the current ones.
Specifically, I strongly suspect that greater efficiency could be had by
running the facilities the way they were originally intended to be run:
all, repeat *all*, processing is done before rollout to the pad. That's
what the VAB is for, dammit. Rollout should be part of launch countdown,
not just the midway point of turnaround.
KSC did things that way, more or less, exactly once: Skylab. It worked
quite well and saved both time and money.
This would, as noted above, require some changes in assumptions. Notably,
it would be necessary to apply blunt instruments to some of the safety
people to convince them that things like pyro installation need not be
done on the pad.
When failure is not an option, success | Henry Spencer firstname.lastname@example.org
can get expensive. -- Peter Stibrany | (aka email@example.com)
From: "Kim Keller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: X-33/Venturestar Question...
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2000 05:49:10 GMT
"Henry Spencer" <email@example.com> wrote in message
> I'm skeptical; it looks to me like improvements could be had. Not, mind
> you, just by giving people different procedures tomorrow. First you would
> have to change some of the assumptions behind the current ones.
> Specifically, I strongly suspect that greater efficiency could be had by
> running the facilities the way they were originally intended to be run:
> all, repeat *all*, processing is done before rollout to the pad. That's
> what the VAB is for, dammit. Rollout should be part of launch countdown,
> not just the midway point of turnaround.
The tasks performed at the pad are best performed there from the perspective
of test integrity, safety, and cost. The fact that the ship spends
three-five weeks at the pad doesn't indicate inefficiency; it indicates an
understanding of what works best for the total, integrated vehicle.
For example, what's the point of doing integration testing in the VAB, then
subjecting a certified-for-flight stack to the vibration, rocking and
swaying of transport to the pad? Given the finicky nature of the beast, we'd
just have to repeat the testing out at the pad.
Then there's safety. No one is going to want to load that large an amount of
hypergolics in the VAB, especially with SRBs stacking in another high bay.
You can't do APU hot-fires in the VAB. You're not going to want to load
cryogenics in the VAB. These are operations best done in a large open area
where people can be safely moved out of the blast damage area should a bad
And there's the cost question of setting up all the fluids support required
to complete integration testing. Hypers, gaseous oxygen, nitrogen and
helium, plus their liquid counterparts must be supplied. These services were
already installed at the pad during Apollo; why duplicate them in the VAB
and have to also contend with all the safety issues that would entail?
I don't think you understand how little doing pad work in the VAB would
improve the flow. In fact, it would be very harmful, because the hazardous
operations would require large disruptions of work in other areas due to
> This would, as noted above, require some changes in assumptions. Notably,
> it would be necessary to apply blunt instruments to some of the safety
> people to convince them that things like pyro installation need not be
> done on the pad.
Sigh....I've told you before that pyros ARE installed in the VAB. For that
matter, pyros are installed in the OPFs. The only pyros installed at the pad
are the long-throw pyros (the "sparklers" on the TSMs) and the holddown bolt
pyros (I think - this may be done in the VAB also; I'll have to check). The
ordnance operation at the pad only takes a few hours and involves removing
faraday caps from the installed pyros, running stray-voltage checks on the
pyro cables, and connecting the cables to the pyros. Doing this in the VAB
would result in very. very little gain, and once again, disrupt other work
areas due to safety clears. (Note: those clears are instituted for a reason
by people who have done the research. I don't think you're qualified to
second-guess them and suggest application of "blunt objects". They know
their job and their product as well as you know yours) Plus it would
jeopardize a one-of-a-kind facility if any of the afore-mentioned procedures
led to a significant accident. It's bad enough we're stacking loaded SRB
segments in the building. At least if an accident damages a pad we have
another to fall back on while repairs are under way.
Also note that during Apollo, all propellant operations were handled at the
pad. The Saturn was basically inert while in the VAB.
Bottom line - the way things are laid out and performed at KSC is the result
of thousands of manhours of careful thought, planning and critical review.
Given the design of the Shuttle system, it truly is the most efficient way
of processing *this* design.
Orbiter Quality, Fraternal Order of the Pad Rat