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Re: Alike 911 unheard warnings retired NASA engineer alert presidentabt shuttle poor conditions



Hello All.

Don Nelson should really not be taken seriously.  I am as loud and coval a 
NASA critic as there is but Nelson's chief "message" is that there needs to 
be 1) an ejectable crew capsule put in the shuttle and 2) until it is there 
need to be ejection seats.

A crew capsule would be a great idea.  But retrofit one to the shuttle would 
take years and essentially reduce its payload capability to a couple of 
suitcases.  The military has not had great luck with "ejectable capsules".

The original B-1 had one,  the FB-111 did.  The system in the B-1 was so 
nightmarish to maintain that it was dumped in the B-1A.  The XB-70's 
ejection capsules did not have a great record in its crash.  In Vietnam the 
FB-111 tried it in real time and the results with ejection seats were much 
better.  Of course the problems with ejection seats is that the BEST of them 
work over a very small range.

Had all the crew members on Columbia had "seats" they would all still have 
perished in the tragedy UNLESS we spend a lot of money, redesign the 
pressurized container and build a seat like has never been built 
before...again we run into that weight problem (not to mention mobility on 
the shuttle).

The rest of Nelson's charges are so vague as to be amorphous.

Look I think we should never fly the shuttle again, move on to other 
vehicles and completly alter the landscape of how human spaceflight is done 
to make it more robust.  But if we are going to fly them again Nelson's 
ideas will not be part of the solution.

Robert Oler WB5MZO

PS if you want to read my ideas on the solution find a copy of This Weeks 
Space News.

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