OFF TOPIC for cctech, ON TOPIC for cctalk: Re: Space Shuttle Disaster

From: Jim Arnott <>
Date: Sun Feb 2 17:57:00 2003

Al Hartman wrote:

> And the temporary solution is to build a few more new
> shuttles and ground the older ones.

ON TOPIC Follows:

The Space Transportation System relies on proven 1970's technology.
Things like "Five identical general-purpose computers aboard the orbiter
control space shuttle vehicle systems. Each GPC is composed of two
separate units, a central processor unit and an input/output processor.
All five GPCs are IBM AP-101 computers. Each CPU and IOP contains a
memory area for storing software and data. These memory areas are
collectively referred to as the GPC's main memory." Learn more at:

OFF TOPIC follows:


Great idea except...

Most of the original companies that built the fleet are long gone.
(Grumman, GD/Convair, Rockwell STSD, Rocketdyne, McDonnell/Douglas,
Fairchild among others...)

The manufacturing tooling is long gone. As is some of the "expertise".
(Boron-Aluminum Tubes come immediately to mind. They were a bitch to
manufacture when the fabricators *knew* what they were doing. And
there's hunderds of different ones required.) I just found a photo taken
in 'our' facility and while some of the tooling may still be around, I
remember the fixtures being 'recycled'. (Fixtures are the white things
holding everything up in the pic at

The experienced fabricators have been spread to the winds due to item 1

I'd love to rejoin the Orbiter team. In retrospect, one of the two
things I've done so far in my life that has helped change the world. And
we couldn't have done it without the active assistance of a bunch of
DEC-Maynard, CV and other support folks. They helped keep our
manufacturing systems alive.

Received on Sun Feb 02 2003 - 17:57:00 GMT

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