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92894952620273749383 t1_ivwzmzk wrote


Spaceguy5 t1_ivx0fes wrote

They need O-rings to seal the joints because the SRBs of that massive size are made by stacking multiple segments together and you need to be able to seal the hot gasses inside between the joints. There's no practical way to make SRBs that big without splitting them into segments

It wouldn't have been an issue if they used them at the correct temperatures. Though to be extra safe, they also redesigned the joints to be more robust and have a second layer after the failure. That redesign + more strict rules on launch temperatures led to there never being another issue with that part of the booster.


ExecutiveAvenger t1_ivx90fo wrote

There certainly was also a design error with the joints since there really wasn't any redundancy. The new design solved this.


Spaceguy5 t1_ivx9lvs wrote

I mean, redundancy and fault tolerance aren't absolutely mandatory for a design to be good, as long as it's a simple design used in design operating conditions with a low chance of failing. SRBs flown pre-STS-51L in design temps didn't have signs of burn through, only ones flown cold showed signs (which the fact those flown out of spec showed signs even before 51L should have set off alarm bells and gotten the situation resolved without loss of life)

But yes, it definitely was made a better design by adding that fault tolerance, and without adding too terribly much mass and complexity. And it makes sense that they'd add it in after experiencing that failure mode (even if it was caused by out of spec operation) just to give more peace of mind.


SquiffSquiff t1_ivxdrlv wrote

Perfectly possible to make them that size, as discussed e.g. Here. It was because they wanted to manufacture them in Utah for I'm sure entirely sound technical reasons that had nothing whatsoever to do with politics


Spaceguy5 t1_ivxea9z wrote

Can you not? Cut it out with the conspiracy crap. As someone who works on the space program, I'm tired of hearing all the anti NASA peanut gallery comments that just assume some weird political corruption is going on behind the scenes, and that that is the only reason the architecture was planned how it was. It's very far removed from reality but yet that conspiracy garbage is something me and my coworkers get spammed with practically every time we talk about work on social media.

Also you should read that r/science comment you linked as a source more closely because it mentions practical reasons why segmenting makes sense and actually supports what I said moreso than you.


SquiffSquiff t1_ivxhbkb wrote

The point being that NASA could transport entire Saturn V rocket stages (by barge) and the shuttle orbiter (by plane) but for some reason there was 'no way' these boosters could be made in a single piece...


theholyraptor t1_ivz9dxa wrote

You realize that, even if they built them next to the pad in Florida, that large assemblies are made up of smaller components for thousands of technical reasons, even if you rule out transport logistics.