Friday, October 19, 2007

Roller Coaster

To help crews escape from the Ares I, NASA is building the world's third tallest roller coaster at Pad 39B. Present Shuttle crews train on a trolley that slides down a long cable to a bunker on the ground. Follow the yellow-black deck markings leading to your ride. From a height of 116 meters, your car will drop straight down! NASA consulted roller coaster builders for construction tips. This Space technology could be adapted to one great amuement park ride!

STS-116 may have been the last Shuttle flight from this pad. 39B will be kept in reserve in case a rescue mission is needed for STS-125, the Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. The pad will be reconfigured for the first unmanned flight of Ares I sheduled for 2009. Servicing Hubble places additional risk because crews can not evacuate to ISS.

Central Florida has many great rides. Have you ever wondered why Disneyworld does not have a super-tall roller coaster? The answer lies in FAA regulations. The tallest structure at Disneyworld is Sleeping Beauty's castle, just shy of 200 feet. If the castle were taller than 200 feet it would need a red aircraft light.

As expected, NASA has issued a Request for Proposals for a next-generation spacesuit. Though the press release talks about seeking more flexible suits, reality may choose an outfit only slightly better than present suits. Most plans resemble the ILC Dover "I-Suit" with the addition of rear entry. You're Going Out in That? That won't stop something interesting coming from private industry! Below is a Shuttle Extravehicular Mobility Unit along with a more advanced prototype.

A bounty of interesting articles are at the new Carnival of Space!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you bringing your "more advanced prototype" to the Big Island next month, Louise ?

You could get some publicity shots taken on the lava fields ;)

3:43 PM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

If you keep getting photographed in space suits eventually someone is going to put you up there.

7:57 PM  
Blogger  said...

And it is going be me...

7:33 AM  
Blogger Chango said...

This might be a bit off the subject but last night I was watching the TV (some discovery channel show I don't even remember what it was) and there was a commercial for a show about climbing Everest. The climbers where moaning about how "man wasn't meant to be in this environment" and it got me thinking... why not. Everest is only a 29000ft with only about 1/3 atm of pressure. I would be surprised if the temperatures fell below -100deg F. This environment should be quite livable compared to space. Now nobody in their right mind would try to climb a flight of stairs in a NASA space suit but... you seem to have a better one... It might make a nice publicity stunt as well as a nice environmental test. You just need to make a backpack that has a gas powered air compressor for breathing and use the waste heat to keep you toasty. Normal heated gloves and boots would also be easier then a full pressurized version. I'm sorry but the engineer in me just likes to come up with ideas and I can't turn it off.

6:39 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

In the next year I hope (with funding) to test the suit in a variety of environments, including mountains and Big Island lava fields. Presernt NASA suits, even the "I-Suit," are simply inadequate for Mars.

12:33 PM  
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