Friday, May 29, 2009
My desert storm experience
Ok..so when I took these pictures...the tail cone was about to be installed on Atlantis. The purpose of the tail cone is to cover the aft section so it reduces aerodynamic drag and turbulence. The plan is to try to get Atlantis leaving California early on Sunday morning, but that's all dependent on how processing operations go and if everything stays on track with no other issues.
Well, then we took a quick lunch....only to come out to see some bad weather over the mountains that eventually was going to near over the Orbiter! We quickly rushed back and performed a walkdown to make sure there were no loose tools or anything around that could damage Atlantis since we heard warnings for 50mph winds.
As we were performing the walkdown, the dust started picking up from the desert and visibility was poor. Here I am in a picture below thinking fighting dust storms is cool.
The tail cone was not installed due to the high winds and it's taking cover in a hanger. We just hope it doesn't rain on the Orbiter! The waterproofing agent on the thermal protection system gets burned off during re-entry. That's what helps the thermal protection system not absorb water. If it rains out here...we'll absorb water and there is a maximum weight that the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft can carry.