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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)

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Aging Cafe` Racer
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The rocket testing I was involved with used MMH and NTO not HTP as propellent, they were being used in outer space as positioning rockets for the LEROS 1 & 2 satelites in the '90's. Probably still up there for all I know...
I love the smell of monomethyhydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide in the morning!

I'm sure you know the Shuttle's OMS and manuvering engines used those hypergolics. Nasty stuff; at KSC we had to do annual training on how to get out of a contaminated area, treating exposure, etc. Anyone who worked near the stuff had to wear full exposure suits with air supplies.

There was a great story about Enterprise, the Shuttle they used for approach and landing tests. It had most of the flight systems, including the 3 APUs, which were powered with MMH and NTO. The APUs had to run to power the hydraulics for the flight and landing tests. After the first landing, the entire aft bay was soaked in hypergolics and hydraulic fluid. Rockwell hustled the ship into the hanger and sent a half-dozen janitors in with boxes of Kimwipes, rubber gloves, and bug-spray masks to "wipe up the oil," knowing cleaning it safely would take weeks and weeks, and put them further behind schedule. Apparently NASA got wind of it and fined the crap out of Rocketwell, then the janitors heard about the fines and sued Rockwell for enough to retire on.
 

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Aging Cafe` Racer
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Incredibly nasty stuff. As I'm sure I mentioned before, the company I work for was sub contracted by the Royal Ordinance division of British Aerospace to do the testing in our high altitude chamber. The chamber used 450 psi steam passed through a series of ejectors to pull a vacuum. On a good low humidity day we could get it up to over 110,000 feet and it was my job to operate the boiler, valving and piping system.

Pretty interesting stuff, I had no direct contact with the motors themselves but I remember the RO techs suited up when connecting and disconnecting the fuel lines on the test stand and the USAF tankers delivering the MMH and NTO, all in enviromental suits.

It was really cool and I'm sure you would have gotten a kick out of it, the facility was built and used to support the Apollo program and I believe it was used to test the LEM and Luner Rover. When the program was over it was basically sealed up and abandoned to be resurrected for the LEROS program that we supported. "The Bunker" was a semi buried control room with a foot thick blast proof window and banks of 60's era commputers and what-not supplemented by modern desktops and screens. Even had rotary dial phones, really cool Sci-Fi vibe to the whole thing, the boiler was an old black oil fired stick-shift D type, completely manual controls. It was really fun to run it, a real museum piece.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It was really cool and I'm sure you would have gotten a kick out of it, the facility was built and used to support the Apollo program and I believe it was used to test the LEM and Luner Rover. When the program was over it was basically sealed up and abandoned to be resurrected for the LEROS program that we supported. "The Bunker" was a semi buried control room with a foot thick blast proof window and banks of 60's era commputers and what-not supplemented by modern desktops and screens. Even had rotary dial phones, really cool Sci-Fi vibe to the whole thing, the boiler was an old black oil fired stick-shift D type, completely manual controls. It was really fun to run it, a real museum piece.
That sounds like fun!

NASA is really good at getting their money's worth. Our station (RPS in the Launch Control Center) had a mix of gear from all the way back before Apollo and the "latest and greatest." On the same day, I'd create data sets with punch-tape, punch-cards, removable platter drives, and up to the minute (for 1980) HP microcomputers. The telemetry stuff was definitely "museum" gear. Imagine inputting your computer's IP address with a patch panel and wires!
 

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Aging Cafe` Racer
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That sounds like fun!

NASA is really good at getting their money's worth. Our station (RPS in the Launch Control Center) had a mix of gear from all the way back before Apollo and the "latest and greatest." On the same day, I'd create data sets with punch-tape, punch-cards, removable platter drives, and up to the minute (for 1980) HP microcomputers. The telemetry stuff was definitely "museum" gear. Imagine inputting your computer's IP address with a patch panel and wires!
Yeah that's cool stuff, a lot of the old technology still works just fine, just not as fast or as much storage or memory. For what it was designed for it was state of the art at the time.
 

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The Toad
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Yeah that's cool stuff, a lot of the old technology still works just fine, just not as fast or as much storage or memory. For what it was designed for it was state of the art at the time.
Old technology? Dude, they use tubes in satellites.
 
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