Friday, March 4, 2011

STS133 Solid Rocket Booster Video

14:48 -- My favorite is the left intertank view that starts out looking at something like a bellows. It has audio! It looks up. When the rocket detaches from the fuel tank you can hear it creaking and groaning, which sounds like thermal stress. It's freezing down at the bottom, I assume from residual liquid hydrogen and oxygen, and hot at the top from friction against the air. I'd love to hear some expert commentary on it. Anybody? There's a dark part at 19:00 where the nose cone flies off, then the parachutes open. I love the sound they make! I'm waiting for word back on my parachute rigger friend to tell me how they make them open in stages like that.

The sky is blue and the water is clear and the lines from the parachutes are floaty and pretty. It's all very nice. At 20:18 you can see the nose cone falling under parachute off to the right.

The rockets float nose up, about 30 feet up in the air, 100 feet down in the water. Two ships are waiting to retrieve them. They send divers out in a dinghy to swim down to the bottom of the rocket where they install a plug. A high volume/low pressure air compressor on the ship pumps air into the rocket through a large hose, displacing water out through a valve in the plug. The rocket rises straight up out of the water until it becomes unstable and falls over. They keep pumping the air until all the water is out. Then they close the valve on the plug and tow the rocket back to Florida! (The ship is not nearly as long as the rocket.) It's pretty far out, too. It takes 20 hours to get there from Cape Canaveral.

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