CFC-free foam has nothing to do with Space Shuttle damage

Been a lot of talk recently on the net about the damage to the Space Shuttle; anti-environmentalists have been bringing up old BS about the CFC-free foam used in insulating the main tank. Here's something I posted to Slashdot on the topic:


environmentalist groups got their way and now we have a riskier space program.

This point about how the foam insulation process was changed has come up many times in discussions about the damage to Endeavor. And it's wrong.

It has its origin in one of Rush Limbaugh's lies.
As it turns out, the foam that dealt Columbia the death blow was the
old-style CFC foam. The problem was in the hand-spraying application method
used on that area, which left gaps and voids in the foam.

Yes, when they first started using the CFC-free foam in 1997 there were
some problems seen. Changes were quickly made to improve the adhesion.

There were also plenty of problems with the CFC foam - "popcorning" from
trapped air bubbled was noted in 1995
, while in 1992 Columbia was
struck by a large piece of foam, ripping a 12cm gouge in the tiles. Both of
these were before the switch to CFC-free foam.

--
Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | my blog
You cannot wash away blood with blood

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