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Fantasy Science Fiction (April 1954 Issue)

FANTASY SCIENCE FICTION APRIL 1954 
COVER

Copyright, 1954, by Fantasy House, Inc.


DISCUSSION

The cover artwork is by EMSH. The above picture can be analyzed as an excercise in rocket "accident reconstruction." The massive launch system appears to be a crew carrying rocket (note the veiwing ports atop the rocket). Unfortunately, there is no visible launch escape system to protect onboard occupants from launch failures. Traditional means of crew preservation include launch escape rocket towers, ejection seats, or module escape rocket systems. None are suggested by the drawing. The cause of the malfunction appears to be the failure of the crushed engine rocket pod. Launch of the depicted booster requires balanced thrust from the core rocket as well as the outboard cluster of rocket pods. Failure of any of the four pod rockets would immediately tilt the configuration, resulting in the above scene.

The failure of the Challenger STS-51L mission relates to the above painting. The shuttle's solid rocket boosters(SRBs) must provide balanced thrust throughout ascent. When a seal failed on one of the two solid rockets, a support strut was severed by the escaping flames. The severing of the strut caused the affected SRB to separate from the configuration resulting in a severe and fatal imbalance of thrust. For a detailed description of the Challenger disaster, click here.


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Last modified: Wednesday, 16-Nov-99 11:00:00 CDT


Author: Jerry Woodfill / NASA, Mail Code ER7

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