Post By JHOLLAND1
machining for NASA
Nephew Dan stopped by for a visit. He is the chief space payload boss for NASA--works for a sub-Lockheed.
I wondered why he still had a job since the Shuttle program terminated. Turns out he screens all non-military cargo launched into space in which NASA provides part or all funding. He determines how cargo will be secured, fixtures,
packing, etc. His company also stocks a lot of ISS [international space station] supplies such as writing instruments, sanitary goods, gloves, light bulbs, etc.
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services--this program [COTS] is the NASA program thru which supplies and
potentially personnel are delivered to the ISS. Approved contractors include Orbital Sciences, Alliant Techsystems (ATK), and most recently Space X. Dan takes delivery of their cargo and then routes to the launch facility.
When the shuttle program was active Dan saved flight STS 123 from certain mission failure. He was recognized by NASA
for this. Here is pic of award ceremony.
Legacy--perhaps you noticed the gentleman in the pic with an eye patch. Robert, Dan's father was a machinist for a Fort Worth aero-space contractor in the 1960's. He was machining 60 foot lengths titanium bar from root thickness 1.5 inch down to .060 in continuous taper. These went to a variety of SST programs-super sonic transport. None of which
went into production. but you can be certain parts met spec.
When the Shuttle program was running, Dan took delivery of 3 fixtures designed to bolt in shuttle cargo bay. they would support substantial mass. All three were obviously flawed. Fractures--not Luders lines- were present. So the parts, machined from billet aluminium, were inspected with dye penetrant and xray.
one fixture was deemed usable if derated by 50%
fixture two was rejected due to deep fractures
fixture three was more problematic-- tig welding had been performed to remedy errant tool path followed by remachining. and the workpiece
signed off and certified by shop owner.
even the man on the street understands consequences of unsecured load in shuttle cargo bay.
and that is how it unfolded. the case was referred to the OIG-office of inspector general.
a guilty trial verdict put shop owner in federal prison for 2 years. and no pay for parts.