Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003
To: "Shuart, Mark J" <email@example.com>
From: "Robert H Daugherty" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Tile Damage Update
Nothing terribly new but a few things talked about today with some folks at the Ames VMS. Apparently the current "official" estimate of the damage is 7 inches by 30 inches by half the depth of the tiles down to the densified level. One of the bigger concerns is that the "gouge" may cross the main gear door thermal barrier and permit a breach there. No way to know of course. A JSC colleague and I talked to the sim guys and are urging them to simulate a landing with two flat tires prior to touchdown...it is as simple as hitting a software button and simply doing it...but since no Orbiter Program Management is "directing" the sim community to do this it might need to get done "at night". An anecdote that they told us is that this was already done by mistake this week and the commander lost control of the vehicle during our load-persistance simulations. It seems that if Mission Operations were to see both tire pressure indicators go to zero during entry, they would sure as hell bailout...we can't imagine why getting information is being treated like the plague. Apparently the thermal folks have used words like they think things are "survivable", but "marginal".
I imagine that this is the last we will hear of this.
Read more at http://www.nasa.gov/columbia/COL_debris_email.pdf