Space Shuttle design............
Does the statement, "We've always done it that way" ring any bells...
The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet,
8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?
Because that's the way they built them in England, and English
expatriates built the US Railroads.
Why did the English build them like that?
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built
the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.
Why did "they" use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools
that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. Okay!
Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they
tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of
the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of
the wheel ruts.
So who built those old rutted roads?
Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and
England) for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.
And the ruts in the roads?
Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to
match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were
made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel
The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is
derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war
And bureaucracies live forever.
So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's
ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial
Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back
ends of two war horses.
Now the twist to the story...
When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big
booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are
solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their
factory at Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have
preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by
train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the
factory happens to run through tunnels. The SRBs had to fit through
those tunnels. Now The tunnels are only a bit wider than the railroad
track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses' behinds.
So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's
most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand
years ago by the width of a horse's ass....
Submitted by Luther Quick
Submitted by Cliff Jobes
July 3, 2003
Here is a story that might add a little laugh.
In supporting SAS at Quito, the received AGC's degraded where we could just about get data. Then some weeks later the AGC's came back to normal.
A call came from Dr. Marjorie Towson (Project Director) and she asked if I had any idea why the AGC's returned to normal. I told her that here at Quito we had no idea as to why the receive signal returned to normal.
I told Dr.Towson that the only idea I could talk about is that when the AGC's normalized we were giving a tour to a group of Nuns.
About two months later, the problem came back. A Scamma call came in and the SAS Control asked if "B" shift was on and was Cliff Jobes was there. I answered and the Controller said wait one.
Then Dr. Towson came up and said, Cliff I have a request. "Can you find us some more Nuns"?
Regards to all;
"When Apollo Mission Astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" statement but followed it by several
remarks, usual com traffic between him, the other astronauts and Mission Control. Just before he re-entered the lander, however, he made the enigmatic remark, "Good luck Mr. Gorsky."
Many people at NASA thought it was a remark concerning some rival Soviet Cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs.
Over the years, many people questioned Armstrong as to what the "Good luck Mr. Gorsky" statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled. On July 5, 1995 in Tampa, Florida, while
answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26 year old question to Armstrong. This time he finally responded. Mr. Gorsky had finally died and so Neil Armstrong felt he
could answer the question.
Armstrong explained, "When I was a kid, I was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. My friend hit a fly ball which landed in the front of his neighbor's bedroom windows. My
neighbors were Mr. & Mrs. Gorsky. As I leaned down to pick up the ball, I heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky, "Sex! You want sex?! You'll get sex when the kid next door walks on the
Submitted By Walt Keesey