NASA ripe for Poka Yoke?

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
#1
:eek: Do you think NASA might be ripe for Poka Yoke?:eek:
Shuttle Gears Were Installed Backward
Mon Mar 22, 9:34 PM ET
By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - To prevent another catastrophe, NASA (news - web sites) will replace braking mechanisms on all its space shuttles after discovering some of the gears were installed backward.

Shuttle program manager Bill Parsons said Monday he has launched an investigation into why the rudder speed brake gears — all old original parts in the shuttle tails — were never inspected in more than two decades of flight. If one of the improperly installed gears had been in a high-stress position, it probably would have led to the destruction of the spacecraft at touchdown, he said.

"Bottom line is, it was not good," Parsons said.

The rudder speed brake is used to guide and slow the shuttle as it comes in for a landing. If even one of the four sets of gears that operate the mechanism jams, then the spacecraft could not land safely.

As it turns out, the reversed gears found recently in Discovery were in the least stress-prone position and never failed. But one of the replacement gears — a spare set that was also installed backward — would have ended up in a much more high-stress location in the tail.

All the rudder speed brake gears in NASA's inventory — dating as far back as the 1970s — are being X-rayed to see whether they were properly built, and to look for rust and microcracks, already spotted on some gears.

Parsons said new or refurbished gears should be installed in time for shuttle flights to resume next March, after a two-year grounding following the Columbia tragedy. The extra work may put NASA a week or two behind, but "I think we'll be able to make that up," he said.

Discovery will fly first because the work is further along. Atlantis must be ready to quickly go to the Discovery crew's rescue at the international space station, however, if need be during an emergency.

The installation problem surfaced late last year and prompted NASA to delay the next shuttle flight from fall 2004 to spring 2005.

"Because of the way these gears go together, you can actually make a mistake and put them in incorrectly, and there was not a good process back in the timeframe" to catch mistakes, Parsons said.

He said the maker of the rudder speed brake mechanisms, Hamilton Sundstrand in Rockford, Ill., now has better quality control.

At the same time, NASA is inspecting the plumbing in each of its three remaining shuttles. The hoses in question are also original shuttle parts and some are starting to leak, Parsons said.

"As we deal with aging vehicle kind of issues, we will find other things along these lines as well, I'm sure," he said.

Parsons said engineers are making good progress on the inspection booms and wing-repair kits that will be required on all future shuttle flights.

Columbia was destroyed and its seven astronauts were killed during re-entry last year because of a hole in the left wing caused by a piece of insulating foam that broke free at liftoff.
 
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#2
Wes Bucey said:
:eek: Do you think NASA might be ripe for Poka Yoke?:eek:
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - To prevent another catastrophe, NASA (news - web sites) will replace braking mechanisms on all its space shuttles after discovering some of the gears were installed backward.
Ouch! :mg: Yes, Poka Yoke sounds like a good idea. In fact, I think we can all use the text above as food for thought. Most of us could probably find similar mishaps in our own companies. I know I can...

/Claes
 

The Taz!

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
My question is why wasn't it picked up on the original inspections. . . never mind the subsequent ones. . . do they use Control PLans?? Aerospace developed FMEA's . . . did they address it?? Will they update it?

Agree totally that a Poka Yoke in the design is needed. :applause:
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#4
Chuck Yeager found an installation flaw in an aileron assembly of the F86. Mechanics could (and did) install a bolt contrary to design requirements that would (and did) cause the controls to freeze when inverted (Yeager was able to take corrective action).

We found things on the Blackhawk, Apache and other aircraft that could be done likewise.

Murphy lives, and designers can't beat him...there is always a bigger hammer!!
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#6
I've seen "Q professionals" sign off on insignificant items like tail rotors blades installed backwards, mis-matched hardware, krappy welds, horribly erroded compressor blades, mis-installed servo's, and numerous other trivial things related to aviation maintenance. A majority of the time the "Q professional" had no hands on experience to apply to the "Q" requirement...neither do most engineers. The problem I see is a growing lack of relevent and personal technical expertise of the people involved with systems design and inspection.. Lot's of theory, but no practical application of the theory to fall back on on their part.

Besides...shuttle flights are all validation flights anyway. The last one proved that there was a design and systems flaw as validation tests are supposed to.
 
#7
Randy said:
The problem I see is a growing lack of relevent and personal technical expertise of the people involved with systems design and inspection.. Lot's of theory, but no practical application of the theory to fall back on on their part.
Yes. Hands on experience is priceless. On the other hand, the opposite extreme can be just as devastating: People with lots of hands on experience but lacking the theoretical insight can cause havoc just as easily...

Randy said:
Besides...shuttle flights are all validation flights anyway. The last one proved that there was a design and systems flaw as validation tests are supposed to.
Considering how complicated that contraption is, that has to be absolutley correct. We can not and should not expect any venture into space to be particularly safe for many years to come, if ever... We must remember that it takes a failure in but one of all those systems to cause disaster. With that in mind, I think the shuttle is a great success in spite of the two accidents.

/Claes
 

The Taz!

Quite Involved in Discussions
#8
Randy said:
The problem I see is a growing lack of relevent and personal technical expertise of the people involved with systems design and inspection.. Lot's of theory, but no practical application of the theory to fall back on on their part.
I can't agree with you more :agree: . . . I remember when I first started to work as a platform QE at a company making fuel delivery systems. . . the ME took me by the hand and made me assemble a bunch of them. . .

I also remember a company that took all new design engineers and put them in inspection for a few weeks. . . they found how not to design things. . .

There needs to be a balance. . .

yes. . . I have to admit I have a new respect for the shuttle Crews. . as one astronaut commented, "he's sitting on top of 40,000 parts made by the cheapest supplier" Don't remember which one. . . Oh well. . . :soap:
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#9
The Taz! said:
. .

yes. . . I have to admit I have a new respect for the shuttle Crews. . as one astronaut commented, "he's sitting on top of 40,000 parts made by the cheapest supplier" Don't remember which one. . . Oh well. . . :soap:
Pretty close to what I experienced with 4K+ or so hours of flight time in Army helicopters....10,000 parts all going in different directions, working against each other, made by low bidders and maintained by mass produced mechanics with marginal skills...Also most of my time was in Maintenance Test Flights...I was the QC/QA guy that OK'd them as Safe-for-Flight :eek:
 
R

Randy Stewart

#10
I was and am a QCI with the Navy on Sub-Safe system. When it came to somthing that would put water in the people tank they were realy involved.....

The Gov does allow bids, but they have meet specs. Most of us know that Mil Specs will blow away most civilian specs. Think parachute for an example. I now know for a fact that the ones I used, in the service, were put through more tests than what I use now. The equipment I used I had my life dependant on. They (the Gov) may have more requirements but it is for a good cause.
Would you want your son, daughter, wife or husband putting thier life on the line with something second rate???? Yes, the contract may go to the middle bidder, but the product has to perform to the utmost.

Randy I'm a little taken aback by your comment. I have been in some helo's that have taken more punishment than they were designed for and still got my feet on the ground. My kids are really thankful for that and I don't think they would complain about it.

Most people don't want to pay for the added safey, but for my tax dollar I'd like to see the result. Shuttle included. NASA had to make a decision and in order to save money they made the wrong one. Just like, you hope, they didn't on the ammo your son is using in the Gulf.

Do They over spend? Yes they do, but all of us that have ever traveled in places or by means that humans were never designed to: Thank God they did.
 
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