April 1983 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News

Navy Role In Space Shuttle And OTEC Recoveries Discussed At ASNE-Northern New England

Comdr. Charles Maclin, USN, Director of Ocean Engineering, and Supervisor of Salvage, U.S. Navy, was the guest speaker at the recent meeting of the Northern New England Section of the American Society of Naval Engineers. Commander Maclin described the Navy's role in the proposed recovery of Space Shuttle Four's fuel pods and its role in recovery of Offshore Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) equipment.

The main objective in recovery of the shuttle's fuel pods was to .obtain the flight recorder for analysis so that future incidents, such as the sinking of the fuel pods, could be avoided. Each booster costs $25 million, he explained, and they are intended to be reused time after time.

The boosters were in 3,200 feet of water about 140 miles off the Florida coast.

Through excellent use of underwater photography and equipment, NASA found the cause of the problem, and corrections were made on the next shuttle flight which proceeded smoothly.

The Navy also recovered a 3,000-foot-long polypropylene OTEC pipe that lay on the Pacific bottom in 4,000 feet of water. The OTEC's pipe is part of a system that generated energy based upon temperature differences of different layers of water. The program was not funded after 1981 and no means of recovery existed. Through innovative use of submersibles, personnel, and salvage equipment, the OTEC pipe was raised up and towed to shore.

Other stories from April 1983 issue


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