Force of Foam Surprised Shuttle Investigators

The accident investigator searching for the cause of the Columbia disaster said he was surprised by the force that foam tearing off of the shuttle’s fuel tank could cause to its wing. In a recent experiment, investigators fired a 760 gram chunk of foam at a fiberglass replica of the shuttle’s wing and tore open an important seal. Even more damage is expected when the next round of tests are performed with real shuttle wing parts, removed from Discovery, which are composed of reinforced carbon.