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posted by janrinok on Friday May 04 2018, @03:07PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the just-like-my-car dept.

JWST suffers new problem during spacecraft testing

In a presentation at a meeting of the National Academies' Space Studies Board here May 3, Greg Robinson, the JWST program director at NASA Headquarters, said some "screws and washers" appear to have come off the spacecraft during recent environmental testing at a Northrop Grumman facility in Southern California. Technicians found the items after the spacecraft element of JWST, which includes the bus and sunshield but not its optics and instruments, was moved last weekend from one chamber for acoustics tests to another to prepare for vibration testing.

"Right now we believe that all of this hardware — we're talking screws and washers here — come from the sunshield cover," he said. "We're looking at what this really means and what is the recovery plan." The problem, he said, was only a couple of days old, and he had few additional details about the problem. "It's not terrible news, but it's not good news, either," he said. The incident, Robinson argued, showed the importance of the wide range of tests the spacecraft is put through prior to launch. "That's why we do the testing," he said. "We do it now, we find it now, we fix it and we launch a good spacecraft."

This latest incident comes as an independent review board, chartered by NASA in late March after announcing a one-year delay in JWST's launch because of other technical issues, is in the midst of its analysis of the mission and its launch readiness. That review, led by retired aerospace executive and former NASA Goddard director Tom Young, is scheduled to be completed at the end of the month.

NASA is expected to brief Congress on the status of the James Webb Space Telescope in late June.

Also at Popular Mechanics.

Previously: James Webb Space Telescope Vibration Testing Completed
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed to Spring 2019
JWST: Too Big to Fail?
GAO: James Webb Space Telescope Launch Date Likely Will be Delayed (Again)
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed to May 2020, Could Exceed Budget Cap
NASA Announces JWST Independent Review Board Members

Related: Northrop Grumman's Faulty Payload Adapter Reportedly Responsible for "Zuma" Failure


Original Submission

Related Stories

James Webb Space Telescope Vibration Testing Completed 5 comments

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) remains on track for an October 2018 launch:

JWST passed its final vibration testing Tuesday ensuring that the craft is finally fit for spaceflight. NASA has scheduled the telescope for an October 2018 launch, but the telescope was originally supposed to be launched in 2011 marking a long history of major cost overruns and delays.

NASA announced last December that the JWST was halfway completed, but the project is currently $7.2 billion over its initial budget and seven years behind the original schedule. The JWST was initially projected to cost $1.6 billion. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) now estimates the final cost of the telescope at $8.8 billion.

[...] During vibration testing in December at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center, accelerometers attached to the telescope detected "unexpected responses" and engineers were forced to shut the test down to protect the hardware. The kind of response NASA found could potentially create serious problems when the telescope is launched into space.


Original Submission

Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed to Spring 2019 9 comments

The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope has been delayed yet again:

The launch of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been rescheduled to occur sometime between March and June 2019 from French Guiana. The delay follows a schedule assessment of the remaining integration and test activities that need to occur prior to launch. The JWST was previously scheduled to launch in October 2018. "The change in launch timing is not indicative of hardware or technical performance concerns," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington, said in a NASA press release. "Rather, the integration of the various spacecraft elements is taking longer than expected."

The change in launch window request has been coordinated with the European Space Agency (ESA), which is providing the Ariane 5 launch vehicle for the JWST. As part of an agreement with ESA, NASA recently conducted a routine schedule assessment to ensure launch preparedness and determined that a reschedule was necessary.

While testing of the telescope and science instruments at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, continues to go well and remain on schedule, the spacecraft itself, made up of the spacecraft bus and sunshield, has experienced delays during its integration and testing at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California. "Webb's spacecraft and sunshield are larger and more complex than most spacecraft," said Eric Smith, program director for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The combination of some integration activities taking longer than initially planned, such as the installation of more than 100 sunshield membrane release devices, factoring in lessons learned from earlier testing, like longer time spans for vibration testing, has meant the integration and testing process is just taking longer. Considering the investment NASA has made, and the good performance to date, we want to proceed very systematically through these tests to be ready for a Spring 2019 launch."

An upside? A better chance of being prepared to image Planet Nine during the 5-10 year operating life of JWST.

Also at NASA.


Original Submission

JWST: Too Big to Fail? 85 comments

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), an infrared space observatory with an $8.8 billion budget, will be transported to South America to launch atop an Ariane 5 rocket, presumably in Spring 2019. The JWST was not intended to be serviceable at the Earth-Sun L2 point. Will there still be a "Golden Age of astronomy" even if the JWST fails?

[Due] to its steadily escalating cost and continually delayed send-off (which recently slipped from 2018 to 2019), this telescopic time machine is now under increasingly intense congressional scrutiny. To help satisfy any doubts about JWST's status, the project is headed for an independent review as soon as January 2018, advised NASA's science chief Thomas Zurbuchen during an early December congressional hearing. Pressed by legislators about whether JWST will actually launch as presently planned in spring of 2019, he said, "at this moment in time, with the information that I have, I believe it's achievable."

[...] Simply launching JWST is fraught with peril, not to mention unfurling its delicate sunshield and vast, segmented mirror in deep space. Just waving goodbye to JWST atop its booster will be a nail-biter. "The truth is, every single rocket launch off of planet Earth is risky. The good news is that the Ariane 5 has a spectacular record," says former astronaut John Grunsfeld, a repeat "Hubble hugger" who made three space-shuttle visits to low-Earth orbit to renovate that iconic facility. Now scientist emeritus at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, he sees an on-duty JWST as cranking out science "beyond all of our expectations."

"Assuming we make it to the injection trajectory to Earth-Sun L2, of course the next most risky thing is deploying the telescope. And unlike Hubble we can't go out and fix it. Not even a robot can go out and fix it. So we're taking a great risk, but for great reward," Grunsfeld says.

GAO: James Webb Space Telescope Launch Date Likely Will be Delayed (Again) 16 comments

The U.S. Government Acountability [sic] Office (GAO) has warned that the launch of James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is likely to be delayed again, which could cause the budget cap set by the U.S. Congress to be exceeded:

The U.S. Government Acountability [sic] Office (GAO), a non-partisan group that investigates federal spending and performance, has issued a report on the James Webb Space Telescope that has astronomers worried. "It's likely the launch date will be delayed again," the report concludes — an ominous statement, given that any further delays could risk project cancellation.

Last year NASA announced a delay in the telescope's launch to sometime between March and June 2019. The 5- to 8-month delay came from problems integrating spacecraft components, especially its complex, five-layered sunshield, which must unfold perfectly when the telescope is deployed. Right after requesting the change in launch readiness date, the mission learned of further delays from its contractor, Northrum Grumman, due to "lessons learned from conducting deployment exercises of the spacecraft element and sunshield."

The mission now has 1.5 months of schedule reserve remaining, the GAO finds. Delays during integration and testing are common, "the phase in development where problems are most likely to be found and schedules tend to slip." The project has a total of five phases of integration and testing, and has made significant progress on phases three and four, with the fifth phase beginning in July.

GAO's 31-page report, February 2018: JWST: Integration and Test Challenges Have Delayed Launch and Threaten to Push Costs Over Cap.

Also at Science Magazine.

Previously: Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed to Spring 2019
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Could be Further Delayed

Related: James Webb Space Telescope Vibration Testing Completed
NASA Considering Flagship Space Telescope Options for the 2030s
WFIRST Space Observatory Could be Scaled Back Due to Costs
JWST: Too Big to Fail?
Trump Administration Budget Proposal Would Cancel WFIRST


Original Submission

Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed to May 2020, Could Exceed Budget Cap 33 comments

The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been delayed yet again, due to damage to the spacecraft's thrusters, sunshield, and tension cables:

The slip is not exactly surprising, even though construction and testing of Webb's primary mirror and scientific instruments—its riskiest, most expensive elements—is already complete. These components were delivered in early February to Webb's prime contractor, the aerospace company Northrop Grumman, for further testing and integration with the rest of the telescope. But later that month a report from the Government Accountability Office warned that the company had fallen behind schedule on the supposedly easier parts of the observatory. Valves on the spacecraft's thrusters had sprung leaks after being improperly cleaned, and replacing them had taken the better part of a year. Webb's tennis-court-sized, five-layered folding "sunshield" had also been torn during a test as it unfurled, requiring time-consuming failure analyses and repairs.

Northrop Grumman's Faulty Payload Adapter Reportedly Responsible for "Zuma" Failure 9 comments

Northrop Grumman, rather than SpaceX, is reportedly responsible for the loss of a secret satellite (reportedly) worth $3.5 billion:

In early January, SpaceX adamantly denied rumors that it had botched the launch of a classified spy satellite called Zuma, and now, a new government probe has absolved the company of blame for the spacecraft's loss. Government investigators looking into the mission determined that a structure on top of the rocket, called the payload adapter, failed to deploy the satellite into orbit, The Wall Street Journal reports. That adapter was built by defense contractor Northrop Grumman, which means SpaceX isn't at fault for Zuma's demise.

This scenario aligns with what many speculated at the time. SpaceX launched Zuma on top of its Falcon 9 rocket on January 7th, and just a day later, reports started to surface that the satellite had fallen back to Earth and burned up in the atmosphere after the mission. However, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell claimed that the rocket performed as it was supposed to. "For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night," she said in a statement. "If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false."

[...] Meanwhile, the payload adapter failure isn't a good look for Northrop Grumman, which is having a difficult time piecing together another important spacecraft right now: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. Northrop is the main contractor of the telescope and is currently integrating large pieces of the spacecraft at the company's facilities in Redondo Beach, California. However, NASA recently announced that James Webb's launch will have to be delayed until 2020, due to a number of mistakes and delays that were made at Northrop during the construction process.

SpaceX should demand to use its own payload adapters for any new classified/national security launches, because it will probably be granted in light of this "Beltway bandit" fiasco.

Also at CNBC and LA Times.

Previously: SpaceX's Mysterious Zuma Mission May Soon Take Flight
Rumors Swirl Around the Fate of the Secret "Zuma" Satellite Launched by SpaceX
Zuma Failure Emboldens SpaceX's ULA-Backed Critics; Gets Support from US Air Force [Updated]

Related: GAO: James Webb Space Telescope Launch Date Likely Will be Delayed (Again)
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed to May 2020, Could Exceed Budget Cap


Original Submission

NASA Announces JWST Independent Review Board Members 3 comments

NASA announces James Webb Space Telescope Independent Review Board members

NASA recently announced the formation of an external Independent Review Board for the space agency's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The board will study a variety of factors impacting the mission's success and reinforce NASA's strategy for completing the observatory's final integration and testing phase, launch phase and commissioning.

"We are exploring every aspect of Webb's final testing and integration to ensure a successful mission, delivering on its scientific promise," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, in a NASA news release. "This board's input will provide a higher level of confidence in the estimated time needed to successfully complete the highly complex tasks ahead before NASA defines a specific launch time frame."

According to NASA, the board includes individuals with expertise and experience in program management, schedule and cost management, systems engineering and the integration and testing of large and complex space systems, science instrumentation, unique flight hardware and missions with science objectives similar to Webb.

[...] According to NASA, the members of the Independent Review Board are:

JWST Launch Christmas Morning 55 comments

James Webb Space Telescope reaches launch pad for Christmas liftoff

The James Webb Space Telescope is due to launch on Saturday (Dec. 25) during a 32-minute window that opens at 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT). The massive observatory will blast off from Kourou, French Guiana, atop an Ariane 5 rocket operated by European launch provider Arianespace. You can watch launch coverage live at Space.com beginning at 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT) courtesy of NASA or you can watch directly at the agency's website.

ESA launch kit (PDF).

Previously:


Original Submission

Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed Again, This Time to March 2021, Cost at $9.66 Billion 17 comments

Remember the JWST? Yup:

NASA has again delayed the launch of its next-generation space observatory, known as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the space agency announced today. The telescope now has a new launch date of March 30th, 2021. It's the second delay to the project's timeline this year, and the third in the last nine months.

"We're all disappointed that the culmination of Webb and its launch is taking longer than expected, but we're creating something new here. We're dealing with cutting edge technology to perform an unprecedented mission, and I know that our teams are working hard and will successfully overcome the challenges," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a video statement. "In space we always have to look at the long term, and sometimes the complexities of our missions don't come together as soon as we wish. But we learn, we move ahead, and ultimately we succeed."

NASA pushed the launch of JWST, which is viewed as a more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, from 2019 to 2020 in March of this year. At the same time the space agency also convened an independent review board to assess the future of the project, which is running the risk of blowing by an $8 billion cost cap set by NASA in 2011. Going beyond that cost cap would mean that Congress has to reauthorize the program.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Friday May 04 2018, @03:19PM (2 children)

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 04 2018, @03:19PM (#675698)

    A good automobile analogy of why delays are resulting in screwed up test results, is if you rebuild your car engine in one weekend in one unitary effort, you'll remember all kinds of rando trivia and detail such that you won't have random bolts and parts laying around the garage when you're finished with the rebuild and the engine will probably work. However if you insist on spending a year very slowly rebuilding the engine you're going to have to do stuff like de-rust and hone the cylinder walls three times and you're gonna have to buy 5 spark plugs for a 4 cylinder engine because parts sit around and get lost or misplaced so you end up buying more than you need and at the end you got a pile of extra parts and you're not quite sure if every nut that needs a lockwasher had one installed or were the head bolts finger tight just to keep the parts in place for months or did you torque them down and when you fire the thing up the first time, odds are you'll have much more trouble.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Snow on Friday May 04 2018, @03:26PM (1 child)

      by Snow (1601) on Friday May 04 2018, @03:26PM (#675700) Journal

      I've taken apart things with like 5 fasteners and still had hardware left over once it was back together.

      I swear to god, once you get a few nuts/screws/washers in a bowl, they breed.

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday May 04 2018, @06:54PM

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 04 2018, @06:54PM (#675807) Journal

        Well, yes...screws and nuts. What did you expect?

        --
        I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04 2018, @04:12PM (9 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04 2018, @04:12PM (#675710)

    "but it's not good news, either"

    I completely disagree. Finding these problems ahead of time is very good news. I would much rather find the problems now than leave it unfound and have a failure after launch. There is no such thing as a failure during testing unless you fail to find the problems at all.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04 2018, @04:22PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04 2018, @04:22PM (#675716)

      So you think finding screws and washers on the floor as opposed to not finding them is good news? If I were the NASA administrator, I might hope that Congress cuts the JWST, so I don't have to explain a $10 billion lost mission.

      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday May 04 2018, @04:41PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Friday May 04 2018, @04:41PM (#675723)

        I have no doubt that more than a few people wouldn't mind if Ariane blew up, because not knowing whether their piece would have failed and crippled the whole thing could be better than the alternative.
        I am counting on all the others involved, to make sure those people get to say "I helped build this wonder" instead.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday May 04 2018, @06:34PM (3 children)

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday May 04 2018, @06:34PM (#675801) Journal

        There's about zero chance of JWST getting cancelled. It's too big to fail (on the ground). If it fails on launch or in space, well, it will be a bad day + years for a lot of people.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04 2018, @09:58PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04 2018, @09:58PM (#675873)

          It has already been bad years for a lot more people, not that any of them want to see it fail. It has sucked the money out of many smaller, but arguably equal value space/science projects.

          • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday May 04 2018, @11:56PM

            by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday May 04 2018, @11:56PM (#675916) Journal

            It could be a good thing if it gets the juices flowing about how to make telescopes big and cheap from the start, preventing a future telescope design from repeating the mistakes of JWST.

            The Kilometer Space Telescope [nasa.gov] just got NIAC funding. The Giant Orbiting Astronomical Telescope [insideunmannedsystems.com] would use modular components flown on multiple launches, although that may not be the best approach given that BFR is around the corner.

            --
            [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday May 05 2018, @01:51AM

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 05 2018, @01:51AM (#675937) Journal

            but arguably equal value space/science projects.

            No, that's not arguable.

            The value of something is what people are willing to pay for it, and since JWST is getting the bulk of the funding it is clearly valued more than those other projects.

            Are there people who would "Value" their pet project more than JWST?
            Probably, but it doesn't matter, because they have neither the votes nor the money.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by bob_super on Friday May 04 2018, @04:25PM (1 child)

      by bob_super (1357) on Friday May 04 2018, @04:25PM (#675717)

      One the other hand, you're not talking about a very advanced 3D-printed part having a flaw, or a camera that's near-sighted.

      You're talking about someone not counting their screws right, or not specifying the torque right, or not torque-wrenching right.
      When the budget is north if five billion dollars, one would hope those basics are at least done right.

      Which relates to my PCB design theory: it's the darn FET that kills you.
      In short: everyone reviews the high-speed high-power stuff ten times, carefully vets it and simulates every detail ... and nobody notices the LED or FET is on backwards.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday May 04 2018, @06:06PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 04 2018, @06:06PM (#675779) Journal

        It's also possible they were just dropped parts, of the "I'll get it later" type.

        Or two or three technicians doing one job resulting in the predictable Bob tightened them, no Bill did, just check the box and let's go to lunch.

        The paperwork at NASA can be mountainous, all of it piled on to prevent things like this, but ultimately causing things like this.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05 2018, @08:12PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05 2018, @08:12PM (#676146)

      I disagree with your disagreement.

      Your argument is based on the notion that there is a specific number of problems, and by finding this one there is one fewer problem to surface after launch.

      The
      I don't think this is the best way to look at it. The number of mission compromising problems is unknown. The point of design is to have no unknown problems. There can be potential problems, but they should have been considered.

      This shows us problems that nobody considered exist. If that is true, it indicates insufficient design and more may exist.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04 2018, @04:13PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04 2018, @04:13PM (#675711)

    So somebody dropped some screws into the thing during assembly. Now we have to hope that random dropped parts don't jam the mechanism after launch. You'd think NASA would be tracking every fastener to avoid this situation. Sounds like a management problem, which does not bode well.

    Alternatives such as insufficient torque or bad design are not good either.

    • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Friday May 04 2018, @09:25PM

      by bzipitidoo (4388) on Friday May 04 2018, @09:25PM (#675861) Journal

      Screws coming off or extra ones being dropped in is sheer carelessness and incompetence. Someone, somewhere has an engineering position for which they are not fit, to make such a shoddy design. Or possibly it's someone in assembly who, uh, screwed up.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday May 05 2018, @01:54AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 05 2018, @01:54AM (#675939) Journal

      JWST was on its way to the vibrator chamber, probably to find problems like this.
      Guess what, they found problems like this.
      I suppose thats why they test.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04 2018, @04:47PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04 2018, @04:47PM (#675729)

    All the parts falling off this spacecraft are of the very finest American manufacture!

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Snotnose on Friday May 04 2018, @05:59PM (11 children)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Friday May 04 2018, @05:59PM (#675769)

    When a friend is rebuilding an engine, or putting together IKEA, stop by and sprinkle some extra nuts, bolts, and washers around. Then have a beer while they try to figure out where they came from. If I actually like them I'll let them in on the secret before they start tearing the item down again so they can "rebuild it right this time".

    --
    I fondly remember the day I made sandcastles with my grandmother. Just wish I hadn't done it in the crematorium.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Snow on Friday May 04 2018, @07:15PM (10 children)

      by Snow (1601) on Friday May 04 2018, @07:15PM (#675818) Journal

      I bought a barbecue a couple years ago. It required some assembly. No problem; everything bigger than a toaster oven does nowadays.

      I had the thing 98% built. All I needed to to was attach the doors to the propane tank area. Easy-peasy. A screw, a couple of washers and a nut. I found that there was no hole in the base-plate for the door to fit into. It turns out that I had the base-plate (the part where the propane tank sits) backwards. By this time my knuckles were bleeding because I have shitty tools and I was pretty pissed off. I thought about drilling a hole for the door but ended up just throwing the doors in the trash. We don't need no stinkin' doors...

      -- Snow

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday May 04 2018, @09:02PM (7 children)

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday May 04 2018, @09:02PM (#675851) Journal

        The grill cover can perform the role of protecting the grill. The door on the last grill I had would come off the hinge during heavy wind with no cover on. Or just come off from swinging it open too hard.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 2) by Snow on Friday May 04 2018, @09:16PM (6 children)

          by Snow (1601) on Friday May 04 2018, @09:16PM (#675857) Journal

          Look over here at this fancy pants with his grill cover.

          The only thing my BBQ gets covered with is bird shit.

          • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday May 04 2018, @09:23PM (5 children)

            by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday May 04 2018, @09:23PM (#675859) Journal

            https://www.doityourself.com/stry/barbeque-propane-cylinders-weather-safety-tips [doityourself.com]

            A heavy season of rain can cause the tank, and other attachments on the propane barbecue, to rust. Both hot and cold weather can affect gas tanks, as metal expands and contracts with fluctuations in heat. If the weather has been shifting between hot and cold very rapidly, a propane barbecue tank might become cracked or distorted: check the tank regularly for bulges or dents, corrosion, and leaks, and check the attachments for signs of cracks or holes. If these appear, it will be necessary to change the fuel supply before using the barbecue.

            [...] Invest in a barbecue cover, a polythene tent-like material which is draped over the entire BBQ, preventing rain from entering the grill or propane tank and connections. These can be bought at any hardware store, and are a good investment, as they not only protect the tank, but the rest of the grill at the same time.

            --
            [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
            • (Score: 2) by Snow on Friday May 04 2018, @10:00PM

              by Snow (1601) on Friday May 04 2018, @10:00PM (#675875) Journal

              Pro-Tip: Pawn off old/rusted tanks on those propane tank exchanges. You'll never have to buy another propane tank again.

            • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Friday May 04 2018, @10:38PM (2 children)

              by vux984 (5045) on Friday May 04 2018, @10:38PM (#675893)

              Sure if you've bought a Broil King, or Napoleon worth 100s or even thousands you'd be a damned fool not to spring for a $50 cover.
              If you bought a walmart special for $88... you may as well skip the $50 cover and just buy another walmart special when the first one disintegrates. :)

              • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday May 04 2018, @10:52PM (1 child)

                by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday May 04 2018, @10:52PM (#675897) Journal

                A quick search finds some covers at $15-17. You could also use whatever's available, such as a blue tarp (can be bought for $8 at Walmart).

                --
                [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
                • (Score: 3, Funny) by vux984 on Monday May 07 2018, @08:29PM

                  by vux984 (5045) on Monday May 07 2018, @08:29PM (#676778)

                  Meh...a walmart special will disintegrate within a few years whether you put a tarp on it or not. I think its on a timer. :)

            • (Score: 2) by slap on Saturday May 05 2018, @12:13AM

              by slap (5764) on Saturday May 05 2018, @12:13AM (#675920)

              My grill has quick disconnect fittings on the tanks - similar to the fittings on airhoses. The grill stays in the basement (walk out), and the tanks stay outdoors.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by bzipitidoo on Friday May 04 2018, @09:15PM (1 child)

        by bzipitidoo (4388) on Friday May 04 2018, @09:15PM (#675856) Journal

        Do yourself a favor and get some decent hand tools. It's not that expensive, can be only a few cents difference between a good quality screwdriver and a cheap one. It's sad that so much material, cursing, sweating, and pain and bleeding is expended over such a little difference in cost.

        One way to tell whether a Phillips screwdriver is good is look carefully at the tip after it's been used for a while. Of course, rather know before you buy. However, if the four ridges at the tip are straight, it's good. If they are notched and worn and ragged, it's a bad tool, and will be a lot harder to use. Takes a lot more force to hold a bad Phillips screwdriver on a screw, and it'll likely slip off anyway and tear up the screw head.

        And as for slotted screws and screwdrivers, avoid those whenever possible. The slotted screwdriver is far more prone to slipping off. Just about any other head is better. I once ragged on the local Home Depot for stocking more slotted screws than any other type.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05 2018, @01:53AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05 2018, @01:53AM (#675938)

          Personally, I like to find flathead drivers that fit into Philips screws and Torx drivers for Allen screws.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by krishnoid on Friday May 04 2018, @09:07PM (2 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Friday May 04 2018, @09:07PM (#675852)

    Does Loctite (or similar) work in this environment? Just curious if it would work or if not, why not.

    • (Score: 2) by corey on Friday May 04 2018, @10:26PM

      by corey (2202) on Friday May 04 2018, @10:26PM (#675888)

      Yep. I worked on a defence product once and they used loctite on every fastener as normal routine for shock and vibration.

      I'm surprised this has made it into the public. They might just be robustness testing it sans loctite which is what we did too. You really only use loctite once you are destructive testing the unit under test.

      Then again loctite might not suit space applications, due to outgassing, radiation etc.

    • (Score: 1) by erichill on Monday May 07 2018, @01:02PM

      by erichill (658) on Monday May 07 2018, @01:02PM (#676629)

      There's quite a few different variants of Loctite. Some of the lower end Loctite will soften in extreme heat or cold. It's possible they need to move to a different version of it. For more extreme applications, they may skip the Loctite in favor of bolts with a hole drilled laterally through the head, and they run a piece of steel cable through the hole to a tie-off point. It prevents the bolt from turning in *very* extreme conditions where chemistry could break down.

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