[LINK] Finally up to date on the Shuttle

Howard Lowndes lannet@lannet.com.au
Sat, 15 Feb 2003 18:28:28 +1100 (EST)

On Fri, 14 Feb 2003, Antony Barry wrote:

> On Friday, February 14, 2003, at 01:56 PM, Frank O'Connor wrote:
> > unsatisfactory tile solution. Even the SR71 BlackBird - which only 
> > does about Mach 4 or 5 from memory - heats up big-time at speed.
> It was pained black to help radiate heat. The plane got several inches 
> longer due to expansion when it was flying. The leading edges of the 
> wings got to over 500 degrees. The fuel was used as part of the cooling 
> system but even so got to 350 degrees and needed to be custom made. 
> Just about everything was made of special materials able to resist high 
> temperatures. Each of it's two engines could put out more power than 
> the Queen Mary's four turbines combined and sucked in 100,000 cubic 
> feet of air each second. On take off it went from 0 to 200mph in 20 
> seconds. You couldn't fly it lower than 10,000 feet because of the 
> damage it could cause. There was one flight where one flew at 2,092mph 
> at 85,068 feet. New York to London in one hour and fifty five minutes. 
> Blackbirds flew for 25 years. Nothing then or since has approached 
> their capability within the atmosphere. Unlike the U2 none were ever 
> shot down. They were also expensive.

Further trivia.  They used to drip fuel when they were sitting on the 
ground because of the expansion gaps, and you couldn't use cadmium plated 
tools on them because of the titanium content in the aircraft.  Also an 
air traffic control story about the Blackbird.

Blackbird: "Control, request flight level 800". (80,000 feet)
ATC (sarcastically): "Blackbird, flight level 800 approved, if you can get 
Blackbird (cuttingly): "Roger, leaving flight level 1000 for flight level 

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