The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, August 13, 1986, Image 3

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

{Shuttle design tests scheduled Successful results could allow flight renewal in early 1988 Wednesday, August 13, 1986/The Battalion/Page 3 House speaker: Shorten no-pass, no-play restriction iOIIIC jhapii iftl w thf] ! pasi | *i whenl SPACE CENTER, Houston (AP) I— NASA said Tuesday it will begin Itests later this year on a new booster [rocket design that uses a third rub berized O-ring and a metal brace to prevent leaks like the one blamed for the Challenger disaster. John Thomas, the manager of a solid rocket motor redesign team, said that if the hot-fire tests this fall and full-scale tests next year suc ceed, the space shuttle should be able to resume flights in early 1988. Thomas, speaking at news confer ence at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said his team had settled on a fundamental new rocket motor design that will I prevent the problem that triggered I the Jan. 28 accident that killed seven I crew members. “We’ve taken every step to under- | stand what happened on Challenger I and to preclude that from happen- | ing again,” said Thomas. Starting this fall, he said, engi- Texas won't replace fish killed by river | pollutants DALLAS (AP) — State officials do not plan to replace thousands of sporting fish killed when various pollutants robbed oxygen from a 40- mile stretch of the Trinity River. Catfish, shad and buffalo fish died along the kill route, which stretched from Trinidad, a town about 00 miles southeast of Dallas, downstream to U.S. Highway 79 near Oakwood, officials said. The five-day kill, the worst in more than a year, ended Sunday, Dennis Palafox, acting chief of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Depart ment’s pollution surveillance branch, said. Officials estimate that as many as 60,000 fish were killed. Palafox said it is not likely the toll will rise to the 184,000 killed in July 1985. The department’s fish restocking program does not provide for re plenishing after a serious kill, Pala fox said. The department can force pollution law violators to pay for res tocking after a kill, but when no sin gle culprit is identified, there is no remedy, he said. The kill resulted from a wide range of urban pollution sources in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, environ mental officials said. neers will conduct hot-fire tests us ing rocket segments that include the new' design. If results are good from 20 or more of these tests, said Thomas, then firing of full-scale test engines will be conducted, followed in September or October of 1987 by firings of six qualification motors. Thomas said the design changes will correct all of the problems found in the Challenger accident in vestigation, and yet will permit NASA to use solid rocket motor seg ments already built. “I don’t know why it was not done a long, long time ago,” Thomas said of the changes. A presidential commission blamed the Challenger accident on failure of a seal in a solid rocket booster joint. The National Aero nautics and Space Administration grounded the shuttle fleet until the design flaw could be corrected. The major flaw in the rocket used for Challenger was in a seal formed by two O-rings. The commission said the rings came unsealed and allowed superheated gases to burn through the rocket casing and then penetrate the wall of an adjacent propellant tank. Fuel and oxidizer from the tank erupted in a fireball. Thomas said the new design will include a third rubberized O-ring and a metal brace that will force the rocket joint to remain sealed. He said there will also be interlocking insulation that will prevent hot gas from touching the rubberized O- rings. The Challenger commission con cluded that pressure within the rocket forced the joint to open slightly, unsealing the O-rings. With the new design, pressure will actually tighten the seal, forcing the third O-ring against its sealing seat, Thomas said. Also, he said, the metal lip will hold the joint rigid un der pressure. “No matter what happens with movement of the joint, one of those (three O-rings) will close,” he said. Frigid temperatures on the morn ing that Challenger was launched are blamed for part of the problem. Commission investigators said that the cold may have robbed the O- rings of elasticity, preventing them from sealing before the hot burned a pathway to the outside. Thomas said heater strips will be installed in the new rocket joint to maintain even temperatures in cold conditions. Thomas said two astronauts are on the design team and have ex pressed “nothing but support” for the new design. One finding of the commission was that astronauts were not even informed of problems that had occurred on earlier missions with the rocket seals. “We can always come up with some better ideas,” he said, “but at some point you’ve got to freeze the design and press on.” J: ie ate (oh, M' ie f- lethfi fasnu 1 it s# e far* hunt Budget crunch breeds ideas Kiln built of surplus bricks By Mary Frances Scott Staff Writer While the budget crunch is causing many professors to do without new equipment, a Texas A&M ceramics instructor in the Department of Environmental Design is getting a new kiln. Joan Moore and a graduate student, Tim Brown, are build ing it from scratch — their way of dealing with the skimpy budget. It’ll be late summer before the 60-cubic-foot gas kiln is com plete, says Moore, the assistant professor who put the project to gether. It all started when Moore heard about over 12,000 bricks in storage at University Surplus. The bricks came from an old boiler at the Power Plant and date back to 1935. Because the bricks were sur plus material, she got them at no charge. After the spring semes ter, the pair stacked between 5,000 and 6,000 bricks, each wearing out two pairs of gloves in the process. The bricks normally would be the most expensive component of the kiln, but since they were free, the kiln so far has cost only $50 — the price of a can of mor tar. A kiln half the size retails for about $10,000. Though the final costs will in crease once all the necessary parts are purchased, Moore ex pects an enormous savings over the retail price. Brown, who studies urban and regional planning, designed the kiln, which will be his sixth. It is located outside the Lang ford Architecture Building in a garage-like structure adjacent to the ceramics studio. But the kiln isn’t just a big oven formed out of a stack of bricks. “A kiln is more complicated than most people think,” Moore says. “If you have as much as five degrees difference, it can affect the glaze.” Because the kiln will reach temperatures of 2,400 degrees Farenheit, only the bricks in the Roman arch that constitutes the top of the kiln are actually ce mented together. The bricks in the walls of the kiln are simply stacked on top of each other and then braced at the corners with steel reinforcing. This allows the kiln to expand when tempara- tures rise. Moore says the new gas kiln will allow more diversity in the kinds of ceramics she can fire. Not only will the kiln hold more objects than the four elec tric kilns currently in use com bined, but it will also fire objects in six to eight hours, about twice as fast as the existing kilns. AUSTIN (AP) — Texans hoping to ease the no-pass, no-play rule signed up a blue-chip recruit Tues day as House Speaker Gib Lewis urged a shorter suspension for first time offenders. Lewis said he asked Gov. Mark White to allow the Legislature’s spe cial session to consider such a change. If not, Lewis said, the plan would be introduced when lawmak ers convene in January for their reg ular session. “I’ll be honest with you,” Lewis told a meeting of teachers and school administrators. “I’ve even fiaked off and I’m supporting some revisions in no-pass, no-play. Noth ing’s perfect. And we will be making some changes.” The controversial no-pass, no play rule prohibits a student from participating in any extra-curricular activities if he’s failing any course. Under the rule, adopted as part of the sweeping 1984 school reform law, students are suspended from sports and other activities for six weeks after receiving a failing grade. On another subject, Lewis told ap proximately 800 educators that a bill to give teachers and school adminis trators the power to remove incor rigible students from the classroom should reach the House floor this week. The governor promised to open the special session to consider that topic, and Lewis told the teachers, “If you want to stay around, you’ll see the bill passed Thursday af ternoon.” As House leader, Lewis was in strumental in steering the school re form bill through the 1984 special session. But he said Tuesday that he never sttongly favored the six-week no-pass, no-play provision in that legislation. He said students should be sus pended for only three weeks the first time they receive a failing grade. If they fail a second time, the suspen sion then should be for six weeks, Lewis said. “I talked to the governor this morning about the possibility of looking at that a little bit,” he said. “We’ll possibly be making some changes. Maybe not now, but possi bly when the Legislature convenes in January.” In an interview, Lewis said White didn’t rule out such a change. In public, the governor has said he would consider a no-pass, no-play rollback a retreat from education re forms. “He said, T don’t want the percep tion to be that we’re going to back off the seriousness we have com mitted to education,’ ” Lewis said. “ I assured him I didn’t think this would back off.” White’s press secre tary, Ann Arnold, said the governor had no intention of opening the spe cial session to the no-pass, no-play revisions. The speaker’s proposal received quick support from the Texas High School Coaches Association. The group’s executive vice president, Ed die Joseph, said the six-week suspen sion discourages many students. “In football, if a youngster goes out at the six-week period, there’s no chance of him improving his grades and coming back,” Joseph said. “Three weeks, at least he could come back for the last game. There’s some incentive there.” Clements' secret plan 'on the button' If Heavy rains before the kill stirred up harmful sediments from the river bottom, said Max Woodfin, Texas Water Commission environmental coordinator. The sediments include industrial toxins and untreated sew age discharged into the river from municipal plants. Woodfin said it is possible the rainfall washed grease, oil, pesticides and other pollutants into the river. The combination of pollutants robbed the water of the oxygen nec essary to sustain wildlife. Oxygen levels sank to far below minimum amounts fish must breathe from the water. At one point, levels sank to less than one part for every million gallons of wa ter. A level of two parts is necessary to sustain life and five parts is con sidered normal. Oxygen levels were slowly return ing to normal, Palafox said. AUSTIN (AP) — Some Demo cratic lawmakers have a plan to help solve the state’s $3.5 billion deficit. They’re selling big yellow buttons that read: “Where’s The Secret Plan, Bill?” The buttons were introduced Tuesday at a news conference where Sen. Chet Edwards of Duncanville, Rep. Paul Colbert of Houston and others called on former Gov. Bill Clements, the Republican guberna torial candidate, to produce a so- called “secret plan” to solve the defi cit. Edwards said that Clements at one time said he had a “secret plan” that he would produce if Gov. Mark White called a special session. “That’s why we are here to invite Bill Clements to Austin,” Edwards said. “We would welcome his specific ideas on how to solve the state’s multi-billion dollar deficit. “Bill, if you have a secret plan, show us. If you have any plan, call us. But if you have no plan, Bill, tell us now.’ Clements fired back, “I don’t plan to buy a button.” He was asked about the buttons during a press conference Tuesday in Dallas to announce a hispanic campaign committee. After the conference Clements’ press aide, Reggie Bashur, said, “This is just a lot of political hogwash on the part of these people.” Clem ents said his plan is to have state agency heads list their department’s priorities, put a dollar figure on each, and then decide whether to eliminate, reduce or save those prio rities. “There is only one way to do this,” Clements said. “There’s no secret about it.” He said he could not specify cuts that should be made because he is a candidate, not an officeholder. Colbert said the group of senators and representatives would meet again on Friday before the House debates a bill calling for $620 million in cuts in the 1987 budget. He said Clements was invited. “We need advice,” he said. Sen. Carl Parker, D-Port Arthur, said he felt Clements was doing the state a “disservice” by saying he had a plan to solve the budget problem. “People like to be told there is an easy solution to a complicated prob lem,” Parker said. The legislators presented Trea surer Ann Richards with a $100 check, from the first sale of the yel low buttons they all wore. Controller gets probation for erasing tape MIDLAND (AP) — A former air traffic controller who admitted eras ing a tape recording that monitored his job performance was sentenced Tuesday to two years’ probation. Thomas Odin Eliason, who earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of kno wingly making a false statement to the Federal Aviation Administra tion, received the sentence as part of a plea bargain. U.S. District Judge Lucius Bunton dismissed a second count alleging that Eliason erased a portion of a controllers’ tape that reflected an operational error he made Jan. 20 at the Midland Regional Air Terminal. Eliason, 23, faced a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The controller failed to keep a three-mile separation between two aircraft as required by FAA regula tions, according to his attorney, J. Michael Cunningham. The two planes came within 2'A miles of each other, Cunningham said. One aircraft was gaining alti tude after taking off while the other was flying overhead. Eliason pleaded guilty to kno wingly making a false statement to an FAA review board investigating the tape erasure and later admitted erasing the tape in a sworn statement to an FAA investigator. Med board backlog of cases at 7 years AUSTIN (AP) — Texas physi cians accused of malpractice can continue to treat patients for up to seven years before anything is done, two members of the State Board of Medical Examiners told senators Tuesday. “We’ve got that big a backlog,” said Cindy Jenkins of Winnie, a public member of the board. Jenkins and seven other ap pointees to the board face Senate confirmation during the current special session. Jenkins and Dr. John C. Bag- well, a Dallas physician, answered questions Tuesday from the Sen ate Committee on Nominations. The other six appointees will testify later in the session. Committee Chairman Chet Ed wards, D-Duncanville, the lengthy backlog means that Tex ans could be exposed to bad doc tors. “In this backlog of cases, that I am aware of, are physicians ac cused of needlessly killing pa tients and still they are able to practice,” he said. “This is a very serious prob lem,” he said. “We want to look into it before we confirm any of these appoint ments. “We don’t allow people to pol lute streams for five years while investigating, why should we al low people to engage in malprac tice and threaten lives for five years?” Jenkins has been appointed by Gov. Mark White to a second term on the board. “I don’t think the agency is doing the job it should in disci plining the doctors of this state,” she said. Bagwell, who has served 11 months on the board, said, “I think we need more of a sense of urgency on the board, a feeling that we have problems we should do something about.” Jenkins said another problem was that the board’s investigators are all former law enforcement officers with little or no training in medicine. THE N) 4- % •flans Restaurant Lunch Special 21 Different Dishes Daily ’3.40 Dinner Special Including eggroll, soup, and fried rice. *4.50 Buffet Special All You Can Eat including 9 diff. entrees, eggrolls, plus free iced tea and dessert. *3.95 Every Sat. lunch (11 am-2 pm) and Sun. Dinner (5 pm-8 pm) (We also serve from the menu) Fresh Meat & Vegetables Prepared Everyday Open 7 days a week Lunch 11-2 Dinner 5-10 846-8345 Take Out Available Hong Kong Big State Pawn Shop Texas Ave. a A** 3805 S. Texas Ave., Bryan (Across from Half-Price Book Store) ,\2> -e> u 0 se6^ oO e S Loupot’s Means a Maximum Trade-In Deal Ole’ Army Lou is paying cash for used books, Aggies! Bring your summer school books back and get cash. Keep the cash, but reserve your fall semester books before September 1 and get a free Aggie t-shirt. Then just drop by Northgate when you get back in town and pick up your books without waiting in line or digging through class lists and piles of books. Loupot’s means more cash for used books. □ □ □ □ "We care about Aggies - just as we have for over 50 years. Thank you lor your business Northgate 335 University CONTACT LENSES ONLY QUALITY NAME BRANDS (Bausch & Lomb, Ciba, Barnes-Hinds-Hydrocurve) $79 00 $99 00 $99 00 pr. - STD.. DAILY WEAR SOFT LENSES rtr * STD. P r - " EXTENDED WEAR SOFT LENSES pr. STD. - TINTED SOFT LENSES CALL 696-3754 FOR APPOINTMENT * EYE EXAM AND CARE KIT NOT INCLUDED OPEN MONDAY THRU SATURDAY CHARLES C. SCHROEPPEL, O.D.,P.C. DOCTOR OF OPTOMETRY 707 SOUTH TEXAS AVE-SUITE 101D COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS 77840 1 block South of Texas & University Dr. m