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

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    {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
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! pasi |
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-
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
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.”
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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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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'
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,
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
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
“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
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
“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
“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
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.
4- %
Lunch Special
21 Different Dishes Daily
Dinner Special
Including eggroll, soup, and fried
Buffet Special
All You Can Eat
including 9 diff. entrees, eggrolls,
plus free iced tea and dessert.
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
Take Out Available
Texas Ave.
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.
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