Comments about technological history, system fractures, and human resilience from James R. Chiles, the author of Inviting Disaster: Lessons from the Edge of Technology (HarperBusiness 2001; paperback 2002) and The God Machine: From Boomerangs to Black Hawks, the Story of the Helicopter (Random House, 2007, paperback 2008)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

D-Chall's Mast and Upper Section: Another photogram

Here's a second photogram, now focusing on the sub's upper parts.
Here's a link to a short video about the beacons in the mast. 
Beacons and backups are important for the pilot's peace of mind for at least two reasons: a delayed ascent, combined with a fast-developing tropical storm, could make D-Chall hard for Mermaid to find. That would be bad, because the pilot can't get out until Mermaid's crane has lifted it from the water.

Note that the green shell is not syntactic foam, despite many online diagrams to the contrary! I feel safe in guessing it's a fiber-reinforced plastic, or FRP. The hulls of racing yachts use carbon-reinforced fiberglass, sometimes laid up as a sandwich of two outer FRP layers with a foam filling. 

From what I can tell, the syntactic foam known as IsoFloat is visible on D-Chall's exterior at only a few locations, where it appears as blocks of white plastic. This looks like one of those locations:
Another angle showing the high-tech foam around the hatch can be seen in this screen grab from a video on the website:

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