Now This Is How You Retrieve Two Massive Solid Rocket Boosters from the Ocean!

Illustration for article titled Now emThis/em Is How You Retrieve Two Massive Solid Rocket Boosters from the Ocean!

I still can't believe this is the first up-close, 480p video of NASA retrieving the space shuttle's two solid rocket boosters (SRBs) from the Atlantic Ocean, and yet it is! The SRBs are, in a word, massive. And they float!

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Obviously, right? How else would NASA retrieve these two huge towers of propulsion from the ocean once the space shuttle no longer needs them to achieve orbit around the Earth?

Once the boosters are retrieved by the two teams (Liberty Star and Freedom Star) and a gaggle of divers, they are sent to Utah to be refurbished and stored.

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This particular pick-up followed the final launch of Discovery on February 24. Listen for the loud "plunk-plunk" when the second boat gets set to begin the retrieval process. [NASA]

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DISCUSSION

When airliners fall from the sky into the ocean, they're demolished. How do these things survive? Also, what kinds of toxins do they add to the water? Given the size of the oceans, it may be negligible. Still, it would be interesting to know.