An equine approach to the Space Shuttle!

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An equine approach to the Space Shuttle!

Post  rufuskins on Tue 02 Apr 2013, 10:38 am

Think convoluted:-

The standard railway gauge is 4 feet, 8.5 inches, which on the face of it seems an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railway tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did 'they' use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So, who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (including England) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since. What formed the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels.

Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

Therefore, the English standard railway gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. In other words, bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification, procedure, or process, and wonder, 'What horse's rear end came up with this?', you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.

Now, the twist to the story:

US railroads adopted the same gauge because English ex-patriates were involved in their early railroad design and construction.

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, you will notice that there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah.

The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit larger, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' rear ends.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was effectively determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's rear end.

You thought being a horse's rear end wasn't important? Well now you know, Horses' rear ends control almost everything!

Explains a whole lot of stuff, doesn't it?

Alec

(This is based on an email sent to me and subsequently amended by me.)


ALEC - Supporter of MSTS and TSSH!

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Re: An equine approach to the Space Shuttle!

Post  j3801 on Tue 02 Apr 2013, 11:58 am

To that I say lol! .
There are a lot of fun facts from the "modern world" that have been result of "ancient ideas".

Fun Fact:
The first car ever to use the "standard layout" that we are used to today was a 1916 Cadillac type 53, but it was the Austin 7 that was the first globally mass produced version in this layout. So when you drive your shiny new car, you can thank the Austin Motor Company for copying an old Cadillac idea for the way you drive today.

Justin


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