Space Transportation System (STS) Near-Field Exhaust Effluent Deposition Patterns,
AIR FORCE OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH LAB BROOKS AFB TX
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Considerable amounts of acidic deposition impact the near-field environment within one-half mile during STS launches at Kennedy Space Center KSC. Water from the rocket combustion process and sound suppression system mixes with the exhaust effluents during the liftoff. The mixture contains large quantities of hydrogen chloride HC1 as well as aluminum Al, Zinc Zn and Iron Fe. This highly acidic metal-laden solution is thrown out of the exhaust flame trenches and deposited on structures and native flora surrounding Pad 39A. The total amount of materials deposited on the pad and the potential acute and chronic environmental impacts are unknown. The USAF Occupational and Environmental Health Laboratory USAF OEHL and NASA Kennedy Environmental Office NASA KSC MD-ENV conducted near-field exhaust effluent mass studies during the launches of STS-6 on 4 April 1983 and STS-8 on 30 August 1983. NASA KSC participation focused on the environmental effects at KSC. In addition, knowledge of the amounts of material deposited in the near-field could be used as input data to improve downwind dispersion model predictions. Prediction of the environment and providing an occupational safe workplace were the driving forces in the Air Forces efforts to extrapolate KSC data to Vandenberg Air Force Base VAFB. This paper presents the results of the near-field deposition study from STS-6 and preliminary STS-8.