Floored Again


I wrote a post a while back about how Skylab’s distinctive triangle-grid floor pattern continues to resurface in spacecraft design as NASA works on new vehicles and concepts.

treadmill on triangular Skylab floor

Scientist-astronaut Bill Thornton demonstrates a treadmill designed for the Skylab 4 crew in a mock-up of the space station. Skylab's distinctive triangular grid floor can be seen. Photo Credit: NASA

Today, I was looking at pictures from the recovery of the SpaceX Dragon capsule that orbited Earth yesterday, and saw this:

dragon floor

Mystery "Secret Payload" aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, with spacecraft floor visible. Photo from collectSPACE.com.

I have no idea how Dragon ended up with a triangular floor pattern, or what purpose it serves on the spacecraft. From the picture, it looks like it’s modified from the Skylab version, with a hard surface below the grid instead of just being open. But nonetheless, there it is — a little bit of Skylab was in orbit again yesterday. This makes me happy.

For the source of the picture, and to find out what was in the secret payload, visit collectSPACE.com. And, of course, to learn more about the awesomeness of Skylab, read Homesteading Space,co-authored with astronauts Owen Garriott and Joe Kerwin.

2 Responses

  1. A superficial look at this website http://www.rogersconnection.com/triangles/index.html
    seems to point more towards *Hexagons* as the reason for the flooring design.
    This would be cool to explore with the kiddos you’ve been hanging with.

  2. Yeah, the structural benefits of the triangle were why they originally went with that pattern for the grid in the first place, so certainly that’s a factor in the shape.

    It may be all there is to the Dragon floor as well, but you get into questions of weighing how much mass you’re adding on top of a flat floor versus what sort of structural loads you’re able to offload into the floor of a vehicle, that make me wonder if that’s all there is or if there were other reasons as well. (I think that makes sense. Maybe.)

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