Jerry Shelby - NASA Engineer & Inventor:
What Does Jerry Shelby's Rocket Booster Do?:
Jerry Shelby Describes His Invention:
A rocket engine protection system for a recoverable rocket booster which is arranged to land in a salt water body in substantially a nose down attitude. The system includes an inflatable bag which is stowed on a portion of a flat annular rim of the aft skirt of the booster.
The bag is hinged at opposing sides and is provided with springs that urge the bag open. The bag is latched in a stowed position during launch and prior to landing for recovery is unlatched to permit the bag to be urged open and into sealing engagement with the rim.
A source of pressurized gas further inflates the bag and urges it into sealing engagement with the rim of the skirt where it is locked into position. The gas provides a positive pressure upon the interior of the bag to preclude entry of salt water into the skirt and into contact with the engine.
A flotation arrangement may assist in precluding the skirt of the booster from becoming submerged.