Darkness Within (11): Wax Off

MET-187-5+13 et. seq.

That will go more easily if I can get in behind it and push it out, but that means exposing the forward maintenance compartment. Which will be a job in itself; a Nelyn’s a lot of spacecraft for its size, which has the unfortunate corollary that everything is packed together extremely tightly.

But there should be space once I clear room in the life support compartment.

So to start with, I’ve pulled the breakers on the auxiliary and emergency accumulators and the external power feed. That’s killed it: the Nelyn’s dead. That saves time because I can unhook the mechanical interlocker and open two of the airlock doors at once.


It’s going to be easier to make room in here if I pull the ACS engines first. They seal to the outer hull, but they penetrate it and they aren’t supported by it; they’re heavy-bolted to the quadrilateral spars.

So: for each one, I undog and pull the pressure-hull access cover to get into the void space, then cut the lead seals that cover the back of the engine off around the spar. Ignoring all the RADIATION HAZARD symbols – by the book, you’re supposed to flood the thermal core with borate solution before servicing to ensure safety when the control system is unattached, but air and time wait for no woman.

Isolate, uncouple, and stow the liquid hydrogen feed. Break and uncouple the standard blah-blah electrical power connectors. Uncouple the multifunction network connector, the structural ground, and so forth.

Then take your three-inch bolt key, brace yourself good and solid, and pull the nuts off the locking bolts. Don’t lose them, Isif, you’ll need them later. Since we’re neither in gravity nor under thrust, the engine will stay right where it is until you go outside, cut the seal, and pull it free.

Easy, right? With a trained maintenance crew, you could probably get it done in a couple of hours. With one amateur working alone in the dark… well, I’ll get it done in not much more than a couple of hours. That’s the power of incentives for you.


I should pull a LOX tank before I rip into the life support compartment. The machinery’s useless – can’t power it – and LOX alone won’t do much for me, but I have the beginnings of an idea…

 

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