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Subdeacon Joe

Challenger - 34 Years Ago

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I was at work listening to the launch on the radio.  Had a big lead ball in my stomach the rest of the day.  To this day any launch I see I hear the radio and see the images from the evening news.  

https://www.businessinsider.com/nasa-challenger-space-shuttle-explosion-anniversary-2020-1

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I saw it live on TV, what a shocker!:o

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My former manager was at Cape Canaveral to receive an award that day.  Part of the award was to watch the launch.  She was there in the gallery when the explosion happened.  She said they immediately closed the blast shields and ushered everyone into a conference room.  While waiting for news from the control room, she said you could hear a pin drop.  Some were weeping.  Most were just sitting there stunned at what they just witnessed.  She told me she could never watch a launch again after that.

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Driving to a site meeting when the news came over the radio.

I had to pull over and stop while I said a prayer.

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Watched it from the Flight Line at Mayport, Florida 

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The sadness changed to anger when we learned that NASA had been ignoring warnings about the O rings.

 

Dr. Richard Feynman has always been one of my heroes.

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Watched it from the roof of a tall building in Tampa, Florida. There was three of us up there watching. We were about 140 miles away so were couldn't hear anything from the launch but the sky was crystal clear and the view was perfect. When the initial explosion happened, one of the the guys (who had never witnessed a launch) said "that's really fn cool". I replied that it wasn't cool and that it just blew up. We watched the forward momentum of the debris and the lazy circling of the booster rockets until it was over. We went down to the work area where the radio confirmed what we had just witnessed. The rest of the day was worked in a stunned silence as we had just watched seven people die in what would become a needless and preventable accident. 

 

To this day, I'm still pissed at NASA for the loss of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia. If you do a little reading up on all three "accidents", you'll find that all three were preventable.

 

Space travel and exploration has never been and will never be without a high degree of risk. It is the job of NASA and now Space X, to do their ultimate best to lower those risks for the sake of the astronauts and space program. I sincerely hope that they take this to task with due diligence.

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1 hour ago, Cypress Sun said:

Watched it from the roof of a tall building in Tampa, Florida. There was three of us up there watching. We were about 140 miles away so were couldn't hear anything from the launch but the sky was crystal clear and the view was perfect. When the initial explosion happened, one of the the guys (who had never witnessed a launch) said "that's really fn cool". I replied that it wasn't cool and that it just blew up. We watched the forward momentum of the debris and the lazy circling of the booster rockets until it was over. We went down to the work area where the radio confirmed what we had just witnessed. The rest of the day was worked in a stunned silence as we had just watched seven people die in what would become a needless and preventable accident. 

 

To this day, I'm still pissed at NASA for the loss of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia. If you do a little reading up on all three "accidents", you'll find that all three were preventable.

 

Space travel and exploration has never been and will never be without a high degree of risk. It is the job of NASA and now Space X, to do their ultimate best to lower those risks for the sake of the astronauts and space program. I sincerely hope that they take this to task with due diligence.

You have it exactly right. Worked on all the shuttles and they were awesome machines. I spent 40 years working in the aerospace industry as a production engineer and still have a bad attitude towards NASA. Everything in their top management was about making NASA look great. Their treatment of the contractors who designed, built and operated the hardware they were contracted to produce was all about making NASA look good. I don't think it is any better today. Sad deal for sure.

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Had been interrogating a fellow and took a break. Went into the roll call room where the TV was and watched the launch. Stunned

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Forgot the main question....I was at Edwards AFB wor4king on a classified project. We were all stunned. Being so close to the program, I knew something had gone wrong with the SRB's. I also knew that there was no hope of recovering any of the crew alive.

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4 hours ago, Cypress Sun said:

To this day, I'm still pissed at NASA for the loss of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia. If you do a little reading up on all three "accidents", you'll find that all three were preventable.

 

Unfortunately there were inherent safety issues with the Shuttle's design that couldn't be resolved. Most people aren't aware of how many close calls there actually were during the other shuttle missions.

 

I was still in high school, and remember the principal telling the entire school what happened over the intercom. From that moment it was all anyone was talking about in each class.

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I was in third grade, and had been infatuated with space flight ever since I could walk.  I had built models of the space shuttle and watched every launch and landing I could get my eyes on in the days before YouTube.  In those days, teachers had TVs on carts with wheels.  We were let out for recess and had to walk past the library to get outside.  One of the TV carts was there in the library showing the launch.  I stopped to watch, and blam!  The rest is history.

 

One of my first memories of a U.S. President came later that night when Reagan addressed the nation.  This is probably the most impactful speech he ever gave:  

 

 

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I was still in grade school. For some reason, maybe it was going to a very small school in the country, or the teachers new how much I loved space travel and it was science, or maybe both, my teacher always let me come to school late on days of shuttle launches. So there I was at home all ready to head out to school late, coat and backpack on, watching tv on our crappy barely working first color television and saw the whole thing happen live. I was shocked to say the least. P{re internet days obviously, so there was lots of speculation as to whether the crew may have survived because somebody somewhere had said something about maybe seeing an object that partially looked like a cockpit falling away from the explosion.

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I was in our office's break room watching the launch while waiting for some Fed bond news. At first, I could not believe it. Years earlier, I was in Siberia monitoring sputnik which was successfully launched. despite the general feeling that it would be a failure. There was no way I could contemplate years later watching our US disaster. It was a moment that is still in my thoughts.

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1 hour ago, El Hombre Sin Nombre said:

I was still in grade school. For some reason, maybe it was going to a very small school in the country, or the teachers new how much I loved space travel and it was science, or maybe both, my teacher always let me come to school late on days of shuttle launches. So there I was at home all ready to head out to school late, coat and backpack on, watching tv on our crappy barely working first color television and saw the whole thing happen live. I was shocked to say the least. P{re internet days obviously, so there was lots of speculation as to whether the crew may have survived because somebody somewhere had said something about maybe seeing an object that partially looked like a cockpit falling away from the explosion.

 

Actually, there is solid evidence that part or all of the crew survived the explosion, breakup and 2.5 minute fall to ocean. They did not survive the impact with the ocean at over 200 mph.

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We can only hope that they were unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. If course we don't know about the last moments of the Columbia crew either. The fact that we were able to see video of them goofing off and laughing just moments before it happened doesn't make it any easier to imagine.

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34 minutes ago, Sixgun Sheridan said:

We can only hope that they were unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. If course we don't know about the last moments of the Columbia crew either. The fact that we were able to see video of them goofing off and laughing just moments before it happened doesn't make it any easier to imagine.

 

Pard, I've actually gotten a debrief on the Columbia disaster from the guy who headed up the investigation (I work in military space ops now, and he was a guest speaker).  Unfortunately, your hopes are not true.  They were cooked to death in one of the most painful ways I could ever imagine.  It was horrific just to sit in the debrief.

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I was working from home that day and also saw it live. One of my strongest memories though has to do with the media.

 

Tom Brokaw was gushing endlessly about the loss of Christa McAuliffe.  After several or more minutes of this one of NBCs NASA off-camera correspondents at the Cape interrupted Brokaw and said, "I'm sorry to interrupt Tom, but we have to remember there were 6 other people aboard as well. I got to know them. They were friends of mine."

 

There was a pregnant pause followed by a weak acknowledgement from Brokaw. I don't recall hearing from that correspondent again in the coverage. 

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1 hour ago, Sixgun Sheridan said:

We can only hope that they were unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. If course we don't know about the last moments of the Columbia crew either. The fact that we were able to see video of them goofing off and laughing just moments before it happened doesn't make it any easier to imagine.

 

Unfortunately, emergency oxygen supplies don't turn themselves on.......some of them were alive during the fall to the ocean.

 

As Cyrus stated, the Columbia crew was killed in a most cruel manner also.

 

No one ever said that being an astronaut was safe....far from it.....but you would not expect you're employer to take extreme risks with man and machine just to keep their schedule and to save face.

 

So what if Challenger had to wait until the weather warmed up the next day.

 

So what if Columbia had to wait an extra day in space to determine the damage, at which time they could have made a repair to the wing. Now, to be fair, the repair to the wing would have been a patch at best. It would have given them a slightly better chance during re-entry. There was no chance that they could have remained in orbit awaiting rescue or attained another orbit to dock with ISS. They would have ran out of oxygen first.

 

Some may think that I'm being hard on NASA, you're right....I am. I just want them to get it right this time around to keep our space program progressing. If they can't get it right and another disaster occurs, the American public will likely not support any further space exploration. That will leave the Russians and Chinese all to themselves to further advance man's venture into space. I sure as hell don't want that.

 

Rant over.

 

 

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That's why I think we're rushing things in our zeal to get humans to Mars. We shouldn't even be thinking about Mars until we've developed the technology and ability to go into space and get to the moon and back like it's routine. Right now it isn't.

.

Edited by Sixgun Sheridan
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51 minutes ago, Cypress Sun said:

So what if Columbia had to wait an extra day in space to determine the damage, at which time they could have made a repair to the wing. Now, to be fair, the repair to the wing would have been a patch at best. It would have given them a slightly better chance during re-entry. There was no chance that they could have remained in orbit awaiting rescue or attained another orbit to dock with ISS. They would have ran out of oxygen first.

There was zero opportunity for a fix. They had no materials, no equipment and no training to make such a repair.

 

The damage that occurred had not even been contemplated. It took a lot of convincing for NASA to even donate a spare shuttle wing for the test. At first, the guy who postulated the cause of damage was basically considered a crackpot for suggesting such a thing. 

 

Sally Ride who participated in the investigation said part of the problem was complacency at NASA. She said in the early days of the Shuttle program, strikes from ice at launch were considered unacceptable. But the strikes continued thru the years without catastrophic consequences, so NASA decided they were an acceptable risk.

 

Edited by Abilene Slim SASS 81783
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NASA arrogance and stupidity caused Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia. Before the fire, Gus was critical of the work and quality control of the 204 capsule. 

 

 I was home from work the day Challenger blew up, listening to the launch on the radio, then called my section to inform them.  A couple of days later we were called into the section to go over all our documentation on the SRB Decelerator Subsystem (parachute recovery system for the boosters. Our responsibility for the system ended at the forward deck fittings on the SRB's. In fact, the frustum of the left hand SRB, which was separated from the booster and came down under the drogue chute was the only thing on that flight that worked as it was supposed to.  They could have reused it, but chose to bury it in the Minuteman launch tube with the rest of the wreckage! We normally didn't look at the previous post-flight reports below the forward deck fittings, as it wasn't part of our contract.  After Challenger. I did.  There had been leaks past the first O-ring for 120 degrees around the circumference of one joint on flights in the previous April and August!!! But they were in a direction that, had they leaked out wouldn't have done any damage.   At least Judy Resnick was alive before water impact, as she had reached forward to turn on the oxygen for the astronaut forward of her. :(  The whole cockpit section broke off.  Had it had an escape system at least some of them might have survived.

The NASA manager told the Morton-Thiokol booster program manager to "Stop thinking like an engineer and start thinking like a manager!" when the former objected to launching under the cold conditions!  :angry: 

 

In all three incidents, people should have been sent to prison! 

 

In any event RIP :FlagAm:

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

There was zero opportunity for a fix. They had no materials, no equipment and no training to make such a repair.

 

The damage that occurred had not even been contemplated. It took a lot of convincing for NASA to even donate a spare shuttle wing for the test. At first, the guy who postulated the cause of damage was basically considered a crackpot for suggesting such a thing. 

 

Sally Ride who participated in the investigation said part of the problem was complacency at NASA. She said in the early days of the Shuttle program, strikes from ice at launch were considered unacceptable. But the strikes continued thru the years without catastrophic consequences, so NASA decided they were an acceptable risk.

 

While, I don't get most of my information from Wiki, this was on Wiki. I believe that in the face of certain death that anything that could have been attempted would be better than nothing. 

 

 

NASA investigators determined that on-orbit repair by the shuttle astronauts was possible but overall considered "high risk", primarily due to the uncertain resiliency of the repair using available materials and the anticipated high risk of doing additional damage to the Orbiter.[68][69] Columbia did not carry the Canadarm, or Remote Manipulator System, which would normally be used for camera inspection or transporting a spacewalking astronaut to the wing. Therefore, an unusual emergency extra-vehicular activity (EVA) would have been required. While there was no astronaut EVA training for maneuvering to the wing, astronauts are always prepared for a similarly difficult emergency EVA to close the external tank umbilical doors located on the orbiter underside, which is necessary for reentry in the event of failure. Similar methods could have reached the shuttle left wing for inspection or repair.[69]

For the repair, the CAIB determined that the astronauts would have to use tools and small pieces of titanium, or other metal, scavenged from the crew cabin. These metals would help protect the wing structure and would be held in place during re-entry by a water-filled bag that had turned into ice in the cold of space. The ice and metal would help restore wing leading edge geometry, preventing a turbulent airflow over the wing and therefore keeping heating and burn-through levels low enough for the crew to survive re-entry and bail out before landing. The CAIB could not determine whether a patched-up left wing would have survived even a modified re-entry, and concluded that the rescue option would have had a considerably higher chance of bringing Columbia's crew back alive.[68][69]

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The problem was no one was aware of the damage until after it burned up. The cause and possible solutions were a result of lengthy investigation after the fact. 

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16 hours ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

The problem was no one was aware of the damage until after it burned up. The cause and possible solutions were a result of lengthy investigation after the fact. 

 

I remember the news media noted that something appeared to have struck the wing during liftoff. NASA dismissed it as inconsequential and nothing more was said of it until after the accident.

 

I seriously doubt they would've been able to fix the damage well enough to save the shuttle on re-entry, and there wasn't enough time to prepare a second shuttle to send up and recover the crew. Had the crew taken the time to investigate the impact and discovered the hole they still would probably have been screwed no matter what.

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23 hours ago, Cypress Sun said:

 

Some may think that I'm being hard on NASA, you're right....I am. I just want them to get it right this time around to keep our space program progressing. If they can't get it right and another disaster occurs, the American public will likely not support any further space exploration. That will leave the Russians and Chinese all to themselves to further advance man's venture into space. I sure as hell don't want that.

 

Rant over.

 

 

I was watching an interview with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and he made a comment that the money spent on the financial bailout in 2008 was more than NASA had received in it's entire existence. Sometimes it's about priorities. In this political climate, it's surprising NASA even exists at all

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On 1/29/2020 at 12:22 PM, Sixgun Sheridan said:

We can only hope that they were unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. If course we don't know about the last moments of the Columbia crew either. The fact that we were able to see video of them goofing off and laughing just moments before it happened doesn't make it any easier to imagine.


I have a friend who was a ground controller on those missions.
It is my understanding they were alive and awake all the way down.

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On 1/29/2020 at 12:58 PM, Cyrus Cassidy #45437 said:

 

Pard, I've actually gotten a debrief on the Columbia disaster from the guy who headed up the investigation (I work in military space ops now, and he was a guest speaker).  Unfortunately, your hopes are not true.  They were cooked to death in one of the most painful ways I could ever imagine.  It was horrific just to sit in the debrief.


I understand it was a near-instantaneous flash point.

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