andz
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Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sat Jan 28, 2006 5:10 pm

After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
 
Mir
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sat Jan 28, 2006 6:56 pm

Seven people killed, all because of the hubris of the higher-ups at NASA. May they rest in peace, and may that kind of thing never happen again.





-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
RichardPrice
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sat Jan 28, 2006 9:22 pm

Thought this was appropriate:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11031097/

Seven Myths about the Challenger tragedy.
 
David L
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sat Jan 28, 2006 9:45 pm

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 2):
Seven Myths about the Challenger tragedy

Thanks for that.

I was surprised to hear the BBC saying this morning that millions were watching in the UK. They couldn't have been or I'd have been watching. I distinctly remember expecting an episode of Bewitched to come on but they switched to a Newsflash instead... after the event.

For me, Challenger, Columbia, September 11th and the AF Concorde crash are right up there as the most devastating events I can remember for a long time (cue someone reminding me of several more obvious events) though I might be ever so slightly biassed..
 
RichardPrice
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sun Jan 29, 2006 2:45 am

Quoting David L (Reply 3):
For me, Challenger, Columbia, September 11th and the AF Concorde crash are right up there as the most devastating events I can remember for a long time (cue someone reminding me of several more obvious events) though I might be ever so slightly biassed..

For me it was -

1. Provisional IRA ceasefire (meant my dad could stop carrying around 9 or 10 passports)

2. 9/11 obviously - about the most devestating event ever broadcast live on TV I think, also seeing the skies empty of planes was chilling

3. The 2003 invasion of Iraq

4. The 2004 tsumani

5. Labour coming to power in the UK  Smile

among others.
 
Thorny
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sun Jan 29, 2006 3:10 am

Quoting David L (Reply 3):
For me, Challenger, Columbia, September 11th and the AF Concorde crash are right up there as the most devastating events I can remember for a long time (cue someone reminding me of several more obvious events) though I might be ever so slightly biassed..

I was standing outside the Patrick AFB Commissary watching when Challenger broke apart. I worked at the Commissary, about 25 miles south of Pad 39B, at the time. Launch had been delayed all morning but when we heard on the radio that the countdown was down past T-31 seconds, we all went out the back receiving dock in the cold (it was a very cold morning for Central Florida) to watch it go. We saw the usual white contrail rise above the building next door (the BX) and arc out over the ocean. Then the contrail made a strange puff and two separate contrails emerged, both moving more or less in the same direction as the original, single contrail. (From our perspective, we didn't see the "Y" shape that was endlessly replayed on TV, but something that looked more like a tuning fork.) Soon, hundreds of smaller contrails began to fall away as flaming debris fell into the ocean.

I was a space geek then as now, and ran back into the commissary to hear the radio, believing an RTLS (return to launch site) abort was in progress. But the radio had already cut back to normal programming. Within moments, the news cut back in with a special bulletin that something had gone badly wrong with the Challenger launch. It was about that time that the NASA PA feed announced "We have a report from the Flight Dynamics Officer that the vehicle has exploded."

The Patrick AFB Commissary is next door to the Base Hospital. Within minutes of the accident, we were told to clear the employee parking lot for rescue helicopters. Most of us moved our cars to the Golf Course across the street. In the Commissary, our Store Manaqer announced to the customers that Challenger had blown up and anyone parked in the employee parking area needed to move their cars immediately. It was a busy Tuesday morning in the Commissary, crowded with customers. Most of them hurried outside to see the horrible contrail for themselves. Many abandoned their shopping carts to hurry home and watch the news. By the time I got back in the Commissary, a friend of mine in the office was on the telephone with her husband who worked at Kennedy Space Center. She was in tears, and reported that there was no hope... the astronauts were gone.
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:17 am

Quoting Thorny (Reply 5):
The Patrick AFB Commissary is next door to the Base Hospital.

Best damn commissary I've ever been to (folks live down there..like most retire people, Patrick AFB is their lifeline). I was on North Merritt Island at the time, so you probably know how closeby we were. That was the first launch I ever watched as a kid, what a way for it to turn out  Sad

DeltaGuy

[Edited 2006-01-28 20:18:12]
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
David L
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sun Jan 29, 2006 5:22 am

Quoting Thorny (Reply 5):
I was standing outside the Patrick AFB Commissary watching when Challenger broke apart.

Wow. That's a lot more personal than watching it on TV. While maybe 5% of me wishes I'd been there, the other 95% is grateful I was tucked up at home.

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 4):
4. The 2004 tsumani

Yes, that's true. The tsunami was devastating but it didn't have the same "consequences for the future" element - from my point of view, I mean.

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 4):
5. Labour coming to power in the UK

If I were prepared to get into politics on here I'd agree... but I'm not prepared  Smile. But not quite as devastating to me since it had been on the cards for a while!
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:22 am

I remember the Challenger and those seven heroes who died on that terrible day. It was a horrible tragedy.

We must always remember the sacrifice made by those seven brave astronauts.
What's fair is fair.
 
tranceport
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sun Jan 29, 2006 10:17 am

I was in Grade 6 and remember my teacher coming into the classroom with an ashen face and saying in a small, sad voice, "Children, the Challenger just exploded." My little mind couldn't really comprehend all that was happening, but I remember that scary, cold feeling.

He had always been so excited about astronomy and had gotten us so enthused about Christa McAuliffe going into space.
 
texan
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:18 am

I was just a young 'un at the time but remember watching it on tv and crying.

I attended elementary school with one of Captain Dick Scobee's nephews, Nick. In addition, mission specialist Judith Resnick's niece attended the same elementary school. We were all in the same class, in a school where the 8th grade graduating class had a whopping 48 students. Heard some stories from their parents when I was little, but unfortunately cannot remember them.

Texan
"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
 
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fxramper
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sun Jan 29, 2006 1:29 pm

Food for thought guys...

My grandfather worked for Thycol prior to the Challenger disaster of 1986.

He had a chance to go to Jacksonville FL with his company to run quality control of the unit for Thycol.

Originally Thycol had bid a contract to take over even more space of the unit in Georgia, that would design a single piece sold rocket booster. NASA refused to have a solid piece booster shipped from Utah for their shuttle's so they went with a three piece booster (sealed with O-rings  Sad) so shipping wouldn't be so costly.

My grandfather didn't take the job down there, and Thycol continued to make just the three piece booster section instead of a solid piece.

Crazy...

In theory you could say NASA shot themself in the foot...although there is no way to tell that the O-ring would become defective after several missions.
 
j_hallgren
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:50 pm

I was in TPA watching it at work with co-workers...once we saw the contrail go it different directions, we knew it was over...so we went outside and were able to see the various paths still in distance...some started crying...we spent a good part of day watching TV instead of working...unforgettable day!
COBOL - Not a dead language yet!
 
VirginFlyer
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sun Jan 29, 2006 5:49 pm

I wasn't old enough to remember this accident, but as someone who grew up with an interest in space travel, it was always something I was aware of. I had a video on spaceflight as a child which showed the events, from the crew walking out to the explosion and the 'obviously a major malfunction' line, with electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre's Last Rendez-Vous providing a haunting soundtrack. It was not until recent years that I realised the true significance of this piece of music - Ron McNair was to record the saxophone part from on board Challenger while in orbit. The piece has been subtitled 'Ron's Piece' in his honour.

Whenever we do something great, there will always be a risk of disaster. It has been so since the beginning of time. We must always learn the lessons from these tragedies, so we do not repeat them. However, we must never let these setbacks dampen our enthusiasm and drive to continue the advancement human knowledge and exploration.

The 7 crew of Challenger, and all the others who have given their lives in the advancement of manned spaceflight, will always be remembered for their ultimate sacrifice.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.


V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
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TK787
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Sun Jan 29, 2006 10:58 pm

It was my first week in Anchorage, AK starting a new college when it happened. I remember it was a very sad day, and we kept watching the news in the dorms quietly, and crazy but I remember everyone was smoking cigarettes, which you won't see today. Seems like a long time ago, but yet so close.
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Mon Jan 30, 2006 12:47 am

Quoting FXramper (Reply 11):
although there is no way to tell that the O-ring would become defective after several missions.

Unfortunately they didn't listen when people were telling them that the unusual cold weather at the Cape would freeze/crack those o-rings. Sometimes mistakes are payed for in human blood, innocent ones in fact. Interesting story FXramper!

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
Thorny
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:47 am

Quoting FXramper (Reply 11):
Originally Thycol had bid a contract to take over even more space of the unit in Georgia, that would design a single piece sold rocket booster. NASA refused to have a solid piece booster shipped from Utah for their shuttle's so they went with a three piece booster (sealed with O-rings Sad) so shipping wouldn't be so costly.

This is a very garbled account of the Solid Rocket Booster development program.

Thiokol never proposed a single-piece Solid Rocket Booster for the Shuttle program. That was Aerojet.

NASA did consider single-piece SRBs, giving Aerojet a modest development contract. Aerojet developed a 260-inch SRB near Homestead AFB, Florida (near Miami, not Jacksonville 300 miles north).

In the end, the single-piece SRB was deemed too great a technical challenge, mostly in the pouring of fuel in such large batches at one time without creating flaws (air bubbles and the like.) The giant single-piece boosters would also have needed major overhauls to the Vehicle Assembly Building cranes to handle the weight. There were also thrust balance issues for the two SRBs (the current SRBs are made up of stacks of segments as closely matched as possible.)

More importantly, segmented boosters were not at the time considered dangerous. Large segmented boosters had been flying since 1965 on the Titan III-C program and its successors and had not caused serious trouble. So NASA's decision to go with segmented boosters for the Space Shuttle was not a radical, stunning change for the US space launch industry. Given that, the most obvious choice to build the Shuttle SRB was Lockheed, builder of the Titan solids. But here, the Air Force intervened and did not want NASA to interfere with the Titan program it considered key to national security. So the SRB contract went to the other company proposing segmented boosters: Morton Thiokol.
 
grandtheftaero
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:31 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 1):
Seven people killed, all because of the hubris of the higher-ups at NASA



Quoting DeltaGuy (Reply 15):
Unfortunately they didn't listen when people were telling them that the unusual cold weather at the Cape would freeze/crack those o-rings

I always get a little upset when I see stuff like this... Let it be known that the group of engineers tasked with proving that it was unsafe to launch in cold temperatures did a poor job with their analysis. They created a regression analysis comparing number of O-ring failures with ambient temperature for shuttle launches were O-ring erosion was present. There was no correlation. See figure below.



During the post-accident investigation this same analysis was done but this time it included data for O-rings without erosion. What a difference a few more data points could have made! See figure below.



In this particular situation, it was the individual contributors who dropped the ball, not NASA big shots. If all you know about Challenger 51-L is what you've heard on TV you should do some reading of your own. There is so much more to it than the mindless scapegoating that goes around.

--Shane
 
deltagator
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RE: Challenger Disaster 20 Years Ago Today

Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:04 pm

Quoting Andz (Thread starter):
It seems like last week...

More like yesterday for me. I was in the 7th grade in Titusville right across the river from the Space Center. I remember thinking I was freezing to death being outside to watch the launch like they always let us do. I remember immediately knowing something was wrong when the accident occurred and sitting in the lunchroom the rest of the day watching the TV news. My dad worked for USBI (they made the nose cone and aft skirts for the SRBs and assembled and recovered them) and I had never seen him so upset as that day.

A couple of days later I was selected to be on of seven students to plant a tree in the school courtyard in memory of each astronaut (mine was Dick Scobee.) I looked on Google Maps the other day and was amazed how big the trees had gotten over the 20 years.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 5):
I was standing outside the Patrick AFB Commissary watching when Challenger broke apart.

I can't even begin to count the times I've been in there with my grandparents and played that flat little golf course.
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."

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