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Aaron747
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Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sat Jan 29, 2022 6:05 am

In honor of the anniversary, I watched the excellent Netflix documentary on Challenger.

For any kid/adult who lived through this, it was such an impactful blow. 51-L brought the hubris of the US space program to a screeching halt and brought human factors front and center, as it does whenever it rears its ugly head.

It’s odd how this story always gets me down, but President Reagan’s sorrowful address is somehow so inspiring as well.

In the doc, there is footage of Columbia’s first arrival at Edwards AFB, with tens of thousands gathered in the desert to greet her. I had to wonder if Americans will have anything similar to rally around again?
 
A101
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sat Jan 29, 2022 7:03 am

Aaron747 wrote:
In honor of the anniversary, I watched the excellent Netflix documentary on Challenger.

For any kid/adult who lived through this, it was such an impactful blow. 51-L brought the hubris of the US space program to a screeching halt and brought human factors front and center, as it does whenever it rears its ugly head.

It’s odd how this story always gets me down, but President Reagan’s sorrowful address is somehow so inspiring as well.

In the doc, there is footage of Columbia’s first arrival at Edwards AFB, with tens of thousands gathered in the desert to greet her. I had to wonder if Americans will have anything similar to rally around again?



Yes I remember seeing a documentary on it many years ago, it certainly was an event when the shuttles first came around, I remember watching Moonraker and think that looks really cool only to find out they were actually building it
 
Virtual737
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sat Jan 29, 2022 7:23 am

...and very annoying that many conspiracy nuts want to promote it being a hoax that killed nobody. They would have to, of course, because they think space doesn't exist.
 
ltbewr
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sat Jan 29, 2022 8:28 am

Like with a number of major plane crashes, a series of avoidable factors were involved with this disaster. The rare and severe cold weather near of below freezing in the hours before takeoff reduced the flexibility of the o-rings between the booster rocket. They were stiff, even brittle in such cold conditions so subject to failure during the time they would have to do their job and they did fail.

One of the biggest problems was political pressure in particular to satisfy then President Reagan to do the launch at the specified time and date. This flight contained the first schoolteacher on board, the launch was to take place in the early hours of school day in most of the country, with most schools setting up TV's in classrooms or in auditoriums to allow students to watch it. Sadly the technicians for the rocket maker couldn't force a delay to later in the day or to another day of the launch, they were overridden by NASA officials due to the need to placate Pres. Reagan and help keep getting properly funded. Of course like too many recent politicians as to handling of Covid-19, the failure to follow science and instead politics led to this disaster. Had their been a delay of a few more hours or the next day, this disaster wouldn't have happened, the shuttle program would have been more successful in the short and long term, billions would have been saved and most of all, 7 human lives would have continued. I think this disaster also had an additional factor. This was by then had the most diverse group of persons ever in space. You had women and men, a Black person and an Asian person, a teacher and scientists, really a cross-section of America many could relate too. The touching speech by Pres. Reagan that evening was likely one of the best he ever delivered and added to the history of it.
 
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Aaron747
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sat Jan 29, 2022 8:57 am

ltbewr wrote:
Like with a number of major plane crashes, a series of avoidable factors were involved with this disaster. The rare and severe cold weather near of below freezing in the hours before takeoff reduced the flexibility of the o-rings between the booster rocket. They were stiff, even brittle in such cold conditions so subject to failure during the time they would have to do their job and they did fail.

One of the biggest problems was political pressure in particular to satisfy then President Reagan to do the launch at the specified time and date. This flight contained the first schoolteacher on board, the launch was to take place in the early hours of school day in most of the country, with most schools setting up TV's in classrooms or in auditoriums to allow students to watch it. Sadly the technicians for the rocket maker couldn't force a delay to later in the day or to another day of the launch, they were overridden by NASA officials due to the need to placate Pres. Reagan and help keep getting properly funded. Of course like too many recent politicians as to handling of Covid-19, the failure to follow science and instead politics led to this disaster. Had their been a delay of a few more hours or the next day, this disaster wouldn't have happened, the shuttle program would have been more successful in the short and long term, billions would have been saved and most of all, 7 human lives would have continued. I think this disaster also had an additional factor. This was by then had the most diverse group of persons ever in space. You had women and men, a Black person and an Asian person, a teacher and scientists, really a cross-section of America many could relate too. The touching speech by Pres. Reagan that evening was likely one of the best he ever delivered and added to the history of it.


Changing the time would have changed the temperature conditions, yes, but the problem was program managers at both NASA and Thiokol were aware the blow-by issue was a critical safety matter but flights were continuing regardless because Thiokol’s contract required them to continue delivering SRB units to meet flight schedule. In the documentary a Thiokol manager said they felt the o-ring fix would take a minimum of 1-2 years, but NASA wouldn’t accept a stop of that length.
 
ACDC8
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:27 am

I remember skipping school that day to watch the launch. Still feels like yesterday.
 
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Aaron747
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:34 am

Dear lordy, at the end of the doc, Dr. Bill Lucas from NASA, now 80-something, said he still believes the decision to launch was correct and would do it again with the information he had at the time. Talk about a lack of reflection...
 
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casinterest
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sat Jan 29, 2022 3:51 pm

36 years. Wow. I can remember sitting in class the day it occurred. One of the teachers who had been a candidate of the last 100 or so teachers was in shock.

It was a tough year for crashes and loss of life. JAL 123 and DL 191 had happened just 5 months earlier.
 
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cjg225
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sat Jan 29, 2022 4:35 pm

In my Business Ethics class in the first year of my MBA program, my professor ran a simulation with the class about race cars. Some time into the discussion, it started to nag at me that something seemed really familiar about the scenario. Toward the end of the simulation it dawned on me that it was a veiled retelling of the decision to launch the Challenger.

Pretty interesting to go through the different perspectives and see how people rationalize one option vs. another. 11 years later I can't remember whether I picked to "race" or not. But, I do remember it got people pretty taken aback when the professor revealed what the simulation was actually about.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sat Jan 29, 2022 10:24 pm

cjg225 wrote:
In my Business Ethics class in the first year of my MBA program, my professor ran a simulation with the class about race cars. Some time into the discussion, it started to nag at me that something seemed really familiar about the scenario. Toward the end of the simulation it dawned on me that it was a veiled retelling of the decision to launch the Challenger.

Pretty interesting to go through the different perspectives and see how people rationalize one option vs. another. 11 years later I can't remember whether I picked to "race" or not. But, I do remember it got people pretty taken aback when the professor revealed what the simulation was actually about.

I had the same exercise in a stats class in high school. I remember it came down to a 50/50 chance and my group made the decision to go. Then we were told it was the Challenger.
 
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Aaron747
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sat Jan 29, 2022 10:28 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
cjg225 wrote:
In my Business Ethics class in the first year of my MBA program, my professor ran a simulation with the class about race cars. Some time into the discussion, it started to nag at me that something seemed really familiar about the scenario. Toward the end of the simulation it dawned on me that it was a veiled retelling of the decision to launch the Challenger.

Pretty interesting to go through the different perspectives and see how people rationalize one option vs. another. 11 years later I can't remember whether I picked to "race" or not. But, I do remember it got people pretty taken aback when the professor revealed what the simulation was actually about.

I had the same exercise in a stats class in high school. I remember it came down to a 50/50 chance and my group made the decision to go. Then we were told it was the Challenger.


The difference is Lucas knew Thiokol engineering teams believed temperature was an issue on the previous SRB o-ring erosion events, but chose to treat it as a normal anomaly in violation of rules NASA had in place, simply because those events had not caused catastrophe. That sounds asinine to any risk manager.
 
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EA CO AS
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sat Jan 29, 2022 10:38 pm

casinterest wrote:
Wow. I can remember sitting in class the day it occurred. One of the teachers who had been a candidate of the last 100 or so teachers was in shock.


Same. I was in 8th grade and one of my teachers, Janet Ryan, was one of the final candidates for the Teacher in Space program and was absolutely horrified. I'll never forget how hard that hit all of us, but especially her.
 
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casinterest
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sun Jan 30, 2022 5:21 am

EA CO AS wrote:
casinterest wrote:
Wow. I can remember sitting in class the day it occurred. One of the teachers who had been a candidate of the last 100 or so teachers was in shock.


Same. I was in 8th grade and one of my teachers, Janet Ryan, was one of the final candidates for the Teacher in Space program and was absolutely horrified. I'll never forget how hard that hit all of us, but especially her.


I look back and was so proud of our school teacher. She still kept the Young Astronauts goings, and took us to Kennedy in 1988.
 
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seb146
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sun Jan 30, 2022 5:33 am

We went to the space museum in Los Angeles a few years ago. Endeavour is on display. THE Endeavour that went into space! I was fangirling!! When I was a child, I remember watching the news about testing for Space Shuttles over Edwards AFB! And there we were, RIGHT FREAKIN NEXT TO ONE!!!

The room has every mission and every crew picture from every mission. Every one. Including Challenger and Columbia. Tributes for those ones from everyone. Someone somewhere said "get over it" to me when I was talking about being in 8th grade science hearing about Challenger. I never wanted to start something so bad.

Challenger and her crew meant something. And it hurt when we lost them. Still does.
 
A101
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sun Jan 30, 2022 8:14 am

seb146 wrote:
We went to the space museum in Los Angeles a few years ago. Endeavour is on display. THE Endeavour that went into space! I was fangirling!! When I was a child, I remember watching the news about testing for Space Shuttles over Edwards AFB! And there we were, RIGHT FREAKIN NEXT TO ONE!!!

The room has every mission and every crew picture from every mission. Every one. Including Challenger and Columbia. Tributes for those ones from everyone. Someone somewhere said "get over it" to me when I was talking about being in 8th grade science hearing about Challenger. I never wanted to start something so bad.

Challenger and her crew meant something. And it hurt when we lost them. Still does.




Yes also remember a few off colour jokes regarding the incident

One I quite clearly remember was the alternative abbreviation for NASA.

For some it was a copping mechanism
 
hh65man
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sun Jan 30, 2022 10:01 am

Remember it well, happened on my birthday. I was stationed on the coast up the road. A friend and I took Mil Leave and planned to drive down and watch it launch. The day before we were due to drive down he backed out as he decided he couldn’t afford the trip, so we both canceled our leave. The day of the 28th I went out to lunch with friends and when I got back a work mate (who was a huge practical joker) says hey have you heard the news? Thinking he was just kidding and pulling another prank because of my birthday we didn’t believe him, he says it all over the tv In the break room. As we made our way near the tv room it became apparent by the crowd something big had occurred. I’ll never forget the moment…
 
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TheFlyingDisk
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sun Jan 30, 2022 11:03 pm

I've just finished reading Allan Macdonald's book on the Challenger disaster. The thing that perplexed me is why did NASA, or more correctly Larry Mulloy and his subordinates, insisted to launch? Worse off, Thiokol had originally proposed a postponement to the afternoon so that there would have been more time to thaw the Shuttle. Why didn't they even consider delaying the launch to afternoon?

It's not like they're chasing after something in orbit and needed to launch in a specific time period.
 
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Aaron747
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sun Jan 30, 2022 11:17 pm

TheFlyingDisk wrote:
I've just finished reading Allan Macdonald's book on the Challenger disaster. The thing that perplexed me is why did NASA, or more correctly Larry Mulloy and his subordinates, insisted to launch? Worse off, Thiokol had originally proposed a postponement to the afternoon so that there would have been more time to thaw the Shuttle. Why didn't they even consider delaying the launch to afternoon?

It's not like they're chasing after something in orbit and needed to launch in a specific time period.


Mulloy's boss was director of the Marshall center, and that was Dr. Bill Lucas. See his comments above, that he still wouldn't change his decision today. His marching orders were clear: we launch on schedule. He was convinced because SRB issues had not been catastrophic previously, they still wouldn't be, regardless of what the manufacturer said. A very bullheaded guy...incredibly, he's still alive and kicking at 99.
 
stlgph
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Re: Loss of Challenger - Anniversary

Sun Jan 30, 2022 11:37 pm

A101 wrote:
seb146 wrote:
We went to the space museum in Los Angeles a few years ago. Endeavour is on display. THE Endeavour that went into space! I was fangirling!! When I was a child, I remember watching the news about testing for Space Shuttles over Edwards AFB! And there we were, RIGHT FREAKIN NEXT TO ONE!!!

The room has every mission and every crew picture from every mission. Every one. Including Challenger and Columbia. Tributes for those ones from everyone. Someone somewhere said "get over it" to me when I was talking about being in 8th grade science hearing about Challenger. I never wanted to start something so bad.

Challenger and her crew meant something. And it hurt when we lost them. Still does.




Yes also remember a few off colour jokes regarding the incident

One I quite clearly remember was the alternative abbreviation for NASA.

For some it was a copping mechanism


one of the volumes of Blanche Knott's Truly Taste Jokes had not just a few off colour jokes but A WHOLE CHAPTER devoted to Challenger.

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