Author Topic: 33 Years Ago Today  (Read 489 times)

Offline red solo cup

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33 Years Ago Today
« on: January 28, 2019, 06:13:41 AM »
"It's so lonely 'round the fields of Athenry"

Offline clau clau

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Re: 33 Years Ago Today
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2019, 06:23:59 AM »
That is one of those events where I can remember exactly where I was.

I was living in a rented house in Brightlingsea, Essex in my 2nd year at University.  I had got the bus back and when I arrived the bloke I shared the house with greeted me at the door with, "'Clau, Clau', the space shuttle exploded!"

We watched the coverage on the BBC and ITN news over and over all evening on a black and white portable TV and talked long into the evening with lots of cans of Websters Yorkshire bitter.

I also remember a Gallows Humour joke from that time.

Q.  What does NASA stand for?
A.  Need Another Seven Astronauts
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 07:10:39 AM by clau clau »
Would you like to shake hands with Pope 1 or Pope 2 -
 me (inspired by Dr Seuss) see:

But when he's dumb and no more here,
Nineteen hundred years or near,
Clau-Clau-Claudius shall speak clear.
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Offline Jacob

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Re: 33 Years Ago Today
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2019, 10:57:17 AM »
In the comments to a blog post, someone was talking about how they got sent up in a deathtrap.  Another someone called out the first guy to show his work and he replied:

There is no such thing, but even the Gemini had ejection seats, and the Mercury, Apollo, and every Russian manned vehicle had escape tower systems.

The shuttle escape system boiled down to "bailout procedures for a B-17 Flying Fortress"- except theoretically the crew were supposed to do it at speeds up to Mach 6 and altitudes up to 100,000 feet.

Above that, they were supposed to ride the shuttle down to an emergency landing, for instance at Torrejón AB, Spain;

The Challenger crew initiated the bailout procedure when the external tank exploded- and had barely gotten it started when they were killed on impact when the cabin section hit the water at over 400 knots.

What worked in a Fortress over Germany at 200 knots and 20,000 feet in 1945 won't work in a spacecraft traveling several times the speed of sound five times as high in 1986. It just won't; physics does not work that way. And NASA should have known that from the start.

The shuttle design with that sort of "escape system" should have been sent back to Rockwell International marked , "Try Again".

I had read that evidence showed the pilot had still been "flying" the shuttle, unaware that it had been torn apart by the big boom and oxygen packs had been activated, but had never known the crew had been attempting to bail out.  The guy replied:

That's what I was referring to. Those were the first steps in the bailout procedure. It was supposed to end with the crew exiting through that circular hatch on the port side of the lower deck, with the pilot exiting last.

Unfortunately, the procedure assumed that the orbiter would be intact and under control for about three minutes while the bailout was underway; again, WW2 B-17 style.

The Challenger broke up when the tank detonated. Scoby didn't know it, but he was making control inputs to a spacecraft that was no longer attached to his controls.

And again, a procedure designed for 200 knots at 20,000 feet was very unlikely to work at over Mach 3 and twice or three times that high at a minimum, anyway. Times like that are when the laws of gravity and aerodynamics tend to look sharply at you and ask you just what in the Hell you think you're doing.

Put simply, conventional B-52 style ejection seats could have saved some, if not all, of the Challenger crew. When a Buff starts going down, the crew doesn't try to "ride it in"- they punch out.

Escape towers, bang seats, or both should be part of every crew transfer ground-to-orbit vehicle we make from now on. If not, there had better be a very pertinent reason why.

"Budget" and "Bad PR" do not qualify.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 11:02:31 AM by Jacob »
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Offline Heinrich

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Re: 33 Years Ago Today
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2019, 05:31:50 PM »
Daaang. I remember going into the bathroom at Jasper High School right before second period German class. The guy who told me was a year ahead me: "That teacher is fried." Up po n reflection, I hope this wasn't a mistake made by an unqualified crew member.
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Offline Gardener

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Re: 33 Years Ago Today
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2019, 06:18:38 PM »
The following is Colonel Mike Mullane’s presentation, “The Normalization of Deviance”. Col. Mullane is a former Astronaut and centers his engaging presentation on the Challenger disaster. Its spiritual implications in principle, as realized through an historical event, are worth hours of meditation and prayer.

Direct link

“Vatican 2, go for throttle up...”

Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: 33 Years Ago Today
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2019, 06:34:34 PM »
I was living in Miami, driving by the Airport on the North Side where the Eastern Airline hangers were; I stopped at this bar to eat lunch and have a beer, the launch was on, but I was watching the bar tendress more closely as she was simply beautiful! Then I looked up and heard the words: "Going full throttle up" ( that is how I remember it) and suddenly the big explosion. It was shocking; I was hoping that somehow the crew had survived. I should have said a prayer for the repose of their souls; I didn't even think about it at the time.
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