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Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 7:47 AM

Most of us remember where we were and what we were doing. I bet there are a lot of interesting stories out there.

I was at work. I remember who told me, where I was told, who told that person and one more person up the chain. I remember what the person was wearing and the exact spot in the building where I was told.

I went outside to look into the sky. It was probably about 3-4 minutes after the explosion. I looked at the white smoke trails that went up, around and back down. With no knowledge at the time except "Karen said that Linda said that her husband heard a big boom" it was confusing to see all the small smoke trails coming back down. I remember describing it as a little like the large shaft of an umbrella going up and the many small framework wires of an umbrella coming back down. I could probably see over one hundred small trails coming back down.

One of the girls in the stockroom was Becky from Cocoa Beach. Her parents had owned a hotel there for many years. In "the old days" the German scientists would stay at their motel and let them know whenever they expected the moon to look beautiful at night. The Germans didn't exactly violate security regulations since they did not say that there would be a secret launch that night. They just told the parents to go out on the beach at a specific time and enjoy the Florida view. Well, the reason this is relevant is that the parents of Christa McAuliffe were staying at the motel. The parents called Becky in our stock room to ask her how they should deal with the issue of their guests losing a daughter in the shuttle explosion.

For some development work we had a satellite receiver system at work. I watched the NBC news feeds for hours. I remember seeing the footage of the crew cabin falling intact into the ocean. This was only an hour or so after the explosion. I went home that night and turned on my VCR for hours so I could get a copy of this to study. To my suprise it didn't show up on TV for several years. This was a little like JFK and his women, the press did keep a secret to protect NASA and the relatives.

I had a small "it doesn't really matter" connection to spacecraft death (well not really, but this did pop up in my brain several times). In college I was in Grissom Hall and the brass plaque honoring Gus was on the other side of the wall from my dorm desk. I don't know why they did this, but instead of using lead anchors they just drilled a hole all the way through the concrete block and into the shelf of my study desk. I still have several of my college books that have the edges damaged by cuts from the bolts that mount to the building the plaque honoring one of the men that died in the Apollo 1 fire.

Silly things make permanent memories. For a few weeks there were hundreds of signs around Brevard County honoring the fallen seven. I always wanted to take pictures of them and make a book but somehow I felt it would have been disrespectful. I never took a single picture. The one that really stuck in my head was totally unexpected. I was going to a morning vendor conference at the Hilton. As usual, they had several big meeting rooms and signs to say what vendor/event was in each room. I was running late and in kind of an "automatic operation" & "high speed mode" of rushing in. I got a little mad because I couldn't find the sign I needed. Then in front of me was one of those little black signs with the chrome plated frame and post. It had the black velvet cloth background with the little grooves where small white letter could be pressed in. It simply stated "We honor the seven that had the right stuff". That stopped me dead in my tracks. Such a simple yet powerful way to both honor and tie together the Mercury Seven and the Challenger seven.

25 years ago today

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#1

Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 8:38 AM

What an awesome piece of writing Bruce. I remember well, the sadness, heaviness and surreal feeling that day. You've got my eyes welling up.

Thank You

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#2
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 10:04 AM

Thank-you

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#3

Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 10:59 AM

one more...

Several years before Challenger I remember waiting in the library parking lot to see a Delta go up. The launch was only a few minutes away. I started talking to a lady who was also waiting before entering/leaving the library. By chance, she had been in the firing room for Apollo 1. Even though it was a few decades after the fire it was still during an innocent time when both the official and media versions of Apollo 1 were "instantly" and "painlessly". The words "instantly" and "painlessly" were not part of her story. Not even close. The truth made quite an impression on a young engineering student.

Prior to the Challenger explosion I knew from friends that the crew cabin was a separate structure inside the shuttle and that it was shock isolated from the main shuttle. When I saw the intact crew cabin falling in raw news feed going from NBC-KSC to NBC New York I thought about the Apollo One witness in the library parking lot. It was a year or so after the Challenger explosion before the official story dropped "instantly" and "painlessly". My only information was the raw news feed that disappeared and the lady in the parking lot years earlier. It was kind of haunting for that year knowing that the truth was probably not as kind as the reports.

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#4

Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 2:01 PM

Having worked on the shuttle electronics at Motorola, and being a materials engineer, I soon learned that the o-rings failed due to the low temperature at launch.

Thiokol's engineers all demanded that the launch be scrubbed due to the low temperature. O-rings both shrink and get harder as they cool and the conditions were well outside the safety window that morning.

They were over-ruled by the White House who wanted the teacher in space that day. The president was adamant that he wanted her up there when he delivered his state-of-the-union address the following day. This fact was quickly covered up so as to not embarrass the president. But, that's the truth.

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#5
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 2:17 PM

Well that's a sickening little fact that I wasn't aware of. Probably not many others either............and they wonder how all the wacko's come up with these conspiracy theories. Other than that little mistake, Carter was one of the best Presidents ever. [sarcasm]

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#6
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 2:36 PM

Speaking of mistakes, Reagan was the president at the time., not Carter.

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#8
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 3:32 PM

I guess we need to stop depending on wiki so much.

I couldn't remember so I looked it up here, it says Carter at the top of the page, scroll down and it says Reagan. I took the top answer and ran with it without double checking. Oh well. Busted. I knew Carter wasn't President in 86, but it was in a different area of my brain that I wasn't accessing.

That's even more disappointing. I wonder if it was Reagan himself, or his people that were responsible for that really bad idea.

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#9
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 3:38 PM

I believe that Carter, being an engineer himself, would have taken the advice of the experts that day, and scrubbed the launch.

Reagan, on the other hand, was what before he was elected president? Yes, except for that stint as governor of CA he was an actor.

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#10
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 3:53 PM

The idea that any President would put people's lives in jeopardy so that he had something to brag about on TV is disgusting.

It was already a sad anniversary. Knowing that it could have easily been prevented makes it a lot worse....................and I get chastised for not having a lot of faith in the federal government.

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#11
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 4:41 PM

"The idea that any President would put people's lives in jeopardy so that he had something to brag about on TV is disgusting."

Why did we invade Iraq?

So we could have a presidential carrier landing with a large sign reading "Mission Accomplished"!

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#24
In reply to #11

Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/29/2011 10:45 AM

Bruce, thank you for that wonderful OP that you wrote. It brought my eyes to tears after reading it. It also brought me back to that awful tragic day. I was working for a structural engineering firm in Albany NY at the time, and I was driving to a meeting with one of our Architectural clients when I heard of the painful news on the car radio just minutes after it had happened. I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I had to pull over to the shoulder of the Interstate as I couldn't see through the tears in my eyes. Later when I arrived at the Architect's office the first thing I noticed was the dead silence except for the radios and the sole TV playing. You could have heard a pin drop. Many of the office staff as well as the Architect were red-eyed and apparently in disbelief of what had just occurred. I'll remember that day until the day I die. I even remember the day JFK was assassinated. I was in Kindergarten at the time. The Principal announced the assassination over the school PA system and the teacher began crying. We were later sent home early. I even remember the weather that day when we boarded the school bus to go home....it began to sleet very hard, as if Mother Nature was crying that winter day. What confused me a lot was that all of the adults were crying and talking in whispers to one another, even the bus driver. Looking back, I think they were be careful not to upset us little kids and spare us. The older elementary kids were definitely distraught and red-eyed, as they were painfully aware of what had occurred. When I got home my dad and mom were watching the television news coverage of the assassination and crying. I remember that "Uncle" Walter Cronkite was addressing the TV public then. It was also the first time I had ever seen my dad cry openly. He was a Dentist who had his office down in the west wing our split-ranch house, so it was normal to see him during ther office hours. He was so upset about the President that he cancelled all of his appointments for the remainder of the week. I even remember the TV news coverage of JFK's flag-draped coffin laying in repose within the Capital Rotunda, and again later the funeral procession and funeral later on, as the schools had been closed for the observance. Such a sad sad day in out history. I find it kind of odd how our minds remember certain things that have happened in our lives live weddings, tragic events, etc., but I can't sometimes remember what I ate for lunch several days before! LOL

Now Lyn, what invasion of Iraq are you talking about? I presume Gulf War II? As a former military Officer I had a suspicion at the time of the invasion that good 'ole George Jr. and his sidekicks were pulling the wool over our eyes, and that the war with Iraq wasn't entirely justified, especially in regard to Weapons of mass Destruction. The invasion of Afghanistan and the war of terror yes, but not Iraq.

I for one was not impressed in the least with George Jr.'s Circus Stunt carrier landing, etc......it was what it was, a media PR blitz.

Now in regard to the Persian Gulf I, aka Desert Shield/Desert Storm/Desert Sabre, yes, I do believe that George Bush the Senior was justified in "Drawing the Line in the Sand" and stopping Saddam and his henchmen from invading Saudi Arabia and the other oil-rich Gulf States as well as taking back the Kuwait. If Saddam hadn't been checked by the US Military and the Coalition Forces then Iraq would have been in possession of nearly 1/3 of the world's proven oil reserves. In a sense we stopped this from happening and avoided a world depression from occurring...no oil flow=collapsed economies, especially for the developed nations heavily dependent on the import of that oil from the Middle East. I was there for nearly 8 months and remember a whole too much of it...would rather forget some of the more painful aspects of that war, especially the liberation of Kuwait City itself....gastly isn't the word I would chose to describe the horrors found there.

I admire George and Barb Bush. I (and my Junior Officers and Senior NCO's) had the great pleasure of meeting them both (as well as "Stormin' Norman") and sharing turkey dinner with them on the hood of my Hummer when they visited the troops in the Saudi desert back on Thanksgiving Day 1990 during Desert Shield. One of the few times we had a warm meal (T-Rats) during the entire time there. That too I will remember for the remainder of my life. Later on after my return CONUS , my dad, a retired Army Col. handed me a newspaper clipping from the local newspaper from page one that showed the Bush's, my troops and I eating that Turkey diner...in full living color! I didn't know of the extent of the media coverage of that event until that time, including pics in the major news mags and TV news coverage! Blew my mind. If you do a Google Search you will probably find the pics. I just won't tell you which guy is me in those pics. I wish I had a copy of that newspaper clip that my dad whipped out, as my mom now has it in safe keeping. I suppose that I should photocopy it someday!

That's all for now...

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#12
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 6:07 PM

A very close friend of mine was a shuttle astronaut and no fan of Reagan. He was scheduled to fly on a mission not long after the Challenger -- though needless to say his flight got delayed by several years. He would have been all over that story if there was any shred of truth to it.

I don't believe that Reagan made the call to launch. One guy wrote a book that made that claim (invoking an astrologer, by the way as part of his 'proof') -- nowhere else have I seen that claim made.

Sounds like an anti-Reagan rant. It was a NASA admin mistake. Period.

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#13
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 6:15 PM

Give me a break! I wasn't and am not now anti Reagan. I didn't make this up.

I know what I heard, and when I heard it. And none of it came from an astrologist.

"NASA admin mistake" my as$!

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#14
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 6:35 PM

I don't think you're lying lyn.

I liked Reagan. I would like to think that he didn't personally make that call, but that it was made by one of his staff. We'll never know.

I can't imagine Reagan demanding that the shuttle be launched after being warned of the danger in doing so, but I've been wrong plenty of times.

I'm outta here, this is a great thread. Normally I wouldn't care, but I don't see any point in getting in off topic arguments on this one. Maybe we should start another if we want to continue discussing the causes of the explosion.

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#15
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 6:59 PM

Me, too. Sorry for the distraction.

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#16
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 8:04 PM

No worries. Thanks for revealing the truth about what happened. All I can say is that it's a damned shame.

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#26
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/29/2011 1:51 PM

I bet it was one of Reagan's "Presidential Advisors" who wanted it and told him what to say as he hardly said a word from his own brain and he admitted it.....he relied on good (usually) advice all the time....

He was certainly a lot better than some of the Lawyers the US has had.......Just ask Monica L. she will back me up!!!

(I was in Boston the day he said that he had never had sex with "that Woman". A comment so unfriendly and rude, as well as being a complete and utter barefaced lie, finished him for me completely....taking such advantage of young women is/was appalling.)

I really liked Reagan, his thrust with technology was one of the reasons the USSR collapsed some years later, they got into a race that they could not win!!He was a simple and as honest a president as any the USA has had, and better than 80% or do....

The Star Wars like Laser Space Cannon and other derivatives Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), was probably the crux of the matter. All USSR missiles would have been blown up in space.......if it had worked that is!!!

But the spin offs are still being used in other projects.....

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#28
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/30/2011 3:49 AM

Star wars was a bluff..............or maybe not.

Reagan was a good poker player.

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#29
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/30/2011 7:52 AM

I like the Wiki article on it, it suggests that it was a genuine effort, even though it was not fully possible in the end.

There are lots of technology spin-offs still in use today. The Wiki article covers them all and makes interesting reading!!!

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#30
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/30/2011 9:40 AM

I'm sure it does. I'm in the process of reevaluating my relationship with Wiki. See the link in post #8. In my semi brain dead state, and despite the fact that I knew better, I posted the Wiki answer as gospel.

If it weren't for spell check and lynlynch, I'd be in real trouble here.

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#20
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/29/2011 8:48 AM

@ lynlynch:

I didn't mean to imply you were lying. Sorry if I left that impression.

I just think that the people who made the original accusation about Reagan making that decision did so based on no hard evidence, just innuendo and hearsay -- whether it was the guy who wrote that book or some engineer(s) at Thiokol.

I've worked in the aerospace business as an engineer for over 25 years and was working in Florida at the time. I had a friend in the astronaut program then, and I knew many engineers who worked on various aspects of the shuttle program. I'd never heard that claim about Reagan's connection before. With all of the anti-Reagan journalists out there, one of them would have run with this story if there had been even a hint of truth to it.

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#21
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/29/2011 8:58 AM

No apology necessary. No offense taken. You are certainly entitled to your opinion

and are just as likely to be correct as am I.

As is usually the case in these situations, the truth probably lies somewhere in between our positions.

Cheers.

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#22
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/29/2011 9:03 AM

I've been thinking about this, because it's been bugging me.

Maybe I'm lying to myself, but I believe that whoever made the ultimate decision to launch, even if it was Reagan himself, did so because they were told by some, "experts", that everything should be fine.

No one, I believe, would have made that decision, had they been told that there was a high likelihood of catastrophic failure.

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#23
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/29/2011 9:12 AM

At the risk of further derailing this thread, this was not the first time these seals had failed, due to temperature. It's just the first time the failure caused catastrophic results.

I'd bet my firstborn child that no one from Thiokol recommended launching that morning.

I'm un-subscribing now. Let's let this get back to the original intent.

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#17
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 10:10 PM

It has always been my belief that even though someone at NASA had the final yes/no decision the real responsibility was with the nameless and faceless system that evolved into a bit of a reckless monster. I don't recall the number of launches we were committed to in a year but I do recall that it was not a "safety is our top priority" number. One of the two friends that I had in the firing room on the day we lost Challenger had been working about 60+ hours a week for a long time. This was not only 60+ hours a week but it was with somewhat random shifts mixed in with mostly daytime work. I think that almost everyone at KSC at all levels was tired and driven to the point that they were just another cog in the system.

President Regan had been pushing space pretty hard in speeches. Some of it got out of hand. A teacher in space would be a good ambassador to young minds. Overall that was a good idea. But Regan was pushing space for the common man (person). I remember people on TV talking about how they wanted to be the first painter in space, the first cook, the first drywall hanger and even the first plumber in space. Overall we (President, NASA Admin, NASA workers, contractors and the common person on the street) were all somewhat out of control. Space demands that you and all of your team are alert, responsible and learning from mistakes 110% of the time. We were in "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" mode.

President Regan was our top cheerleader for space. We would have been much better off and the accident might not have happened if he was a balanced leader for space rather than a powerful cheerleader. I don't think that we can blame him for the job he did, but I do think that it contributed many bits of straw on the camel's back.

NASA Admin knew of safety concerns and the buck should have stopped there. But, they also had records of missions being flown and they had notebooks full of procedures. They had a ton of pressure from Congress, the media and yes, the White House too. They did it by the book and basically that is their job. It would have been nice if they had said "wait, the book does not seem safe enough today" but they didn't. Were they right or were they wrong? I think both yes and no to both.

My CR4 friends have tried not to get off the initial topic in this thread. I appreciate that. This is a day of respect. But, it would be disrespectful to the Challenger Seven if we don't take a moment and try to learn something from this.

Sometimes the person at the top of the flowchart has to pause for a moment, think about what is going on, take a deep breath and decide that he/she has enough money in the 401K plan to risk using common sense, tell the truth and do what is right.

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#18
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 11:23 PM

My Dad was an engineer and spent a lifetime in the aerospace and defense industry.

He was also a purist, in the sense that he didn't like unknowns. To him, everything that he and his team worked on had to have clearly defined and repeatable outcomes. He understood that anything less than perfect, on the systems he was working on could easily lead to disaster.

He voiced his concerns on more than one occasion to the ultimate decision makers, that just happened to be above him, and many of them were non-engineers. Needless to say, with deadlines looming.......or whatever, he was not heard. He also couldn't afford to lose his job, (yeah, I think it reached that point at one time), so shutting up became really the only option.

I guess the point I'm trying to make, is that someone made that fateful decision. They may have heard something about it being too cold, but the person that made the decision, wasn't the guy that had first hand knowledge of what happens to O-rings in the cold.

Emotions were running high. Everyone had rehearsed the moment thousands of times. The nation was watching. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the astronauts themselves heard rumors about it being too cold, and said, "Screw it, it's not that cold, lets do this".

I'm sure, with it being cold, some sort of risk assessment was established, and found to be acceptable..........not ideal, but acceptable. Everyone involved was caught up in the moment, up to and including the astronauts themselves.

No one involved, I'm sure, thought that ship was going to explode.

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#31
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/31/2011 2:52 PM

I remember it well.

I was at my desk in Montreal and got the news by phone. Told the boss what had happened and that I was out for the day heading for the nearest TV. The nearest TV was of course at a local taven where (unknow to me)the roof had collapsed the night before due to a heavy load of snow. When I whipped open the door and stepped in the weirdest thought went through my head. "The shuttle had exploded and crashed HERE?"

I then hit the next watering hole and sat glued to the TV for the rest of the day. The normal boisterous clatter of a tavern completely subdued. I will never forget those trails of smoke against the pristene blue sky.

Now who was to blame? From what I recall in a reenactment I saw on PBS. The main engineer at the manufacturing company said NO-GO and then watched his CEO pick up the phone and say go. It was explained to me that three parties had to give a green light. The manufacturer, NASA and I forget who the third was . If any one said stop, it was stopped. The company CEO feared that another delay (there had been 3 or 4 already) might get the building contract canceled. There was another company who would build these things without O-rings. But they weren't in the senator's riding who chaired the appropriations committee that awarded the contract. (See the guilty party yet?) So to preserve the contract the stuffed shirt gave the green light. The rest is history.

I have seen this engineer interviewed and he regrets to this day not leaping across the desk to grab the phone and stop the launch. He still blames himself.

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#25
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Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/29/2011 11:52 AM

It was a cold day in St Louis (along the river) the wife was taking our little one to preschool. I was enjoying a late breakfast, since I was working second shift. The world (seemed) it was on it's course. In the USA the president (Reagan) had many people (in other parts of the world) worried (rightly so). Only in looking back, can we see it so clearly. We need people to do the right and hard engineering, so our kids don't fall. And the politicians should be kept on a short leash.

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#7

Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/28/2011 3:22 PM

It was a sad day indeed.

School addition, just before break, one of the guys brought in a little transistor TV and about a half dozen of us were huddled around it.

For this motley crew I worked with that always had a wise a$$ comment for anything, that day, that moment once it all set in, you could have heard a pin drop.

The loss itself and the findings afterward - Truly sad.

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#19

Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/29/2011 1:59 AM

When you reach a certain age, you remember a lot of significant events in your life, many of which are historic moments that will never be forgotten and should never be so.

For me, I remember quite distinctly the Challenger tragedy, indeed it had a profound effect on my entire day, as I was in Athens, Greece at the time. I was casually watching the news on the small hotel bedroom television as the developments occurred, and I could not for one moment consider leaving my hotel room until I had fully digested the shocking visions of white plumes of smoke that signalled the fate of the brave Challenger crew including Sally of course. Everything else seemed to have little importance upon seeing the tragedy, and it should be a lasting memory for all because it demonstrates to fragility of humankind in the endeavour for continually stretching the boundaries of one's aspirations for advancement.

That same feeling of shock was only encountered once before, and that was the 9/11 incident, which again was connected to Greece. Having flown back from Preveza airport, Western Greece the day before and witnessed the most unprecedented security I have ever encountered at any Greek airport prior to that date, the events became almost surreal when again sitting in my own front room at home, watching the news on the television, the smoke from one of the twin towers was suddenly transient at the image of the second aircraft flying in to the second tower. I will always remember the day before 9/11 and wonder!!!!!!

I express my sincere admiration to all those who were all directly affected by the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy, and how they have left a lasting imprint on our lives, that their fate was not in vain and that it would long contribute to man's better understanding of technological advancement at not be at the expense of cost-saving!!!!

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#27

Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

01/29/2011 2:16 PM

I was for several years working as an engineer for NASA.

Every large organization tends to dehumanization and become a well meshed set of gears.

In NASA, this tendency was worsened by the need that EVERYTHING must be perfect.

Instruments were believed much more than human judgement. A clear case of this happened at the Challenger launch.

At this moment I was no longer working in NASA, I had left in disgust for the excessive automatization of all tasks.

First; I was sure that the doomed crew did not die in the explosion, what makes the thing even more horrible.

Second; I bet you cannot get a not "Edited" copy of the TV that was being released at that moment to the World.

I was watching it and something absolutely incredible happened. Just after the explosion, the audio signal: A man reading the heights attained by the Cahllenger, kept reading for an endless succesion of seconds, the increasing heights, not knowing that what his instruments were reading was horribly false. (Well, not false, because the cabin still kept climbing. Rather INADECUATE)

This incident, watched by millions, did not have any influence in the accident, but many accidents have occurred in NASA due to this inflexible behaviour.

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#32

Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

02/03/2011 2:25 PM

That day I was working in my demo room in the ComputerVision Corp Customer Center in Bedford, MA. Fortunately we didn't have any customers scheduled that day.

Somebody came by and said the shuttle exploded. Fortunately, or unfortunately as it may be, I had a TV with cable feed in the room so we turned it on. It wasn't long before we had a fairly large crowd watching all the coverage. My demo room could accommodate about 40 people sitting down, more standing, so we soon had a ton of silent people in there.

All the time watching the reruns, things were running through my mind as to the possible cause.

First, as a NASA research machinist at Langley, I built several of the early brass thermal transfer wind tunnel models of Langley's design when NASA was evaluating designs from all the centers. (Ours wasn't a finalist). Did we make some gross miscalculation in early design? I was also involved in the 5 axis contour machining of the prototype ceramic belly tiles for thermal studies. I quickly excluded this as a problem because they didn't come into play on launch!

Second, about a year or two before the explosion I was down in Michaud, LA, at the Martin-Marietta facility where they designed and built the external liquid fuel tanks. I had been teaching their engineers and scientists how to run graphics based finite element modeling on their CV Cadds 4X system. My thoughts right after the explosion? My God, did I lead them astray on something?

Third, I had recently been working with Rockwell Rocketdyne on improving the CNC process for the massive main engine shrouded impellers using CV's NC programming system with one of a kind code to finish burr mill the inside of the impellers, an extremely difficult and exacting cutting job in titanium. Holy crap, did we set up some kind of disaster in waiting using that process?

All in all, it's amazing the scenarios that can go through our minds after disaster situations!! Self-recrimination for imagined errors in judgement can cripple one for a long time. Even after we found out that it was an o-ring problem, I still feel I suffered from PTSD for a long time (or maybe it was just run-on from my Vietnam experience). Even today, the thought of the Challenger crew brings tears to my eyes, especially since I lived in New Hampshire at the time and was bombarded with the Christa McAullife story.

Thanks for listening. I think I needed to write this.

RIP Challenger Crew. We still love and remember you.

Hooker

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

02/04/2011 7:55 AM

Thanks for a beautiful statement (all of you, really). I was fairly young at the time but i do remember that we had gathered in one of the auditoriums in school to watch the coverage...very sad day indeed.

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#34

Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

02/04/2011 9:33 AM

I had a day off that day, holiday and sadly saw it live.......my wife simply could not believe it......

I used to work for a Florida based company and I have seen several starts live from the park adjacent to the space center, and in those days, the live pictures were sent around the world......

I got much the same feelings on 9/11, which my wife saw live and was completely shaken......I had to rush home to steady her up.....

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#35

Re: Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

02/04/2011 7:08 PM

I was in sixth grade and saw it live on TV in our class room. Some kids didn't understand what happened and other cried.

I looked at my teacher and grinned then said something about there being a teacher on board so thats one down and million to go.

I spent the rest of the day in the office after that.

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