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(The Raw Story)   NASA reveals that it knew ahead of time that Columbia's re-entry was probably going to end badly   (rawstory.com ) divider line
    More: Sad, NASA, Space Shuttle Columbia, re-entry, Columbia disaster, flight controls, TPS, Johnson Space Center  
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27045 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Feb 2013 at 12:14 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-02 12:42:55 AM  

Amos Quito: Yeah, that's sad, but I suppose that sometimes ignorance is bliss - comparitively.

Apparently their fate was sealed, and nothing could have been done to change the probable outcome. Why make them live their last few hours freaking out?

So given their decision in this case, do you suppose NASA would bother to tell us if they spotted a huge, dark space rock on a collision course for Earth, or just let it be a "surprise"?


/Eat, drink, Fark and be merry, folks


except, there was another shuttle almost done prepping for a future flight, and the columbia had extra consumables because it was a long duration mission.
 
2013-02-02 12:43:00 AM  
I thought that Linda Ham, who was some kind of Flight Director, told worried engineers to shut the fark up or something to that effect, then plead ignorance after the breakup.
 
2013-02-02 12:43:02 AM  

Ed Willy: Obviously this has been updated, but theoretically no way they couldn't move over to the International Space Station as a life line and an international rescue mission be launched? I assume there could be a Space Walk to fix the panels, or at worst jettison it and send it out or orbit, or as a dead satellite until repairs could be made.


Wrong orbit IIRC.  They didn't plan on docking with ISS that trip, and weren't going to get close enough to burn to it
 
2013-02-02 12:44:11 AM  
I've no clue is this bullshiat or not.

Honestly though? think about your neighbors or even your family for a while, think of seven of them locked into something the size of a mobile home.  Now imagine how they'd react if you told them they were going to all die within, say six hours, it was going to be a slow messy death, and there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.

How many of you can honestly say your family would choose to die bravely and nobly, going out in a blaze of glory.   On the other hand, how many would panic, lose their shiat, and try to claw out the throats of everybody else in the place to buy themselves a couple hours of air

Worse, how many would you say would choose to do something Pants on head retarded, and open the door, killing everybody, because damned if -they- were going to go out like a punk.


Given the capacity of the human animal for self destructive panic, I would argue that letting them die quickly and ignorant of their fate would be merciful.
 
2013-02-02 12:45:24 AM  

AlwaysRightBoy: Amos Quito: Yeah, that's sad, but I suppose that sometimes ignorance is bliss - comparitively.

Apparently their fate was sealed, and nothing could have been done to change the probable outcome. Why make them live their last few hours freaking out?

So given their decision in this case, do you suppose NASA would bother to tell us if they spotted a huge, dark space rock on a collision course for Earth, or just let it be a "surprise"?


/Eat, drink, Fark and be merry, folks

I would just like a warning so I can come to terms about pleasing my wife.


Just make sure your re-entry shields are in working order.  :P
 
2013-02-02 12:46:05 AM  
To everyone asking/saying could they have docked with the ISS until rescue that was answered over and over again 10 years ago. NO NO NO, they did not have the fuel and were no where near the same orbit as the ISS.

Believe it or not space is big.
 
2013-02-02 12:46:11 AM  
fark it. It's Dick Cheney's America
 
2013-02-02 12:46:17 AM  

Science_Guy_3.14159: I sound fat: Amos Quito: Yeah, that's sad, but I suppose that sometimes ignorance is bliss - comparitively.

Apparently their fate was sealed, and nothing could have been done to change the probable outcome. Why make them live their last few hours freaking out?

So given their decision in this case, do you suppose NASA would bother to tell us if they spotted a huge, dark space rock on a collision course for Earth, or just let it be a "surprise"?


/Eat, drink, Fark and be merry, folks

Yeah, but there were seven highly intelligent engineers on board that would be VERY motivated to think of a solution that, perhaps, the ground had overlooked.  This does not seem legit.

/didnt they see apollo 13?

Didn't they also suspect the heat shield might have been damaged by the explosion that crippled the command module but chose not to mention it to the astronauts?


The astronauts pointed out the possibility, not ground control...
 
2013-02-02 12:46:22 AM  

FizixJunkee: That said, could Columbia have docked with the ISS until rescue?


Nope. Orbits don't work that way.
 
2013-02-02 12:46:38 AM  

FizixJunkee: The choice between certain death (running out of air) versus the possibility of death upon re-entry. I would have gone with re-entry, too.


Yeah, the most painless death versus the most painful, I would go with the most painful too.
 
2013-02-02 12:46:56 AM  

FizixJunkee: The choice between certain death (running out of air) versus the possibility of death upon re-entry.  I would have gone with re-entry, too.

That said, could Columbia have docked with the ISS until rescue?


 
2013-02-02 12:47:38 AM  

impaler: FizixJunkee: The choice between certain death (running out of air) versus the possibility of death upon re-entry. I would have gone with re-entry, too.

Yeah, the most painless death versus the most painful, I would go with the most painful too.


I would go with whatever is fastest.
 
2013-02-02 12:47:57 AM  

GAT_00: There was nothing they could have done to fix it and telling them would have done nothing.  I don't blame them for that.


That's how I see it, also.  Besides, there was no certainty of loss.

Ed Willy: Obviously this has been updated, but theoretically no way they couldn't move over to the International Space Station as a life line and an international rescue mission be launched? I assume there could be a Space Walk to fix the panels, or at worst jettison it and send it out or orbit, or as a dead satellite until repairs could be made.


No.  Columbia was at 191 mi/39 degrees.  The ISS is at 250..263 mi/51.6 degrees.

If I didn't fark up too badly googling for the formulas the delta-v just to move to the ISS's orbital plane is 3783mi/hr.  It's going to be another 120 ft/sec to climb to the ISS's altitude, 81 mi/hr.  Thus we are up to 3867 mi/hr of delta-v.  Changing orbital planes is an extremely expensive maneuver, you simply don't do it to any substantial degree.

The OMS engines (all that still work at that point--while the mains are still there they have no fuel nor do they have any ignition system even if they did have fuel) only have 681 mi/hr of delta-v when sitting on the pad and some of that is used to circularize their orbit.
 
2013-02-02 12:48:37 AM  

Mock26: I have often wondered why they did not try to get them to the International Space Station.  At that time it had been manned for nearly 3 years.  Surely there was enough air on board to keep all of them alive long enough to retrieve them or at the very least get them supplies?


Do you people not read before posting? You know this is Fark. Good and bad questions are likely to have been answered by the time you arrive in the thread.
 
2013-02-02 12:49:21 AM  
Perhaps they can plan every mission from now on with a couple of possible layovers at the ISS just in case shiat.  The first delivery they could make to the ISS could be a new pod to accommodate emergency passengers.

/Sucks it couldn't have ever worked for these guys though
 
2013-02-02 12:49:37 AM  

Science_Guy_3.14159: Believe it or not space is big.


It's not the size so much as the energy. They're going around 7000 m/s in one direction. A different orbit is basically a different direction. They not only have to "get close" they also have to be going the same direction.
 
2013-02-02 12:49:37 AM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Wasn't most, if not all, of this known soon after the disaster?

/because I know I read about it somewhere


Yes.

Old news is really really old.
 
2013-02-02 12:49:49 AM  

relcec: there was another shuttle almost done prepping for a future flight, and the columbia had extra consumables because it was a long duration mission


So you're saying NASA killed them for laughs.
 
2013-02-02 12:50:23 AM  

GAT_00: There was nothing they could have done to fix it and telling them would have done nothing.  I don't blame them for that.


Except allowing them to say goodbye to their families and not be treated as children.
 
2013-02-02 12:50:29 AM  

Rreal: I've no clue is this bullshiat or not.

Honestly though? think about your neighbors or even your family for a while, think of seven of them locked into something the size of a mobile home.  Now imagine how they'd react if you told them they were going to all die within, say six hours, it was going to be a slow messy death, and there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.

How many of you can honestly say your family would choose to die bravely and nobly, going out in a blaze of glory.   On the other hand, how many would panic, lose their shiat, and try to claw out the throats of everybody else in the place to buy themselves a couple hours of air

Worse, how many would you say would choose to do something Pants on head retarded, and open the door, killing everybody, because damned if -they- were going to go out like a punk.


Given the capacity of the human animal for self destructive panic, I would argue that letting them die quickly and ignorant of their fate would be merciful.


I'd suggest that if there's any group that could be told 'there's a good chance what you're about to do will kill you' and  not freak the fark out and do something stupid, it's a group of astronauts.

That said, no point in telling them if there wasn't anything they could do either way.
 
2013-02-02 12:50:56 AM  
Why hasn't anyone brought up the idea of docking the shuttle with the ISS? Nobody?
 
2013-02-02 12:51:17 AM  

Loren: If I didn't fark up too badly googling for the formulas the delta-v just to move to the ISS's orbital plane is 3783mi/hr. It's going to be another 120 ft/sec to climb to the ISS's altitude, 81 mi/hr. Thus we are up to 3867 mi/hr of delta-v. Changing orbital planes is an extremely expensive maneuver, you simply don't do it to any substantial degree.


yeah, but you didn't factor in Daylight Savings Time.

FAIL
 
2013-02-02 12:52:15 AM  

Radioactive Ass: zekeburger: Couldn't the shuttle dock at the ISS?

IIRC the trajectory was wrong and there wasn't enough fuel to do anything even if they knew for sure that it wasn't going to make it. In addition there wasn't a shuttle that could be made ready soon enough to go get them without seriously risking both crews. That's why they always had a backup ready before the launches after the Columbia crash and one of the reasons why the costs went so high afterwards which ultimately led to the program being canceled before its replacement was even close to being ready.


I knew I should have read the entire thread before making my above post.

Now, with that being said, NASA should start launching some "satellites" that contain oxygen tanks and food and some maneuvering jets and these should be put up into an orbit close to that which the shuttles usually take.  Start seeding these now and then in the future if there is ever a situation similar to this then we can at least keep whatever crew on whatever vehicle alive until we can get them down.  Or, maybe even put up some re-entry "pods" for use in emergencies.
 
2013-02-02 12:52:41 AM  
pbfcomics.com
 
2013-02-02 12:53:59 AM  
Sure, if true, NASA couldn't save the astronauts so why inform them. Well there's a good reason... to not have flaming debris rain down over a populated area. Luckily no one on the ground was killed but it certainly was a possibility. If the shuttle had to come back in, it would be better to let them break up over the Pacific. It'd make recovery of the debris much more difficult but would eliminate most of the possibility of someone elementary school getting creamed by a flaming toilet seat.
 
2013-02-02 12:54:36 AM  

CJHardin: Perhaps they can plan every mission from now on with a couple of possible layovers at the ISS just in case shiat.


Um, I don't know how to break this to you, but there are no more Shuttle missions.
 
2013-02-02 12:54:46 AM  

DrPainMD: Amos Quito: Yeah, that's sad, but I suppose that sometimes ignorance is bliss - comparitively.

Apparently their fate was sealed, and nothing could have been done to change the probable outcome. Why make them live their last few hours freaking out?

So given their decision in this case, do you suppose NASA would bother to tell us if they spotted a huge, dark space rock on a collision course for Earth, or just let it be a "surprise"?


/Eat, drink, Fark and be merry, folks

I would rather have the opportunity to say good-bye to my family.




You would want your family tormented by worry?
 
2013-02-02 12:57:16 AM  
I'll admit right now that I am not a spaceologist, but shouldn't there have been a way to put a pod on there for emergencies?  Something where they could get in a pod and float back down to earth with parachutes and stuff?  Maybe a couple extra jets so they didn't land in the middle of a city, but not the huge rocket jets?
 
2013-02-02 12:57:37 AM  

CJHardin: Perhaps they can plan every mission from now on with a couple of possible layovers at the ISS just in case shiat.  The first delivery they could make to the ISS could be a new pod to accommodate emergency passengers.


There are no more missions. The shuttle program was cancelled and all the spacecraft mothballed in museums. All of our manned flights now are on Russian hardware and go to ISS.
 
2013-02-02 12:59:52 AM  

StoPPeRmobile: DrPainMD: Amos Quito: Yeah, that's sad, but I suppose that sometimes ignorance is bliss - comparitively.

Apparently their fate was sealed, and nothing could have been done to change the probable outcome. Why make them live their last few hours freaking out?

So given their decision in this case, do you suppose NASA would bother to tell us if they spotted a huge, dark space rock on a collision course for Earth, or just let it be a "surprise"?


/Eat, drink, Fark and be merry, folks

I would rather have the opportunity to say good-bye to my family.

You would want your family tormented by worry?


I would want the opportunity to say goodbye to my spouse and child, absolutely. If NASA did know, and kept the astronauts in the dark, that's farking cold.
 
2013-02-02 01:00:53 AM  

EngineerAU: Sure, if true, NASA couldn't save the astronauts so why inform them. Well there's a good reason... to not have flaming debris rain down over a populated area. Luckily no one on the ground was killed but it certainly was a possibility. If the shuttle had to come back in, it would be better to let them break up over the Pacific. It'd make recovery of the debris much more difficult but would eliminate most of the possibility of someone elementary school getting creamed by a flaming toilet seat.


That would certainly be an interesting call to make. "Hey guys, try to steer your badly damaged craft over the water so you don't explode over people. Thanks a bunch. Byeeee."
 
2013-02-02 01:01:03 AM  

Mock26: NASA should start launching some "satellites" that contain oxygen tanks and food and some maneuvering jets and these should be put up into an orbit close to that which the shuttles usually take. Start seeding these now and then in the future if there is ever a situation similar to this then we can at least keep whatever crew on whatever vehicle alive until we can get them down. Or, maybe even put up some re-entry "pods" for use in emergencies.



Ummmm excuse me but will there be locks on these "satellites" or keypads with security codes for the astronauts?

sheesh.
 
2013-02-02 01:01:04 AM  

Loren: GAT_00: There was nothing they could have done to fix it and telling them would have done nothing.  I don't blame them for that.

That's how I see it, also.  Besides, there was no certainty of loss.

Ed Willy: Obviously this has been updated, but theoretically no way they couldn't move over to the International Space Station as a life line and an international rescue mission be launched? I assume there could be a Space Walk to fix the panels, or at worst jettison it and send it out or orbit, or as a dead satellite until repairs could be made.

No.  Columbia was at 191 mi/39 degrees.  The ISS is at 250..263 mi/51.6 degrees.

If I didn't fark up too badly googling for the formulas the delta-v just to move to the ISS's orbital plane is 3783mi/hr.  It's going to be another 120 ft/sec to climb to the ISS's altitude, 81 mi/hr.  Thus we are up to 3867 mi/hr of delta-v.  Changing orbital planes is an extremely expensive maneuver, you simply don't do it to any substantial degree.

The OMS engines (all that still work at that point--while the mains are still there they have no fuel nor do they have any ignition system even if they did have fuel) only have 681 mi/hr of delta-v when sitting on the pad and some of that is used to circularize their orbit.


Darnit, you beat me to it.  I used different numbers, though.  I thought Columbia was on a Hubble service mission so I used the difference between 28.5 and 51.6 as the Delta-i and the ISS's orbital speed.  I came out with a Delta-V of 3085 meters/sec, well beyond the 1000 meters/second the fully fuels OMS engines can do.

I may be completely batshiat wrong, though.  Orbital mechanics makes my head hurt.
 
2013-02-02 01:02:14 AM  

Triumph: CJHardin: Perhaps they can plan every mission from now on with a couple of possible layovers at the ISS just in case shiat.

Um, I don't know how to break this to you, but there are no more Shuttle missions.


I feel really farking bad for all the people living in the ISS then.  I was speaking in general.

I'm sure at SOME point the US will send something else to space.  When that occurs I'm sure that that object will comply to the laws of physics that the current objects out there do.
 
2013-02-02 01:02:53 AM  

zekeburger: Couldn't the shuttle dock at the ISS?


That is part of the contreversy. They were warned about the heat sheild being knocked off shortly after launch - and they sat on their asses twiddle farting when they had the time to figure out how to get them there or home, and by the time they went 'Oh shiat! This is serious!' it was too late.
 
2013-02-02 01:03:24 AM  

impaler: Science_Guy_3.14159: Believe it or not space is big.

It's not the size so much as the energy. They're going around 7000 m/s in one direction. A different orbit is basically a different direction. They not only have to "get close" they also have to be going the same direction.


It's more complicated then that, they they are going 7000 m/s but not in one direction they are in orbit so they are not traveling in one direction but in 3 directions as they maintain angular momentum. If the ISS shared the same orbital path just was at a higher orbit I suppose technically the shuttle could have gotten there using very little OMS burn.
 
2013-02-02 01:03:33 AM  

jaytkay: relcec: there was another shuttle almost done prepping for a future flight, and the columbia had extra consumables because it was a long duration mission

So you're saying NASA killed them for laughs.


No. they never knew it was going to be destroyed.
they thought it was a unlikely possibility that type of strike could cause a critical failure (because it had happened to often but never been critical), and had never developed contingency plans because a second orbiter wadn't normally gonna be close to ready in time in case there ever was a serious structural breach that would prevent deorbit.

there was a culture of *better not to know because there is no solution*, so even though there possibly uring this rare mission because of delays to the columbia take off, the culture took over. momentum took over.
astronauts themselves knew of the danger to the tiles and had always said they would rather die during reentry rather than of asphixiation in orbit so it was better to never even check for the damage. it wasn't intentional malfeasance, just an ingrained pattern of thinking that salvation was an impossiblity. except in this case salvation was at least theorectically possible. get it?
 
2013-02-02 01:03:59 AM  

EngineerAU: CJHardin: Perhaps they can plan every mission from now on with a couple of possible layovers at the ISS just in case shiat.  The first delivery they could make to the ISS could be a new pod to accommodate emergency passengers.

There are no more missions. The shuttle program was cancelled and all the spacecraft mothballed in museums. All of our manned flights now are on Russian hardware and go to ISS.


I was aware of the cancellation.  I was just speaking of space flight in general regardless of nationality.
 
2013-02-02 01:03:59 AM  

rickythepenguin: Mock26: NASA should start launching some "satellites" that contain oxygen tanks and food and some maneuvering jets and these should be put up into an orbit close to that which the shuttles usually take. Start seeding these now and then in the future if there is ever a situation similar to this then we can at least keep whatever crew on whatever vehicle alive until we can get them down. Or, maybe even put up some re-entry "pods" for use in emergencies.


Ummmm excuse me but will there be locks on these "satellites" or keypads with security codes for the astronauts?

sheesh.


We certainly wouldn't want the Ruskies to go up there and huff all our O2 like schoolchildren.
 
2013-02-02 01:04:18 AM  

MissFeasance: I'll admit right now that I am not a spaceologist, but shouldn't there have been a way to put a pod on there for emergencies?  Something where they could get in a pod and float back down to earth with parachutes and stuff?  Maybe a couple extra jets so they didn't land in the middle of a city, but not the huge rocket jets?


Launches are extremely expensive per pound.  Every pound of cargo that goes up takes more fuel.
 
2013-02-02 01:04:21 AM  

ng2810: GAT_00: There was nothing they could have done to fix it and telling them would have done nothing.  I don't blame them for that.

Bullshiat

[content.answcdn.com image 500x456]

Don't you farking tell me that they would not have at least tried SOMETHING if they knew people were gonna die.


Here's the thing. Even on Apollo 13, they were worried about heat shield damage. (In the movie the issue isn't mentioned until shortly before reentry, but IIRC NASA knew of that risk long before then.)

You know what they did about that particular threat? Nothing.

I can't speak to what options they may or may not have had, but I can certainly believe they had basically none.

Biner: Why hasn't anyone brought up the idea of docking the shuttle with the ISS? Nobody?


Not enough fuel to get to it, and no docking equipment. The latter could probably have been hacked around Apollo 13 style, but not the former.
 
2013-02-02 01:04:22 AM  

MissFeasance: I'll admit right now that I am not a spaceologist, but shouldn't there have been a way to put a pod on there for emergencies?  Something where they could get in a pod and float back down to earth with parachutes and stuff?  Maybe a couple extra jets so they didn't land in the middle of a city, but not the huge rocket jets?


The correct terminology is "Spacenician".

/what? it's perfectly cromulent
 
2013-02-02 01:04:29 AM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Wasn't most, if not all, of this known soon after the disaster?

/because I know I read about it somewhere


No, it wasn't.  What was released was that it was known that a camera had shown the impact of the icy foam on launch, which wasn't considered serious at the time and then proven gravely wrong in hindsight.  And the issue wasn't pressed.

If management KNEW the impact could plausibly be disastrous and didn't further the investigation because they thought nothing could be done and it was better off that they die not knowing, well, that'd be a whole different thing.
 
2013-02-02 01:05:22 AM  

MissFeasance: I'll admit right now that I am not a spaceologist, but shouldn't there have been a way to put a pod on there for emergencies?  Something where they could get in a pod and float back down to earth with parachutes and stuff?  Maybe a couple extra jets so they didn't land in the middle of a city, but not the huge rocket jets?


Oh it's certainly technically feasible, but it's just more weight to carry up and back and the shuttle wasn't exactly looking to pack on more pounds.
 
2013-02-02 01:05:48 AM  

Enuratique: [pbfcomics.com image 850x283]


I laughed way too hard at that
 
2013-02-02 01:05:56 AM  

CJHardin: EngineerAU: CJHardin: Perhaps they can plan every mission from now on with a couple of possible layovers at the ISS just in case shiat.  The first delivery they could make to the ISS could be a new pod to accommodate emergency passengers.

There are no more missions. The shuttle program was cancelled and all the spacecraft mothballed in museums. All of our manned flights now are on Russian hardware and go to ISS.

I was aware of the cancellation.  I was just speaking of space flight in general regardless of nationality.


Because not every flight is tolerant of the orbital parameters needed to pit stop at the ISS.
 
2013-02-02 01:05:58 AM  

MissFeasance: I'll admit right now that I am not a spaceologist, but shouldn't there have been a way to put a pod on there for emergencies?  Something where they could get in a pod and float back down to earth with parachutes and stuff?  Maybe a couple extra jets so they didn't land in the middle of a city, but not the huge rocket jets?


Let's put it this way.

You know about the "conservation of energy" right? Now remember when they lifted off? All that big explosions and shat going off (the rockets)? That was to give the velocity.

To get back, they have to get rid of that velocity, and it takes the same amount of energy to slow down as speed up. So basically, the bottom of the shuttle has to take the same amount of energy that was coming out of the rockets in the form of heat energy from friction.

Obviously, you might see how parachutes in this situation could be a problem.
 
2013-02-02 01:06:50 AM  
There might have been some things they could have done. It will, of course, never be known now. The issue at the time was that nobody knew for sure, because the engineers who thought there MIGHT have been a problem were put into the Catch-22 position of proving the situation was bad enough to need to get the data that would prove things were bad enough to warrant getting the confirming data...data without which they couldn't prove things were that bad. For a good non-technical summary, see "Flirting With Disaster" by Marc Gerstein.

Essentially, it came down to needing to either have a spacewalk authorized to inspect the damage, or request images from a CIA or other military satellite that was in a close orbit, but which would have meant crossing the usual chains of command; something that rarely happens. Ultimately, Flight Director Linda Ham chose to do neither, because the engineers could not prove that there was even any damage to the Columbia's heat shield that would warrant such extraordinary measures. Of course, without examining the heat shield, there was no way to prove if there was any damage...so it all came down to "Let's hope there isn't any damage and you are wrong." They weren't wrong, but nobody will ever know exactly how right they were.

Now it is possible, though unlikely, that had a thorough inspection been done, there might have been a way to tweak the reentry to protect the damaged tiles; or a chance of delaying the landing until a second shuttle could have been launched or a rescue planned. Perhaps not. But the astronauts deserved to know that they were making a landing off the charts and to have a say in any strange maneuvers that might have been attempted or rescues that might have been suggested. And if there was no hope, they at least deserved an opportunity to say good bye to their families. However, NASA's response seems to have been that "probably nothing is wrong," and not a callous dismissal of the astronauts' lives. Not that that's any better in the end.
 
2013-02-02 01:07:42 AM  

DarthBart: Loren: GAT_00: There was nothing they could have done to fix it and telling them would have done nothing.  I don't blame them for that.

That's how I see it, also.  Besides, there was no certainty of loss.

Ed Willy: Obviously this has been updated, but theoretically no way they couldn't move over to the International Space Station as a life line and an international rescue mission be launched? I assume there could be a Space Walk to fix the panels, or at worst jettison it and send it out or orbit, or as a dead satellite until repairs could be made.

No.  Columbia was at 191 mi/39 degrees.  The ISS is at 250..263 mi/51.6 degrees.

If I didn't fark up too badly googling for the formulas the delta-v just to move to the ISS's orbital plane is 3783mi/hr.  It's going to be another 120 ft/sec to climb to the ISS's altitude, 81 mi/hr.  Thus we are up to 3867 mi/hr of delta-v.  Changing orbital planes is an extremely expensive maneuver, you simply don't do it to any substantial degree.

The OMS engines (all that still work at that point--while the mains are still there they have no fuel nor do they have any ignition system even if they did have fuel) only have 681 mi/hr of delta-v when sitting on the pad and some of that is used to circularize their orbit.

Darnit, you beat me to it.  I used different numbers, though.  I thought Columbia was on a Hubble service mission so I used the difference between 28.5 and 51.6 as the Delta-i and the ISS's orbital speed.  I came out with a Delta-V of 3085 meters/sec, well beyond the 1000 meters/second the fully fuels OMS engines can do.

I may be completely batshiat wrong, though.  Orbital mechanics makes my head hurt.


Do you realize what you've done.... you have the final units in metric but did the calculation in US standard... this is a NASA no no
 
2013-02-02 01:07:53 AM  

FizixJunkee: zekeburger: Couldn't the shuttle dock at the ISS?

I guess I should read other comments before posting, eh?



i don't expect every person to understand orbits and stuff.  But if you know this stuff, saying "why don't they just dock with ISS?"  is like saying "Why didn't the Titanic just dock with some boat in the Pacific? they are both in the ocean."

That is why people seem to get testy.  it is a nonsensical question.
 
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