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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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27071 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Feb 2013 at 12:14 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-02 01:08:54 AM  

DarthBart: Launches are extremely expensive per pound.  Every pound of cargo that goes up takes more fuel.


Yeah, but what I said was have a pod to bring them back, not something to launch.  Still crazy expensive, yeah, but why is there no bailout procedure?  It still wouldn't be a guarantee, but geez.  Given the choice of being in a craft that is probably going to fail and taking my chances with parachutes and possibly landing in the middle of nowhere, I'd take the latter.
 
2013-02-02 01:08:55 AM  

Oznog: 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.


Well, NASA folks ran simulations while Columbia was in orbit to see what damage that foam might have done, but their simulation results (more or less correct in the end, IIRC) were tossed out by higher management basically because "no way, that can't be right." They even torpedoed request to get the DoD to point some fancy secret cameras at Columbia to take a look, because 'nothing could be done'.
 
2013-02-02 01:09:21 AM  

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


Actually now that I think about it some more I'm not sure that's true. I think they may have kept the service module attached for longer in part to decrease the risk, but they may have had to do that anyway. I forget.
 
2013-02-02 01:09:26 AM  

costermonger: 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.


Don't be too sure (Not safe for fark picture):

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/05/02/134597833/cosmonaut-cra sh ed-into-earth-crying-in-rage
 
2013-02-02 01:10:10 AM  

mxwjs: 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.


I didn't remember the details of the mission (e.g., whether it had visited the ISS or not), and I'm too lazy to look it up.   Feel free to sue me.
 
2013-02-02 01:10:24 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.




i291.photobucket.com

aw shiat
 
2013-02-02 01:10:25 AM  
There was no way to rescue the shuttle (not enough fuel or air to get to the ISS or wait for a rescue shuttle), so regardless of how much damage they thought they had, they would have had to try to re-enter, or die when the air ran out.

So even if they thought the shuttle was 99% doomed, you try re-entry anyway.  Would a crew told they are 99% dead not perform as well with that kind of mental stress?

Of course, in reality it wasn't 99% for sure, or 100%, no one really knew if it would survive or not, no definitive % chance of survival could be given, and there are about a 100 things that could cause you to randomly blow up during a shuttle trip.

So imagine they call up the crew and say, "well we think you may have damage to the TPS and you might burn up, but we cant be for sure and we can't rescue you, want to leave a message for your family?".  If they did that over a "maybe" like that they'd probably be leaving family messages every other shuttle trip! (perhaps they should have astronauts just do that on every flight?).

Reminds me of a scene in Apollo 13 where the flight director makes the decision to not tell the crew they were coming in shallow and, if they were too shallow, would bounce off the atmosphere into space and never be heard from again (and die in a few hours as the air ran out).  At the time, there wasnt a darn thing they could do about it, and they had enough mental stress dealing with every other issue.  A normal re-entry is very stressful and complicated, don't want someone farking up thinking about their odds too much IMO
 
2013-02-02 01:11:26 AM  

Science_Guy_3.14159: 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 Apollo heat shield was pretty much a thick piece of fiber glass designed to slowly burn away.  You could have run it over with a dump truck. I'm sure they considered it, but had no way of knowing. Might have been more concerned about failure of the Service Module to separate from the Command Module.  Deal with Columbia is management knew there could be a problem, and they chose to deal with it by sticking their head up their ass.  And then by saying nothing could have been done, which is of course bullshait. They probably would have dealt with Apollo 13 by cutting off radio contact with the crew and telling the press that crew died in the explosion.
 
2013-02-02 01:11:40 AM  

impaler: Obviously, you might see how parachutes in this situation could be a problem.


Yeah, I get that.  I just feel like there must be SOME kind of solution here.  I am all for space exploration and technology.  But it seems like there must be a way to figure out how to get them back safely in case of catastrophic failure, and that should be built into the price.
 
2013-02-02 01:12:10 AM  
I remember the instant poll they did that showed most people thought Saddam Hussein had shot it down over the southwestern US.
 
2013-02-02 01:12:21 AM  
I remember that day.

I was living in Tyler, Texas, at the time, about 20 miles north of where Columbia broke up. I thought my neighbor was watching some disaster movie when my apartment rattled. I was waiting for that morning's "Whad'ya know" which was to come from Ft Worth when the radio announced the break up.

My mom called me around the time it made the news and I remember picking paint off the door hinges while talking about it.

Then the next year I had a physics course that used a book that had a dedication to the loss of Columbia.

It had the wrong date.
 
2013-02-02 01:12:37 AM  

Science_Guy_3.14159: 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.


If they were in the same orbital plane at around 250km, they should be able to get to the ISS with less than 100m/s DV. Changing altitude isn't so hard. It's mostly about direction.
 
2013-02-02 01:13:14 AM  

MissFeasance: Yeah, but what I said was have a pod to bring them back, not something to launch.  Still crazy expensive, yeah, but why is there no bailout procedure?  It still wouldn't be a guarantee, but geez.  Given the choice of being in a craft that is probably going to fail and taking my chances with parachutes and possibly landing in the middle of nowhere, I'd take the latter.


All that heat that is generated during re-entry is due to compressive heating - because things in orbit have to go almost nonsensically fast (to us on the ground) to stay in orbit. If you want to jump out an re-enter, your body is going to generate the exact same compression heating as you work your way down. So it's not really 'taking your chances' as much as 'human meteorite'.
 
2013-02-02 01:13:15 AM  
There should've been some way to jettison some weight so they could've made a rendezvous with the ISS: Empty the cargo bay, dump the cargo bay doors, flush the sewage tank, something.
 
2013-02-02 01:15:32 AM  

costermonger: MissFeasance: Yeah, but what I said was have a pod to bring them back, not something to launch.  Still crazy expensive, yeah, but why is there no bailout procedure?  It still wouldn't be a guarantee, but geez.  Given the choice of being in a craft that is probably going to fail and taking my chances with parachutes and possibly landing in the middle of nowhere, I'd take the latter.

All that heat that is generated during re-entry is due to compressive heating - because things in orbit have to go almost nonsensically fast (to us on the ground) to stay in orbit. If you want to jump out an re-enter, your body is going to generate the exact same compression heating as you work your way down. So it's not really 'taking your chances' as much as 'human meteorite'.


Yeah, but if it was a pod sort of thing with the same exterior protection, just... smaller, and that had been protected inside the larger craft?  I'm not saying "hey, jump out with your parachute"
 
2013-02-02 01:15:41 AM  

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

That is part of the contreversy.


No it wasn't. The ISS was always out of the question.
 
2013-02-02 01:15:48 AM  

aerojockey: costermonger: 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.

Don't be too sure (Not safe for fark picture):

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/05/02/134597833/cosmonaut-cra sh ed-into-earth-crying-in-rage


Granted, but didn't Komarov volunteer to fly that POS just so his friend didn't have to, because he knew it to be a deathtrap?

Could create something of a different mentality than 'there's been an accident...'
 
2013-02-02 01:15:51 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.

/Sucks it couldn't have ever worked for these guys though


They did, right up until the last Shuttle flight, specifically BECAUSE of Columbia
 
2013-02-02 01:16:29 AM  

Dezilith: 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.


not true at all. mission control knew a strike had occurred, and they knew that every time this had occurred before there was some damage, but not a breach. mission control decided not to have satellites check for damage because if it was extensive this time, normally there was no way to save them and previous crews had said they would not want to know.
so what mission control knew was there was possibility it could explode, but they never verified because of a fatalistic attitude. that in turn meant they would never explore the possibility of the second orbiter rescuing them because as far as they knew everything was fine.
it was an organizational failure due to bureaucratic momentum, not lethargy and malfeasance.


"The CAIB determined that a rescue mission, though risky, might have been possible provided NASA management had taken action soon enough.[48][49] They stated that had NASA management acted in time, two possible contingency procedures were available: a rescue mission by shuttle , and an emergency Normally a rescue mission is not possible, due to the time required to prepare a shuttle for launch, and the limited consumables (power, water, air) of an orbiting shuttle. However, Atlantis was well along in processing for a planned March 1 launch on Columbia carried an unusually large quantity of consumables due to an Columbia to stay in orbit until flight day 30 (February 15). NASA investigators determined that Atlantis processing could have been expedited with no skipped safety checks for a February 10 launch. Hence if nothing went wrong there was a five-day overlap for a possible rescue. As mission control could deorbit an empty shuttle but could not control the orbiter's reentry and landing, it would likely have sent Columbia into the Pacific Ocean;[48]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Columbia_disaster#Possibl e_ emergency_procedures
 
2013-02-02 01:16:45 AM  
Hmm...break apart on reentry or suffocate.  Break apart on reentry or suffocate. Firey ball of doom or gasping and purple while that other asshole over there farts in the last bit of air and goes out  laughing.  That really would be a hard one, but I think I'd go with the break apart too.
 
2013-02-02 01:17:31 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?


Space is too big.  The ISS was only 12 degrees from their orbit and yet *WAY* too far to get to.

DarthBart: 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.


Where do you work, NASA?  You've got a doozy of a metric/American unit error there!

The OMS engines are good for 1000 ft/s, not 1000 m/s!

(And I didn't recall anything of what it was doing on that flight, I simply looked up the orbit.)

rickythepenguin: 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


Fail what?  That was an honest attempt to show why it couldn't be done, not trolling.  I simply did the orbital plane match and then a climb to the ISS's perigee.  The climb numbers were small enough I didn't concern myself with figuring out how much more is needed to match the fact that the ISS's orbit isn't circular.

It's also not perfect as climb then shift would use less fuel than shift then climb but the difference is small and I had the orbital speed at Columbia's altitude, I didn't need to try to figure it out at the ISS's altitude that way.
 
2013-02-02 01:18:10 AM  

MissFeasance: till crazy expensive, yeah, but why is there no bailout procedure?



Quit using my tax money for rescue the government, Teabagmittermisstress.
 
2013-02-02 01:18:50 AM  

MissFeasance: Yeah, but if it was a pod sort of thing with the same exterior protection, just... smaller, and that had been protected inside the larger craft?  I'm not saying "hey, jump out with your parachute"


Like a double-hull dealy? Module within the shuttle? That'd still be weight they didn't want to add to the design, and unless you can somehow eject it to clear the tumbling wreckage, it probably doesn't save you from all the g-forces and such associated with in-flight breakup at those kinds of speeds. Even if it could maintain a livable atmosphere.
 
2013-02-02 01:18:59 AM  

gadian: Hmm...break apart on reentry or suffocate.  Break apart on reentry or suffocate. Firey ball of doom or gasping and purple while that other asshole over there farts in the last bit of air and goes out  laughing.  That really would be a hard one, but I think I'd go with the break apart too.


or get picked up by the Atlantis during the most publicized and dramatic rescue mission in the history of human civilization.
that was an actual possibility.
 
2013-02-02 01:20:19 AM  

gadian: Hmm...break apart on reentry or suffocate.  Break apart on reentry or suffocate. Firey ball of doom or gasping and purple while that other asshole over there farts in the last bit of air and goes out  laughing.  That really would be a hard one, but I think I'd go with the break apart too.


That just made me think, when astronauts fart in space do they go flying across the space station from the thrust they just produced?
 
2013-02-02 01:20:30 AM  

Loren: 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?

Space is too big.  The ISS was only 12 degrees from their orbit and yet *WAY* too far to get to.


*sigh*

Again, I'm not talking about them getting to the ISS.  I'm talking about there having been an escape pod inside the shuttle.  Enough that the people can get down to earth and send the broken shuttle towards the sun or whatever.
 
2013-02-02 01:20:40 AM  

MissFeasance: Yeah, but if it was a pod sort of thing with the same exterior protection, just... smaller, and that had been protected inside the larger craft? I'm not saying "hey, jump out with your parachute"


Technically it's possible to put Gemini style escape pods for the crew, but then the shuttle couldn't carry much payload.
 
2013-02-02 01:20:59 AM  
To the 'we should've let them say goodbye crowd':

One would imagine these astronauts would be prepared, in advance, so that sobbing good byes of 'we're all going to die' are probably unnecessary. Anyone doing something so potentially deadly should get their affairs in order before hand.

Also, I was under the impression, that at the time, there were enough people involved who thought it might be ok anyway.

/Would rather die attempting re-entry then suffocate.
//Would also not want my famiy's last memory of me be my doomed goodbye.
///Those being said, why not give the guys the opportunity to try and make some halfassed attempt at fixing it with chewing gum?
 
2013-02-02 01:21:06 AM  

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


THIS!

I would have wanted to orbit until my air ran out.  Make peace with people, etc.
 
2013-02-02 01:21:39 AM  
I wonder how many of you ok with NASA saying nothing also scream the loudest when someone disagrees with assisted suicide being legal?

Its all about choice biatches and NASA took that from those people.
 
2013-02-02 01:21:57 AM  

Loren: Fail what? That was an honest attempt to show why it couldn't be done, not trolling. I simply did the orbital plane match and then a climb to the ISS's perigee. The climb numbers were small enough I didn't concern myself with figuring out how much more is needed to match the fact that the ISS's orbit isn't circular.

It's also not perfect as climb then shift would use less fuel than shift then climb but the difference is small and I had the orbital speed at Columbia's altitude, I didn't need to try to figure it out at the ISS's altitude that way.



you factored in the plane match but the apogee at the ISS perigee didn't account for the gravitational reduction of the apogee of the shuttle at syzyzgy (I mean, DERRRRRRRRR it was a full moon that night) so aside from that and the Daylight Savings Time it is a complete catastrophe.
 
2013-02-02 01:21:58 AM  

Science_Guy_3.14159: 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


Huh?  I used 7700m/s for the orbital speed, 23.1 degrees as Delta-i.  And came out with 3085 m/s delta v.
 
2013-02-02 01:23:25 AM  

costermonger: That'd still be weight they didn't want to add to the design, and unless you can somehow eject it to clear the tumbling wreckage


I get that the weight would be a shiatload of added cost, but I'm not even talking about something out of like, Fifth Element where they all jet away.  Just a pod that can take the crew and just enough power to avoid landing in like,  Tokyo or something.  

rickythepenguin: Quit using my tax money for rescue the government, Teabagmittermisstress.

*spends all of rickys money all willy nilly on bags and mascara*
 
2013-02-02 01:24:29 AM  

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

That is part of the contreversy.

No it wasn't. The ISS was always out of the question.



Sorry. I meant more of...they could of figured out some way to get them back alive, ISS or not.

If they managed to fit a square peg in a round hole in 13, there had to of been something they could of tried.
 
2013-02-02 01:25:23 AM  

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

Actually now that I think about it some more I'm not sure that's true. I think they may have kept the service module attached for longer in part to decrease the risk, but they may have had to do that anyway. I forget.


OK, one more comment on this topic.

In  Lost Moon Lovell describes a meeting a ton of people had after the accident to plan a broad strategy for return. The plans varied the length of the PC+2 burn that is mentioned but not shown in the movie. (That's not the burn that  is shown, with the craft under manual control; that came a while later. PC+2 means "two hours after the pericynthion", where pericynthion  is the closest point to the moon.) The longest burn would get the craft back to Earth 36 hours after the burn (the fastest they could get back); the middle would be ~40 hours later (almost as fast, but with a better landing spot); the longest, about 64 hours after the burn.

The benefit of the last burn (which was ultimately chosen) was that the first two would require ditching the SM before the burn -- way back near the moon -- and that would expose the heat shield to colder temperatures which could possibly damage it during the trip back. NASA wasn't even sure that this would be a good idea even for a heat shield in good condition, so they were even more hesitant to do it for Apollo 13.

So I'm part right and part wrong. Lovell's account certainly paints the picture that NASA decided to go with the long burn in order to minimize the damage to the heat shield. At the same time, if they had actually known that it was damaged -- there's no real proactive measures they took or could have taken to fix it.
 
2013-02-02 01:25:35 AM  

gadian: Hmm...break apart on reentry or suffocate.  Break apart on reentry or suffocate. Firey ball of doom or gasping and purple while that other asshole over there farts in the last bit of air and goes out  laughing. That really would be a hard one, but I think I'd go with the break apart too.


There are reasons why people like you do not make the final cut of astronaut training.
 
2013-02-02 01:25:48 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.


1. It wan't going to be a slow, messy death.
2. These people weren't your average neighbors.  They were highly-trained professionals and were expected, by society and themselves, to act with nobility until the end.
 
2013-02-02 01:27:50 AM  

MissFeasance: DarthBart: Launches are extremely expensive per pound.  Every pound of cargo that goes up takes more fuel.

Yeah, but what I said was have a pod to bring them back, not something to launch. Still crazy expensive, yeah, but why is there no bailout procedure?  It still wouldn't be a guarantee, but geez.  Given the choice of being in a craft that is probably going to fail and taking my chances with parachutes and possibly landing in the middle of nowhere, I'd take the latter.


What the hell do you think is going to get that pod up there?  Magic?
 
2013-02-02 01:27:51 AM  

aerojockey: costermonger: 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.

Don't be too sure (Not safe for fark picture):

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/05/02/134597833/cosmonaut-cra sh ed-into-earth-crying-in-rage


There was more going on there -- He knew the craft was doomed before he even got off the ground but the russian government basicly said "if you dont go we will shoot you, maybe your family, and we will force your best friend yuri to go instead."

Yeah i would have lost my shiat. He had beefs in life that deserved airing.
 
2013-02-02 01:28:17 AM  

MissFeasance: Loren: 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?

Space is too big.  The ISS was only 12 degrees from their orbit and yet *WAY* too far to get to.

*sigh*

Again, I'm not talking about them getting to the ISS.  I'm talking about there having been an escape pod inside the shuttle.  Enough that the people can get down to earth and send the broken shuttle towards the sun or whatever.


too much weight.
too much overhead.
profitability.
it's like having 1/3 your quicky mart completely devoid of items for purchase.
it was designed to be competitive with traditional rockets in the satellite delivery service.
 
2013-02-02 01:28:30 AM  

backtothemusic.files.wordpress.com

MissFeasance:
I'm talking about there having been an escape pod inside the shuttle. Enough that the people can get down to earth and send the broken shuttle towards the sun or whatever.



Wow....a magical "pod" in which the principals "escape" while in outer space?  Is this a scarab-shaped "pod" by any chance?

I see you, Neil Schon and Steve Perry mittermistress.
 
2013-02-02 01:28:38 AM  
During their reentry the person on NASA TV stated they were 71 statute miles up in altitude with a speed of 17,000MPH.
I don't know what orientation and speed they were at relative to the ISS but I'd imagine maneuvering there and slowing down to dock with little thruster fuel would be impossible.
Heck, it was probably an impossibility to even get to the ISS in the first place.

/not a rocket scientist.
 
2013-02-02 01:28:56 AM  

MissFeasance: I get that the weight would be a shiatload of added cost, but I'm not even talking about something out of like, Fifth Element where they all jet away.  Just a pod that can take the crew and just enough power to avoid landing in like,  Tokyo or something.


Oh yeah, it's definitely technically feasible, but based on Mercury, Gemini and Soyuz capsules, you're talking ~2000-3000lbs of capsule per person. The shuttle could haul that much weight around all the time, and it had the room in the cargo bay, but there'd be basically no capacity left for it to do it's job.
 
2013-02-02 01:29:10 AM  
I thought i recalled that they had the astronaughts drift with the hole facing away from the sun for some time so that it would freeze, and be more able to withstand the re-entry.
 
2013-02-02 01:29:19 AM  

DarthBart: 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.


I'm feverish and tired so I'll leave this:

I'm aware that mission sometimes dictates other orbits that are not conducive to an ISS intercept.  Those orbits should be now considered extreme high risk and only missions that require that amount of attention should be authorized.  An example of this type of mission would be to stop an extraterrestrial being from dry humping it which is making it return to earth.

Saying that, I think that any aircraft regardless of nationality leaving the atmosphere and attaining orbit would be wise to plan a stop by the only piece of livable real estate up there.  You know, in case shiat.

If such a contingiency plan was implemented then it would be a wise idea that one of the upcoming missions of whatever, be it a manned or unmanned flight, from WHATEVER country, take some extra blankets and shiat up there to the space tree house in case unplanned guests show up for dinner.

I used to work for Boeing, I am INTENTLY aware that the NASA manned space program has been discontinued.

/I ain't mad
//Noravirus sucks
 
2013-02-02 01:29:43 AM  
They could have docked with Skylab and then rendezvoused with Hubble. It would have bought them the time to disarm the nuke.
 
2013-02-02 01:30:00 AM  
Why didn't they just fly down to the ISS?
 
2013-02-02 01:30:21 AM  

relcec: too much weight.
too much overhead.
profitability.
it's like having 1/3 your quicky mart completely devoid of items for purchase.


Yeah, I get that.  But if NASA was like, "hey, we need an extra zillion dollars so they can escape if necessary" I wouldn't be like, "oh jeez, now I can't afford to buy organic veggies this week."
 
2013-02-02 01:31:13 AM  
How long would they have had before they ran out of air? More to the point, how long would they have lived if, from the moment someone on the ground had the "oh, shiat!" moment, they'd done everything they could to extend the time that human beings could survive inside the orbiter?

I get that they couldn't make it to the ISS (or could they? has anybody asked?), and I get that not every problem has an Apollo 13-style solution. But are we talking extra hours, or extra months?

Obviously, that's not a calculation you bother making unless you're awfully damn sure that they're DEFINITELY going to blow up. And NASA has some practice being coldhearted motherfarkers about this stuff. Remember the plan if the Apollo 11 lander wouldn't start, and Armstrong and Aldrin were stranded on the moon? It went like this:

1:00 Priest administers last rites via radio.
1:05 Nixon makes a touching speech.
1:10 Mournful military music.
1:11 Radio receivers turned right the fark off so nobody has to listen to those guys screaming about how they're not dead yet.
 
2013-02-02 01:31:32 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?


There are some questions you really don't WANT the real answer to...

i.crackedcdn.com

Held air for one hour, was NOT heat (or worse, cold) resistant, and was pretty much put there as a "sure we can save you" sop.  I think they were removed LONG before STS107
 
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