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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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Archived thread
2013-02-01 09:00:37 PM  
16 votes:
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
2013-02-02 01:16:29 AM  
7 votes:

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 12:27:57 AM  
7 votes:
Shuttle has to launch to the right orbit to reach ISS.  it cannot get there unless that was the original launch plan.
2013-02-02 01:06:50 AM  
6 votes:
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 12:26:34 AM  
6 votes:
I don't buy it.  There's an escape capsule at the Space Station.  Some could have come back on it while the others either waited for rescue or attempted re-entry.  And if that kind of decision was made, it wouldn't be some big consensus that was discussed amongst a large group - 1 or 2 very high ranking people would have made that call in secret.

1.bp.blogspot.com
2013-02-01 09:51:58 PM  
6 votes:
Ummm... I seem to remember telling us of this risk. Like, before re-entry. Maybe not NASA, but NASA-type people.

The risk was there. They all knew the risk. That is why Astronauts are some bad motherf*ckers and many of us wanted to be one as a kid.

It's not because it is boring and without risk.
2013-02-01 10:07:31 PM  
5 votes:

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.
2013-02-02 12:30:31 AM  
4 votes:

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.


Actually they couldn't.  The station was in a  totally different orbit than the shuttle.  After the main engines go off, and the big fuel tank the shuttle rides up on is jettisoned, there's no way to significantly alter it's orbit.  They can make minor corrections, and burn to de orbit, but moving to a completely different orbital path is beyond it's capabilities.

This is one of the reasons  that we almost didn't get the last Hubble servicing mission.  It's not possible for the shuttle to make it to the ISS from the Hubble, due to the differences in orbit.  The shuttle just doesn't carry the fuel to do that kind of maneuver.
2013-02-02 12:23:02 AM  
4 votes:
Couldn't the shuttle dock at the ISS?
2013-02-01 11:35:59 PM  
4 votes:
There was nothing they could have done to fix it and telling them would have done nothing.  I don't blame them for that.
2013-02-02 01:20:59 AM  
3 votes:
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 12:47:57 AM  
3 votes:

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 12:44:11 AM  
3 votes:
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 12:30:31 AM  
3 votes:

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

Don't you farking tell me that they would not have at least tried SOMETHING if they knew people were gonna die.
2013-02-02 12:29:25 AM  
3 votes:

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.
2013-02-02 12:28:39 AM  
3 votes:

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?
2013-02-02 12:05:29 AM  
3 votes:

ecmoRandomNumbers: 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.

The impending doom is so sad, though. So many people knew they wouldn't make it. :(


There was no guarantee they were doomed, there wasn't enough information.  It was likely, but there was no absolute proof.
2013-02-01 09:45:44 PM  
3 votes:

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.



Please her anyway.

Why take chances?


;-)
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-02-01 09:17:33 PM  
3 votes:
The blog is better reading than the metablog: http://waynehale.wordpress.com/.
2013-02-03 02:07:32 AM  
2 votes:
I remember being totally shocked the morning that this happened.

I'm a big space nut and have spent way too much time using Orbiter Spaceflight Simulator. I remember this mission really well even before the disaster because Columbia was in such little use after ISS construction started. I'm really puzzled by all the claims of "Ohhh I TOTALLY remember that everyone knew during the whole mission that this crew was doomed."

Can anybody post any contemporaneous links to Fark threads or news articles from before the disaster showing that there was real concern that Columbia's re-entry was facing serious danger. I don't recall people in churches praying for a safe outcome before re-entry and I don't remember anyone huddled around their TVs with their fingers crossed for a safe outcome.

Watching LeRoy Cain in Mission Control as the disaster unfolds, everyone looks totally bewildered by the loss of temperature transducers in the left wing. As they lost contact during Columbia's break-up the look on people's faces in Mission Control seems far more to say "WTF IS GOING ON??" than to say "Here comes that disaster we were all expecting."

Even after the disaster, senior NASA engineers were saying that they didn't see HOW the foam could have damaged the tiles or RCC panels. They compared it to running into an empty styrofoam cooler on the highway with your car.

There was even a few weeks after the accident where there were suggestions that the accident might have been caused by high altitude plasma, sprites or lightning strikes. There was also speculation about terrorism because of the Israeli astronaut and the lead-up to the Iraq war.

It wasn't until months later when they collected the debris they could find and CAIB was well into its work that they took the same RCC panels off the Enterprise and fired foam blocks at it that everyone realized how wrong their assumptions were.

A few other things:

Those people who compare the Red Bull balloon jump from a craft going less than 100 knots IAS with jumping from a shuttle at 17,000 knots don't have a clue what they are talking about. Ain 't the same ballpark, ain't the same league, ain't even the same farkin' sport.

Also, the foam strike was NOT detected in real-time. NASA's long-range tracking cameras used film and were not digital or video. If that is how you remember it then your memory is faulty.

"Video taken during lift-off of STS-107 was routinely reviewed two hours later and revealed nothing unusual. The following day, higher-resolution film that had been processed overnight revealed the foam debris striking the left wing, potentially damaging the thermal protection on the Space Shuttle. At the time, the exact location where the foam struck the wing could not be determined due to the low resolution of the tracking camera footage."

The disaster had the same root causes as the Apollo 1 fire and Challenger; A lack of imagination and complacency.

Nobody really stopped to consider that there was real danger in putting shoddy wiring and astronauts in a pressurized, pure oxygen environment, or that sub-freezing temperatures would render a rubber O-ring ineffective or that suitcase-sized chunks of icy-foam ripping off in a Mach 2.5 slipstream could punch a hole in RCC shuttle wing panels.

All three NASA disasters also suffered from prior success of risky behavior. AKA "We've done this a bunch of times before and nothing bad happened. That must mean it's safe."

And for the sake of beating a dead horse, no, there was no possibility for the shuttle or ISS to change their orbital velocity or inclination nearly enough for the crew to use the ISS as a lifeboat. If you don't want to believe me or the CAIB then go set-up a spaceflight simulator and show us how it's done. Orbiter Sim is free and excellent. The analogy about the how the Titanic should have just docked with a ship in the Pacific Ocean is a great example of how impossible the just-go-to-the-ISS scenario was.

No on-orbit tile repair had ever been attempted. NASA never even bothered to survey the black tile areas for damage until after Columbia. That's when the laser-camera inspection boom and pre-docking backflip were added to the shiattle's bag of tricks. Before that NASA just hoped for the best because they couldn't do anything to fix any damage that might be found which in hindsight was incredibly careless and stupid.

Regarding the crew not being told about the foam strike, that is not accurate.

http://www.iasa.com.au/folders/Safety_Issues/RiskManagement/columbiat o ld.html

"On Thursday, Jan. 23, flight director Steve Stich sent a personal e-mail to Columbia's commander, Rick Husband, and pilot, William McCool.

Stich's e-mail said he wanted to notify the crew that a piece of foam had fallen off the external fuel tank during launch Jan. 16 and hit the shuttle's left wing.

The event, Stich said in the e-mail, ''is not even worth mentioning'' except that there was a news conference with the crew in a few days. He told Husband and McCool that he wanted ''to make sure that you are not surprised by it in a question from a reporter.'' The e-mail said, ''Experts have reviewed the high speed photography, and there is no concern for RCC or tile damage. . . . there is absolutely no concern for entry.''

While NASA's damage assessment in this email turned out not to be accurate, it seems far more an indication of how NASA was fooling themselves than that the whole world knew about impending disaster and wanted to keep the crew in the dark.

All that being said, it seems pretty unlikely that NASA, Space X or any other American launch entity will produce a manned orbital system again without full abort capability through all phases of launch. I'm pretty sure everybody has learned that lesson.

It also seems unlikely that they will go into space without being able to survey the craft for damage prior to re-entry.
2013-02-02 02:43:39 PM  
2 votes:
On the early Shuttle missions, there was the recurring problem of the insulation tiles falling off. During those missions, one of the crew would space walk and replace the missing heat resistant tiles with some type of Space Shuttle "Bondo".

Why couldn't that have been done with Columbia?
2013-02-02 02:51:26 AM  
2 votes:
Before bed, I'll re-state that NASA's Max Faget had a better shuttle design in every way that counts. It perched atop the booster so it could abort and fly away from the explosion under it.  But due to mission creep and the DOD adding too many requirements for space warefare scenarios, the design went from a sort of spacegoing Porche to a space-going mack truck. From a titanium airframe around the size of a Grumman G-6 Gulfstream, with an all steel and alloy thermal protection system to a ship the size of a commercial jetliner, with the aluminum airframe with ceramic bricks on it.   The Smaller Faget styled ship had  amore vertical, fully-stalled decent profile, very similar to what Rutan's Space Ship One used, which was slower and less hot and safer. But DOD wanted huge cross-range and the ability to launch and retrieve  spy sats, not necessarily just our own, and land any farking where with enough runway.  Original shuttle even had jet engines for self-ferrying and go-around capability on the landing approach, deleted to save weight.

The Rockwell design was a camel, you know, the horse as designed by committee. Only more like a camel after a ride in a blender.

The HL-20-like private commercial shuttle design in development will be more like Max's original idea and it will work better.
2013-02-02 02:10:47 AM  
2 votes:

Jensaarai: 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.

Usually, I appreciate your "defense of government" posts on this site, but in this case you need to go fark yourself raw.

There's the standard risk inherent in space travel, then there is "you will probably die shortly, would you like to wait it out, get yourself in order (spiritually) record any last words now that you know it's likely etc.

Even if there's nothing that can be done, you give the heroes the choice. They are trained to handle it. You don't make the choice for them. NASA farked up here, and none of the people who made this choice deserve to hold a government job ever again.


NASA farked up in 1981 on this point, when the rookie Crippen was the pilot and Young was the mission commander.  Ever since then, the Shuttle pilots have been considered less pilots and more truck drivers.  Eventually, it got to the point where the Mission Commander wasn't necessarily a trained astronaut.  At least with Apollo, Apollo 1 provided a HUGE wakeup call, that this shiat was still dangerous.  It took a bit longer for the Shuttles to try to teach that lesson, and then, it was easily blamed on an O-ring, so the lesson really never got learned as well as it should have.
2013-02-02 01:56:19 AM  
2 votes:
The next time Texas whines about not getting a Space Shuttle, remind them that they got the Columbia.
2013-02-02 01:48:11 AM  
2 votes:

Watubi: The choice wasn't how they were to die, it was whether or not NASA wanted to have a permanent grave floating in space.  The public would have demanded they retrieved the bodies and NASA, not being able to do it, would have to deal with two publicity disasters instead of one



except for the entire part about The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) saying the crew could have been saved by the shuttle Atlantis. nevermind that your idea that they couldn't retrieve bodies or anything similarly sized from orbit at a later date is incredibly asinine. if you aren't even cognizant of the fact that the shuttle can pick shiat up in space, really wtf are you doing in here? you know most nine year old boys are probably aware of that.


"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 01:37:30 AM  
2 votes:
I recall in the weeks after, some space boffin did in fact cobble together a series of improbable events that could have resulted in a rescue.  My recollection is faulty now, but I think it had to do with a European cargo supply rocket almost ready to launch, that could have been re-purposed and programmed to rendezvous with the Columbia to bring additional air and some kind of repair kit. The ideas for on-orbit repair were creative; one proposed filling the hole with water ice which would boil off carrying away heat until they could get lower and slower. Other ideas involved slapping extra carbon-carbon over the break and using shuttle tile sealant or bits of spare tiles jammed in there. That trick might have been possible for the crew to do themselves by stealing tiles off a less vital section, though I don't know that they would have had the tile repair kit and glue gun later shuttles had.   The list of improbables assumed that the ATV launch would buy the crew time for the next shuttle to speed thru checkout and launch with one volunteer pilot to go get them. The Columbia would have then been scuttled, as it had no on-orbit refuel capability, something NASA is just this year experimenting with.

I'll tell you this: I think the crew should have been told.  The messages they would have composed for their families and the world would have moved and inspired this planet for a generation. Next to getting to live some more, that's not bad for the consolation prize.
2013-02-02 01:35:02 AM  
2 votes:
www.wearysloth.com

"He's a pilot. You tell him the condition of his craft!"
2013-02-02 01:32:16 AM  
2 votes:
The choice wasn't how they were to die, it was whether or not NASA wanted to have a permanent grave floating in space.  The public would have demanded they retrieved the bodies and NASA, not being able to do it, would have to deal with two publicity disasters instead of one
2013-02-02 01:25:23 AM  
2 votes:

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 01:03:33 AM  
2 votes:

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 01:00:53 AM  
2 votes:

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 12:57:16 AM  
2 votes:
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 12:42:47 AM  
2 votes:

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


No. Totally different orbit. It barely has enough fuel to do a retro burn to get back to Earth.
2013-02-02 12:35:52 AM  
2 votes:
I don't buy this story...last understanding I had was that the frontline engineers thought there might be a problem, but management was incredulous at the idea a piece of foam could cause damage.
2013-02-02 12:34:11 AM  
2 votes:

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


because you farking asshole
they had families and children and friends
they could have spent their last hours saying their goodbyes
instead the nasa pukes "killed" them ....

so sad
2013-02-02 12:23:09 AM  
2 votes:
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.
2013-02-01 10:53:15 PM  
2 votes:

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"?



I'd rather read about it first on Fark.
2013-02-01 09:13:26 PM  
2 votes:
Wasn't most, if not all, of this known soon after the disaster?

/because I know I read about it somewhere
2013-02-03 02:58:54 PM  
1 vote:

nero_design: Columbia was UNDOUBTEDLY destroyed by a bolt of what is know called "Megalightning" during re-entry.  This event was even captured on video and by photographers during the re-entry phase.  NASA attempted to debunk this possibility although many NASA scientists have since recanted and have even released further evidence to show that they now support this theory for the event.  At the time, this for of lightning was poorly understood but has since been captured by the ISS.  It's a strange turn of events because Columbia's mission was to study "Sprites"... which are in fact related to Megalightning.  How's that for a turn of events?  Even the AUDIO of the stike was recorded by other scientists attempting to capture sound from Megalightning at the precise moment that Columbia was hit, proving wrong NASA's original decree that camera-blur might be the cause of the lightning strike that showed up on the pictures (one of which I have linked below). The camera was on a tripod so there was no blur.  Reminds me of the FBI claiming Flight 800 blew up due to a problem with the fuel pumps, even though law enforcement gave written testimony of a "flare-like rocket launching from the surface of the ocean to rise up and strike the aircraft, triggering an explosion".   I don't understand America's need to alter eyewitness testimony when major events are involved.  Perhaps someone can explain it to me.

[www.holoscience.com image 398x299]
An image (above) showing visible "etching" from the powerful lightning strike on the heat shield of Columbia after the crash.  This is how we know for certain that the bolt eventually struck the shuttle.  It was witnessed and even captured on camera.

There are THOUSANDS of webpages, many from recognized scientific groups, which detail the events leading to the destruction of the Space Shuttle Columbia from this event and at the time, NASA refused to even consider that such lightning could occur without matching weather conditions (now debunked).

h ...



This is, to put it as politely as possible, an urban legend.

There was no lightning strike, mega or otherwise. There were no thunderstorms along the re-entry track. The "lightning" in the image was caused by the camera moving when the button was pushed to begin the time exposure.

As for your link...um. Even if there had been a coronal mass ejection from the sun reaching the earth during shuttle re-entry, such an event does NOT cause a "shock wave" in the atmosphere, since a CME a) is not a sharply defined wavefront and b) is far less dense than the earth's atmosphere, even at LEO. The increased drag on orbiting objects occurs gradually as the energy from the CME heats the uppermost atmosphere. The charged particles in the CME do energize the Van Allen belts, but these are at a much higher altitude than the shuttle, and this energy is then channeled along magnetic field lines to the earth's magnetic poles, which are nowhere near the shuttle's re-entry track.

I'll trust the CAIB report over some self-proclaimed "experts," tyvm.
2013-02-03 01:13:01 PM  
1 vote:
I laugh at all the armchair scientist in this thread. Your IQ is below 140, your arguments are invalid here.
2013-02-03 04:17:16 AM  
1 vote:
Thanks for posting those links C18.

In the first Fark thread about the accident, only one comment in the first 50 mentioned the foam strike and nobody in the comments said anything along the lines of "Oh we totally saw this coming" or "We knew this crew was doomed."

I was happy to also see that there were no comments about why didn't Columbia dock with ISS.

The comment about how Columbia should have had fighters escorting it during re-entry was pretty funny though.
2013-02-03 03:13:53 AM  
1 vote:
There is also an STS-107 mission summary here that gives a timeline of events from deorbit burn to loss.
2013-02-03 03:02:28 AM  
1 vote:
1440 GMT (9:40 a.m. EST)
During a mission status news conference yesterday, Entry Flight Director Leroy Cain was asked about any possible damage to the shuttle's thermal tiles during launch. The tiles are what protect the shuttle during the fiery reentry into Earth's atmosphere.

Tracking video of launch shows what appears to be a piece of foam insulation from the shuttle's external tank falling away during ascent and hitting the shuttle's left wing near its leading edge.

But Cain said engineers "took a very thorough look at the situation with the tile on the left wing and we have no concerns whatsoever. We haven't changed anything with respect to our trajectory design. It will be a nominal, standard trajectory."


That was from the first Fark thread about the disaster here followed immediately by this main thread.
2013-02-03 02:36:50 AM  
1 vote:
Okay, what's more likely?

1.) An icy chunk of external tank foam the size of a suitcase rips loose 90 seconds into launch in Mach 2.5 slipstream and smashes into the RCC panels on the left wing punching a hole and fatally wounding Columbia's thermal protection system. This impact is recorded on long-range tracking cameras. The potential for damage is discussed between NASA engineers and management during the mission. Columbia's telemetry on re-entry shows high temperatures inside the length of the left wing behind the foam impact point and excessive yawing from the assymetric drag. The shuttle tumbles out of control and breaks up with the recovered debris all being consistent with the foam-strike being the root-cause.

2.) High-Altitude sprites or megalightning struck Columbia and destroyed it out of the blue in a manner totally consistent with foam-strike damage while NASA was coincidentally concerned about a left-wing foam-strike damage.

Might as well just blame it on HAARP, North Korean remote viewing psychics and reverse-vampires.
2013-02-03 12:23:14 AM  
1 vote:

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: common sense is an oxymoron: jerrytaylor: If the tires did actually burst (instead of leaking air gradually), the crew would have heard and/or felt it. No mention was made of anything like that before communications were lost, and by that time the shuttle was already yawing at the maximum rate the sensors could read out (10 deg/sec, IIRC)

Actually, the tire pressure sensors DID indicate increased pressures (heat) then failed....well documented in the transcripts and in the board's final report in telemetry sections. And there is no indicator that the crew felt or heard a burst, just the sensor data they were sharing with ground.  They did know that something major was wrong causing [apparently] anomalous readings in multiple systems -- never a good thing.

Keeping them in the dark about the probabilities and theories -- a HORRIBLY wrong thing, on every level.


Yes, the tires were being heated, but that wasn't the cause of the shuttle's breakup. And (again, IIRC from the CAIB report) the specific cluster of anomalous readings, including the tire pressures, pointed to overheating of the left wing. Given the known foam strike to the wing, at least some of the NASA people on the ground knew exactly what was happening as the catastrophe developed.

I agree that keeping the astronauts ignorant was wrong. After all, nobody was more aware of the fact that they were putting their lives on the line with every flight. In this case, they would have had several minutes after the telemetry pattern became clear to say their good-byes, but that's about all they could have done.

The tire was destroyed (what was left was found in the debris) but the wjng broke up because the hot air going in the hole in the RCC acted like a plasma cutting torch and cut through some of the structure.



Both were occurring: The wing was being eroded from within (causing the telemetry anomalies) and asymmetric drag was slewing the shuttle (causing the attitude anomalies). At some point, the shuttle's attitude-control system was unable to cope with the increasing aerodynamic asymmetry. It is certainly plausible that the damaged wing was the first major structure to break up, but it is unknown whether this occurred before or after the shuttle went from aerodynamic flight to uncontrolled tumbling.

This seems to be a difference which makes no difference.

The wheel-well telemetry showed a gradual temperature increase, followed by a pressure drop, suggesting a nonexplosive venting as the tire overheated and softened. Frictional and/or aerodynamic heating post-breakup did the rest of the damage.
2013-02-02 09:01:27 PM  
1 vote:

SarcasticFark: Witness99: That decision strikes me as disrespectful and undignified. They should have told them so they had the opportunity to close out their life properly, saying goodbye and anything else they needed to say to their loved ones. They could have received a warm flood of thank you for your sacrifice from the world.

These people were highly trained, highly disciplined, courageous individuals. They could have handled it and probably would have appreciated the respect. Then, they could still TRY to make it anyway, knowing the likely outcome.

\had a summer internship at NASA JSC doing research on the heat resistant tiles in the nineties

As has been clarified in the thread, NASA did NOT know ahead of time.

As far as the whole argument that the crew should be told in a situation like this in order to allow them to say their goodbyes, etc...I will leave you with this thought:

I'm rather sure that these highly trained, highly disciplined and courageous individuals were smart enough to get their emotional and personal affairs in order LONG BEFORE they strapped their asses to a thousands of gallons of highly flammable material and rode it into space.  Astronauts and their families ARE prepared for these types of situations in every way possible.


Also, I'd be shocked if NASA, a highly regimented, risk analysis oriented organization didn't already have policy in place on whether or not to tell the crew of a hopeless situation, and the astronauts would know the policy and the reasoning behind it.

/whether or not that policy would've been relevant in this case is irrelevant to this point
2013-02-02 05:04:13 PM  
1 vote:

jerrytaylor: If the tires did actually burst (instead of leaking air gradually), the crew would have heard and/or felt it. No mention was made of anything like that before communications were lost, and by that time the shuttle was already yawing at the maximum rate the sensors could read out (10 deg/sec, IIRC)

Actually, the tire pressure sensors DID indicate increased pressures (heat) then failed....well documented in the transcripts and in the board's final report in telemetry sections. And there is no indicator that the crew felt or heard a burst, just the sensor data they were sharing with ground.  They did know that something major was wrong causing [apparently] anomalous readings in multiple systems -- never a good thing.

Keeping them in the dark about the probabilities and theories -- a HORRIBLY wrong thing, on every level.



the theory was that nothing was wrong.
the shuttle had never experienced life threatening damage in 100 missions even though those foam strikes on the tiles happen quite often and tiles had even been knocked off.

the assumptions, theories, and estimations of mission control proved faulty, and perhaps with a different organizational structure these problems would have gotten worked out prior to a disaster, but I think that also means there absolutely wasn't an active decision taken to withhold information from the crew. they knew that there was a possibility of serious structural damage, but they thought it was extremely unlikely, and this affected the decision making all down the line.

it's just an unfortunate example of how bad humans can be at rating risk, especially after a long series of examples of successfully avoiding it are presented, and the tendency of groups of people to reinforce their bad decisions or something.
2013-02-02 03:52:57 PM  
1 vote:

C18H27NO3: Soulcatcher: These people go through an arduous screening process with hours and hours of psychological testing. It's not like they fill out a one page application and are on the space shuttle 10 days later.

From what I've read, NASA astronauts train for 2 years before considered mission-ready.


And they still occasionally end up driving cross country in diapers to try (and fail) to kill their pretend-lover's lover.
2013-02-02 03:47:54 PM  
1 vote:
Everyone knew. I did.

"Sir, the heat shield is damaged, part fell off."

"Oh, what do they need that for?"

"Re-entery sir"

"Oh, well they probably don't really need it, tell em to come back in anyhow."

"Sir?"
2013-02-02 03:16:54 PM  
1 vote:

Nayman: The one thing I haven't heard anyone mention is the landing gear...

I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but...

I seem to remember reading that what ultimately caused the breakup was the heating of the main tires. They heated to the point of exploding, and that sheared the wing clean off, causing tumbling and breakup and such...

I'm wondering if that tire had been deflated, maybe the structure would have held together just long enough to make it through the deceleration and then maybe they could have bailed (I think shuttles had an in-atmosphere escape system) or just landed on deflated gear and hoped for the best.

Of course, this is all hindsight, and deflating the main gear would have been adding tons of danger to what might have been a non-problematic landing... Also, maybe you can't get to the tires in space... Might only open those doors in atmosphere...

And also maybe you can't deflate them without special tools, and I doubt you're gonna want to just slash them...

Also, maybe the air venting would screw up their attitutude due to venting...

WHO KNOWS! CONSPIRACY~!¿!?!
 "W?



It was apparently the increased drag from the damaged wing which caused Columbia to yaw off-axis beyond the capacity of the attitude-control thrusters to compensate for. The shuttle was then no longer stable and started to tumble, and at Mach 17 the aerodynamic forces literally tore the shuttle apart.

If the tires did actually burst (instead of leaking air gradually), the crew would have heard and/or felt it. No mention was made of anything like that before communications were lost, and by that time the shuttle was already yawing at the maximum rate the sensors could read out (10 deg/sec, IIRC)
2013-02-02 12:44:26 PM  
1 vote:

OnlyM3: Your weight comment is certainly on the money, but you are aware that the Challenger astronauts survived the explosion and decent, right? (It was the impact w/ the Atlantic that killed them all).


Yeah, the Challenger didn't actually explode either, it was just water vapour that made it look like it did. The Challenger was broken up by the off-axis airflow it experienced after the stack started to fail. The thing that made it's breakup relatively survivable was that it occurred at relatively (compared to re-entry) slow speed and in thicker atmosphere, so heat wasn't really a concern and the denser air broke the shuttle apart very quickly, separating the crew module. Columbia was a lot faster and a lot higher, so it was less of an aerodynamic failure than a thermal one - so it failed a lot more gradually and could conceivably induce a lot more physical strain on the crew because the crew module wouldn't get spat out the front neatly like Challenger. Interestingly (sadly, maybe) the Columbia's crew module did remain intact remarkably long too (something like a minute after the breakup started).

The problem for some kind of escape capsule for use in re-entry vehicle failure is that if it's flight is anything other than stable, it's useless. It needs to orient it's heat shield into the oncoming air *and* not induce physiologically unacceptable g-forces while doing so.

Four Horsemen of the Domestic Dispute: [www.popsci.com image 525x394]
Ice and foam had always been falling off that tank.  They could never figure out how to stop it.  The damage had always been a few tiles here and there.  They examined the launch video and determined that there wasn't damage.   This guy that is blogging is full of crap.  They came to the conclusion that there wasn't any damage.  These guys just hate to admit they were wrong.  By making up this crap he's basically saying 'we knew there was damage'  we weren't wrong.  Notice he says this now,  AFTER his boss died.  Because his boss would have called him on the BS.


Columbia happened because NASA management allowed 'that isn't behaving the way it was designed to, but it didn't hurt anything important' to turn into - over the length of the shuttle program - 'it's not supposed to do that, but it can't do any real damage'. They knew there was potential for some damage - in fact their simulations said it might be so bad that they actually believed there was some error in the simulation - but they effectively brushed it off because none of the previous 105 cycles had led to serious problems.

From a safety management perspective, it's fascinating. So many smart people making so many false assumptions.
2013-02-02 10:20:03 AM  
1 vote:
...There was another reason that Columbia couldn't make it to the ISS - it was too heavy.   Columbia was the first operational shuttle (Enterprise was strictly an atmospheric test vehicle) and as such was built with materials, equipment, and designs that made her heavier by some distance (something like three or four tons) than the others.  Alone of the shuttles in service when the ISS went up, only Columbia never visited.  There was a plan to give her an airlock that would have enabled her to dock at the ISS but that installation was planned for late '03.  Even if somehow she could have made it to the ISS' orbit, there was no way for Columbia to dock with it - the crew would have had to spacewalked over, and that would have been a problem in and of itself.

My dad had just retired from NASA Lewis-Glenn in September of '02, and he was supposed to have received an award for some experiment support equipment he had designed that was aboard Columbia when she went down - IIRC one of the crew members was to have presented the award.
2013-02-02 10:05:27 AM  
1 vote:
www.popsci.com
Ice and foam had always been falling off that tank.  They could never figure out how to stop it.  The damage had always been a few tiles here and there.  They examined the launch video and determined that there wasn't damage.   This guy that is blogging is full of crap.  They came to the conclusion that there wasn't any damage.  These guys just hate to admit they were wrong.  By making up this crap he's basically saying 'we knew there was damage'  we weren't wrong.  Notice he says this now,  AFTER his boss died.  Because his boss would have called him on the BS.
2013-02-02 06:33:48 AM  
1 vote:

Gyrfalcon: relcec: Jensaarai: 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.

Usually, I appreciate your "defense of government" posts on this site, but in this case you need to go fark yourself raw.

There's the standard risk inherent in space travel, then there is "you will probably die shortly, would you like to wait it out, get yourself in order (spiritually) record any last words now that you know it's likely etc.

Even if there's nothing that can be done, you give the heroes the choice. They are trained to handle it. You don't make the choice for them. NASA farked up here, and none of the people who made this choice deserve to hold a government job ever again.

mission control did not KNOW THE SHUTTLE HAD A F*CKING PROBLEM.
they knew there was the potential for one, but they never knew god damit.
they refused an engineer request to get a NSA satellite to take photos of the shuttle because a fatalistic momentum with regard to serious problems developed, BUT STILL THEY DID NOT KNOW ANYTHING WAS WRONG. they knew it was but a possibility.
I'm gonna stay here all night until you f*ckwits get that basic fact into your brains.

Dude, nobody is going to get that into their heads. There have been at least two books written about the subject and still nobody has gotten the basic idea that the engineers had to convince the top brass that there was enough of  a problem to get photos that would have confirmed there was a problem before they could get the photos that would have convinced the brass there was a problem.

Anything after that (i.e. "They could have attempted a rescue") is Tuesday-evening rehashing of Monday-morning quarterbacking at this point, because without those photos, there's no way to know what might have been seen, let alone done.


The problem with the masses, and I included, is we just couldn't seem to grasp that there isn't SOMETHING that they could of done, something that we could accept. This is my generations Challenger, it'll always be a shock to us and we will always try to read something into it and attempt to find some reasoning into this even though it is a risk that these seven astronauts have accepted.

We can't wrap our heads around it, just like 9-11. We just want to believe that there was something that could of been done that would of prevented the tragedies and deaths involved and we're happy to nitpick the details even after the fact going 'what if?'.

I have to admit...I'm happy that even after 10 years, this is something we all still remember and talk about. We haven't forgotten.
2013-02-02 06:19:50 AM  
1 vote:

Rreal: 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.


Astronauts are chosen for NOT having those qualities.
2013-02-02 06:04:47 AM  
1 vote:
A lot of people are mentioning they would have wanted the chance to say good bye to their families. Personally, I think they made those goodbyes before launch. Looking at the odds of dying on a space ship. I'll bet they would have assumed if they are gonna die, it will be during launch; obviously preventing the opportunity for one last good bye. I have to believe that whatever they would have said with those last few hours, they had already said before the launch.
2013-02-02 05:40:15 AM  
1 vote:

relcec: Jensaarai: 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.

Usually, I appreciate your "defense of government" posts on this site, but in this case you need to go fark yourself raw.

There's the standard risk inherent in space travel, then there is "you will probably die shortly, would you like to wait it out, get yourself in order (spiritually) record any last words now that you know it's likely etc.

Even if there's nothing that can be done, you give the heroes the choice. They are trained to handle it. You don't make the choice for them. NASA farked up here, and none of the people who made this choice deserve to hold a government job ever again.

mission control did not KNOW THE SHUTTLE HAD A F*CKING PROBLEM.
they knew there was the potential for one, but they never knew god damit.
they refused an engineer request to get a NSA satellite to take photos of the shuttle because a fatalistic momentum with regard to serious problems developed, BUT STILL THEY DID NOT KNOW ANYTHING WAS WRONG. they knew it was but a possibility.
I'm gonna stay here all night until you f*ckwits get that basic fact into your brains.


Dude, nobody is going to get that into their heads. There have been at least two books written about the subject and still nobody has gotten the basic idea that the engineers had to convince the top brass that there was enough of  a problem to get photos that would have confirmed there was a problem before they could get the photos that would have convinced the brass there was a problem.

Anything after that (i.e. "They could have attempted a rescue") is Tuesday-evening rehashing of Monday-morning quarterbacking at this point, because without those photos, there's no way to know what might have been seen, let alone done.
2013-02-02 04:58:08 AM  
1 vote:

acanuck: I think NASA didn't want to lose the SHIP and the crew was expendable. The Space Orbiter was lost with 100% certainty if abandoned without a de-orbital burn capability.

Disgusting if what I'm thinking is true.




This actually seems very plausible.
2013-02-02 02:52:54 AM  
1 vote:
2013-02-02 02:36:59 AM  
1 vote:

faeriefay: But what about that red bull guy, the one who supposedly jumped from space this summer...
/he lived?


He was in a special suit and not in orbit.

Orbiting bodies are going so fast iron catches on fire.
2013-02-02 02:26:17 AM  
1 vote:
Cowboy Bebop (one episode at least) is hard to watch now...

yayreallifeison.files.wordpress.com
2013-02-02 02:21:53 AM  
1 vote:
Geez, NASA didn't send up seven monkeys who pushed buttons to receive peanuts... they put seven highly intelligent and clever problem-solving humans up there who should not have had information withheld from them by bureaucrats.
2013-02-02 02:19:33 AM  
1 vote:

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.


Which is why this story is Bull:

"Hey Ted, should we tell them they're doomed?"

"Nah, let's just let it break up and rain flaming debris and human remains over a populated area."

"Yeah, you're right, Good Call!"
2013-02-02 02:14:14 AM  
1 vote:

Jensaarai: 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.

Usually, I appreciate your "defense of government" posts on this site, but in this case you need to go fark yourself raw.

There's the standard risk inherent in space travel, then there is "you will probably die shortly, would you like to wait it out, get yourself in order (spiritually) record any last words now that you know it's likely etc.

Even if there's nothing that can be done, you give the heroes the choice. They are trained to handle it. You don't make the choice for them. NASA farked up here, and none of the people who made this choice deserve to hold a government job ever again.


mission control did not KNOW THE SHUTTLE HAD A F*CKING PROBLEM.
they knew there was the potential for one, but they never knew god damit.
they refused an engineer request to get a NSA satellite to take photos of the shuttle because a fatalistic momentum with regard to serious problems developed, BUT STILL THEY DID NOT KNOW ANYTHING WAS WRONG. they knew it was but a possibility.
I'm gonna stay here all night until you f*ckwits get that basic fact into your brains.
2013-02-02 02:12:00 AM  
1 vote:
As has been pointed out, heading to the ISS wasn't possible, despite what Spacecamp would tell us about being able to alter a shuttle's orbit.  The other thing was Columbia itself did not have the hardware for docking to the ISS, and even then was deemed too heavy to dock there anyhow.  Oh sure if they could've made it to the ISS they could've probably risked spacewalking into one of the airlocks, but both the shuttle and ISS only carried so many spacesuits.

One possibility I thought of (since I have Orbiter) was trying to set the shuttle to splashdown (pretty much kill all orbital speed and let it freefall from space) since I *think* the shuttle was a lifting body design.  Best I could do was slow it down to 7.05 KM/s from a higher orbit than what Columbia was at, since all it had to slow it down after launch was the OMS, and that had just enough thrust and fuel for standard re-entry.

Another, more realistic possibility I've read about over the years was crash-preparing Atlantis for launch since Columbia had enough supplies to make it to flight day 30, and Atlantis was being prepped for a March 1 launch, but there was only a five-day window to launch without knowing how to fix the problem that doomed Columbia; you'd probably have nine dead astronauts instead of seven (why not fourteen?  because a rescue mission would've consited of a pilot and commander), not to mention terminating the entire shuttle program because you lost half the fleet in one shot.

Had it been caught on launch instead of on replay, a TAL abort could've been called, but then again you're flying Mach 2+ at that point with a hole in your wing.  Cutting the main engines, jettisoning the SRBs but leaving the ET hooked up would probably slow you down to subsonic speeds a lot quicker than jettisoning the ET right away, good enough to bail out.  But again, that's assuming the hole in the wing didn't severely alter the aerodynamic profile, rendering it pointless to try.
2013-02-02 02:11:03 AM  
1 vote:
Don't astronauts have to undergo psychological screening?  So they might have been asked what they would want to happen in different scenarios - like someone with a DNR?  NASA wouldn't be able to reveal that information would they, because of privacy?

I wouldn't want to know & I wouldn't want my family to know.  If the re-entry option was quick and meant I wouldn't really have time to process what was happening, that would be my choice over the Major Tom deal.  My knowledge of space type stuff is virtually nil, so please don't bite [or at least make it enjoyable] if the uneducated guesses are wrong.
2013-02-02 02:07:46 AM  
1 vote:

g4lt: relcec: Watubi: The choice wasn't how they were to die, it was whether or not NASA wanted to have a permanent grave floating in space.  The public would have demanded they retrieved the bodies and NASA, not being able to do it, would have to deal with two publicity disasters instead of one


except for the entire part about The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) saying the crew could have been saved by the shuttle Atlantis. nevermind that your idea that they couldn't retrieve bodies or anything similarly sized from orbit at a later date is incredibly asinine. if you aren't even cognizant of the fact that the shuttle can pick shiat up in space, really wtf are you doing in here? you know most nine year old boys are probably aware of that.


"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

You have AMAZING hindsight, almost 20/20


that's not hindsight.
it's not like there was a chance they could have survived reentry and nasa just happened to pick the worst of a set of equally bad options.
there was a clearly wrong answer, which was to assume if a problem was found that there was no hope, and therefore no point even checking.
it's like saying you know you are going to fail so why bother studying.
if you don't even attempt something it is impossible not to fail. criticizing mission control for letting an ignorance is bliss attitude develop is not second guessing, and to suggest otherwise is almost insane.
according to the accident investigation board if nasa control had checked the shuttle when they first became aware that there might been a problem the second orbiter would have had five days after lift off to get to the columbia.
2013-02-02 02:01:09 AM  
1 vote:

mr lawson: The might have been able to disassemble the thrusters from the shuttle, go outside, point them in the opposite direction they were going, light'em up and hang on for dear life. free fall to earth.


i46.tinypic.com
2013-02-02 01:55:04 AM  
1 vote:

relcec: Watubi: The choice wasn't how they were to die, it was whether or not NASA wanted to have a permanent grave floating in space.  The public would have demanded they retrieved the bodies and NASA, not being able to do it, would have to deal with two publicity disasters instead of one


except for the entire part about The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) saying the crew could have been saved by the shuttle Atlantis. nevermind that your idea that they couldn't retrieve bodies or anything similarly sized from orbit at a later date is incredibly asinine. if you aren't even cognizant of the fact that the shuttle can pick shiat up in space, really wtf are you doing in here? you know most nine year old boys are probably aware of that.


"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


You have AMAZING hindsight, almost 20/20
2013-02-02 01:50:03 AM  
1 vote:

MissFeasance: rickythepenguin: According to the on-board videotape recovered in the debris,Mission Control asked Clark just before her death to perform some small task. She replied that she was currently occupied but would get to it in a minute. "Don't worry about it," she was told. "You have all the time in the world. "


YEEEEEEEEEEEEESH.

I can't even.


I know, right? All that fancy NASA technology and they were still recording video on tape!
2013-02-02 01:47:12 AM  
1 vote:

EngineerAU: I'm going to guess that similar scenarios are a standard part of astronaut training.


McCool was an avid runner, and in the aftermath of his death, Runner's World or Runner magazine wrote an article (hand on my heart i haven't googled this, this is pure memory) wrote a piece about him with various interviews with his high school and USNA XC/track coaches, and at one point, the author related a story about how as  a young Navy pilot, McCool somehow recovered his jet from a tailspin in a way that had never been done.  as of the wrting of the article, it was being taught as the "McCool Protocol" for recovering a tailspinning jet.

dude was apparently The Real Motherfarking Deal.
2013-02-02 01:46:56 AM  
1 vote:

Sum Dum Gai: 'Running out of air' - or, more accurately, dying of carbon dioxide poisoning


No, more accurately, running out of air. They can decide to turn the O2 off.

But between the choice of 100% death, and less than 100% death, the choice is obvious.
2013-02-02 01:43:52 AM  
1 vote:

Watubi: The choice wasn't how they were to die, it was whether or not NASA wanted to have a permanent grave floating in space.  The public would have demanded they retrieved the bodies and NASA, not being able to do it, would have to deal with two publicity disasters instead of one


ugh.  never thought abotu that.

but yeah....i guess that was the dilemma.  let 7 people turn into popsicles (by the way, one of an israeli, which would have spurred outrage) versus, "hey.....what if we get lucky?"  who knows.

check this out (researching if the indian lady was a citizen):  Luarel Clark's wiki:


The STS-107 mission ended abruptly on February 1, 2003, when Columbia and her crew perished during re-entry, 16 minutes before scheduled landing.

According to the on-board videotape recovered in the debris,Mission Control asked Clark just before her death to perform some small task. She replied that she was currently occupied but would get to it in a minute. "Don't worry about it," she was told. "You have all the time in the world. "



YEEEEEEEEEEEEESH.
2013-02-02 01:43:45 AM  
1 vote:

TV's Vinnie: "when faced with the choice of letting the astronauts die trying to come home or leaving them to orbit until their air ran out "

Or (c) DOCK AT THE FARKING INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION!!!!!


with what reaction mass?  THE ISS WAS OVER 30,000 MILES AWAY.
2013-02-02 01:42:25 AM  
1 vote:

Any Pie Left: I recall in the weeks after, some space boffin did in fact cobble together a series of improbable events that could have resulted in a rescue.


I wasn't all up on the possibilities, but damn.  If you told the world the shuttle probably couldn't get back, and asked for help, and China scrambled and got up there?  Damn.
2013-02-02 01:40:40 AM  
1 vote:

BKITU: [www.wearysloth.com image 320x240]

"He's a pilot. You tell him the condition of his craft!"


That's just it, Shuttle pilots weren't pilots, they were truckers, according to NASA.  Ghods forbid we EVER have such a farked up program as the Shuttle again.  "ad astra per asperam" and all that crap
2013-02-02 01:38:42 AM  
1 vote:

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.


And now you know the purpose of the Stratos jump.

Eatin' Queer Fetuses for Jesus: Why didn't they just fly down to the ISS?


If you really want an answer to this question, you can go back and read earlier in the threat, but think of the scale we're talking here:

Earth is New York City.  You leave New York City for an expedition to the North Pole.  You notice a problem that will prevent you from making it back to New York.  There is one other place you could stop, the ISS, which we'll call London.  That's great and all that you have another option, but you're not going to be able to make it there either.

Space is a big place, and transferring orbits is no trivial thing.  They wouldn't have had the fuel to reach ISS.
2013-02-02 01:34:32 AM  
1 vote:

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.

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.


Oh Bob-damnit. I read 1000 ft/sec (300 m/s) and got stuff all jacked up.

Put me on the next Mars probe team.
2013-02-02 01:31:32 AM  
1 vote:

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
2013-02-02 01:31:13 AM  
1 vote:
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 01:28:56 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:27:51 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:27:50 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:25:48 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:25:35 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:15:48 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:15:41 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:11:40 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:11:26 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:08:55 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:08:54 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:07:53 AM  
1 vote:

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.
2013-02-02 01:04:29 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:04:21 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:04:18 AM  
1 vote:

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 01:02:53 AM  
1 vote:

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 12:59:52 AM  
1 vote:

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 12:57:37 AM  
1 vote:

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 12:54:46 AM  
1 vote:

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 12:53:59 AM  
1 vote:
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 12:52:15 AM  
1 vote:

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 12:50:56 AM  
1 vote:
Why hasn't anyone brought up the idea of docking the shuttle with the ISS? Nobody?
2013-02-02 12:50:23 AM  
1 vote:

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 12:49:37 AM  
1 vote:

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 12:48:37 AM  
1 vote:

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 12:47:38 AM  
1 vote:

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 12:46:11 AM  
1 vote:
fark it. It's Dick Cheney's America
2013-02-02 12:46:05 AM  
1 vote:
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 12:43:00 AM  
1 vote:
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 12:42:55 AM  
1 vote:

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 12:41:47 AM  
1 vote:

the801: too bad that technology has advanced so much that we can't just fake it anymore, and we had to send real people into space knowing that they'd die.

on the other hand, we have 3-d lcd hdtv tvs. and i'd totally bet that more people care about that, even tho it kinda sucks, than care about space monkeys dying. so, maybe technology isn't so bad after all. as long as we can fake caring about astronauts, knowing that people launched on rockets are gonna die, and then pretend to be all surprised and sad when they do.


-2/10
2013-02-02 12:36:37 AM  
1 vote:

ng2810: Don't you farking tell me that they would not have at least tried SOMETHING if they knew people were gonna die.


Letting them die quickly instead of prolonged suffering was something.
2013-02-02 12:34:46 AM  
1 vote:
Do we know that the damage to the wing caused the explosion on re-entry? Where was Secretary Clinton at the time? Taxbongo?

/worst tragedy since 9/11, and I really mean that
2013-02-02 12:32:41 AM  
1 vote:
I say, let 'em crash.
2013-02-02 12:28:43 AM  
1 vote:

Saturn5: I don't buy it.  There's an escape capsule at the Space Station.  Some could have come back on it while the others either waited for rescue or attempted re-entry.  And if that kind of decision was made, it wouldn't be some big consensus that was discussed amongst a large group - 1 or 2 very high ranking people would have made that call in secret.

[1.bp.blogspot.com image 323x416]


My bad - it wasn't a mission to the ISS.  Oops.  Still, that's not the kind of decision that's made with common knowledge.
2013-02-02 12:24:32 AM  
1 vote:

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


Please her anyway.

Why take chances?


Why start now?
2013-02-02 12:24:22 AM  
1 vote:
Need Another Seven Astronauts
2013-02-02 12:18:40 AM  
1 vote:

usernameguy: The story's been update (+ read the Weeners). NASA did not know that Columbia would break up (or that it had been seriously damaged).


Thanks for pointing that out.
2013-02-02 12:16:31 AM  
1 vote:

usernameguy: The story's been update (+ read the Weeners). NASA did not know that Columbia would break up (or that it had been seriously damaged).


Nah, it's true, I saw it on Fark.
2013-02-02 12:09:13 AM  
1 vote:

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.


It's a real hard call, if they knew what the odds were, it's rather disturbing that they wouldn't let them have a last conversation with their loved ones.

/very sad
2013-02-02 12:06:07 AM  
1 vote:
The story's been update (+ read the Weeners). NASA did not know that Columbia would break up (or that it had been seriously damaged).
2013-02-02 12:01:26 AM  
1 vote:

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.


The impending doom is so sad, though. So many people knew they wouldn't make it. :(
2013-02-01 11:59:02 PM  
1 vote:

BarkingUnicorn: 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"?

I'd rather read about it first on Fark.


Meh. That'd just be a half dozen or so Farkers trying to blame the asteroid on Obama.
2013-02-01 09:40:56 PM  
1 vote:

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.
 
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