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Ten Years Later: The Impact of The Tragic Columbia Space Shuttle Photo
petapixel.com ^ | Feb 03, 2013 | DL Cade

Posted on 02/04/2013 11:34:30 AM PST by a fool in paradise

Ten Years Later: The Impact of The Tragic Columbia Space Shuttle Photo columbiadisaster

Two days ago marked the 10th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, in which 7 astronauts lost their lives during reentry as the rest of us watched horror-struck from the ground. The following day, newspapers the world over were announcing the tragic news, all of them using the same photo taken, not by a prolific AP photographer, but a cardiologist and his 6.3MP Canon D60.

At the time, Dr. Scott Lieberman had to order the camera special from Canada (as he couldn’t find one in the US), paying the hefty sum of $2,200. In an interesting article on Poynter, Lieberman discusses that fateful picture and the freelance photography career it has led to.

The photo, however, seems to have had a much broader impact than just launching Lieberman’s freelance career:

When Lieberman’s Columbia image ran on the cover of Time, the photojournalism establishment still regarded digital photography with a slightly wary eye … Irby says Lieberman’s photograph did ‘contribute to the strong validation in the potential and power of digital photography for real time news coverage.’

In addition to validating digital photography as a newsworthy medium, the fact that Lieberman spends the majority of his working hours at his interventional cardiology practice also had an impact. The photo is one of a few that marks the beginning of citizen photojournalism. Sadly, many believe those photos also mark the end of many a professional photojournalist’s career.

To get the full story behind this and the hundreds of AP photos Lieberman has taken since, check out the full article on Poynter.

Texas doctor who captured iconic image of Columbia disaster is now a working photographer [Poynter via The Verge]


Image credits: Photo courtesy of Newseum


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Astronomy; History; Science
KEYWORDS: anniversary; columbia; nasa; spaceshuttle

1 posted on 02/04/2013 11:34:41 AM PST by a fool in paradise
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To: a fool in paradise

Sadly, many believe those photos also mark the end of many a professional photojournalist’s career.


I was a draftsman in the 70’s. Then I went to school to become a COBOL programmer. That served me VERY well for almost two decades. But I saw the writing on the wall regarding outsourcing. And for me it was clear that there was one thing that was difficult to outsource: Anything communication intensive.

So I went from Being a systems analyst to a technical analyst to a business analyst. It is amazing how valuable you can be if you can speek both business and geek.


2 posted on 02/04/2013 11:43:16 AM PST by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: a fool in paradise

I watched the Challenger explode from the parking lot of my high school in Titusville, FL. Then a lifetime later, I watched Columbia explode over DFW through the sunroof of my car.


3 posted on 02/04/2013 11:46:36 AM PST by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

~PING~
May be of interest Sir.


4 posted on 02/04/2013 11:48:50 AM PST by poobear (Socialism in the minds of the elites is a con-game for the serfs, nothing more.)
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To: BuckeyeTexan

I went to see 2 shuttle landings at Edwards AFB, the first Columbia and the first Challenger.


5 posted on 02/04/2013 11:52:07 AM PST by RckyRaCoCo (Shall Not Be Infringed)
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To: BuckeyeTexan

I was following it on this FR thread:

[AP SCOOP] Space Shuttle Columbia Will Be Visible In San Francisco Area (6AM Pacific)
nasa
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/833885/posts
Posted on Saturday, February 01, 2003 7:38:08 AM by leadpenny

Space Shuttle Columbia is in a decent for the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will pass over the San Francisco Area around 6:00 AM Pacific Time. Route will take the Shuttle over Las Vegas, Flagstaff, etc. NASA has still not decided which runway will be used. Landing will be at 9:16 AM Eastern.


6 posted on 02/04/2013 11:52:07 AM PST by a fool in paradise (America 2013 - STUCK ON STUPID)
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To: BuckeyeTexan

That is an incredible coincidence. Stay the heck away from me. :-)


7 posted on 02/04/2013 11:52:23 AM PST by plain talk
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To: a fool in paradise

I read an account last week claiming that Mission Control knew there was a strong likelihood the shuttle would break up on re-entry as they had photos of the damage to the heat shield. They didn’t tell the crew so they would enjoy the flight.


8 posted on 02/04/2013 11:57:15 AM PST by IamConservative (The soul of my lifes journey is Liberty!)
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To: RckyRaCoCo
I went to see 2 shuttle landings at Edwards AFB, the first Columbia and the first Challenger.

Wonder if we were in the same visitor's area? I rode down there with a friend from high school. We crashed out in his Plymouth Champ, got up in the morning and watched it come in.

Tremendous experience.

9 posted on 02/04/2013 12:01:47 PM PST by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: a fool in paradise

A couple of years ago, I saw a PBS special on the shuttle program (and they just re-ran last week). It was a fairly frank assessment.

The entire purpose of the shuttle was to be re-useable, and save money. It never turned out that way...the practical rebuilding of the shuttle every time pushed per launch costs to near $1 billion....they pointed out you could build a sports stadium with that amount of money.

The large cargo bay was meant for building a space station....but that didn’t happen for the first 15 years of the program. So, it became a subsidized space delivery vehicle. It was still cheaper for the DoD to lauch satellites useing a normal rocket; but, NASA discounted the fees to get government and commercial customers to pay for cargo.

After Challenger, nobody wanted to use their space trucking service anymore, so they switched to make work science projects, and ultimately the space station construction.

But there was still one lingering design flaw. The placement of the crew compartment anywhere other than the very front of the craft was dangerous. As we saw (and NASA saw repeatedly), the foam from the fuel tank would bombard the shuttle. This doesn’t happen in a traditional rocket...and there is a ‘last chance’ ejection rocket under the crew compartment, in case things go wrong with the rocket. They had footage of a successful ejection in Russia.

All in all, it was fairly depressing. The program that worked with such purpose in getting to the moon had changed, and was adrift for several decades...and now is essentially over. Since it was PBS, they blamed Nixon, of course.


10 posted on 02/04/2013 12:02:35 PM PST by lacrew (Mr. Soetoro, we regret to inform you that your race card is over the credit limit.)
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To: plain talk

Yes, I know.

After witnessing the Challenger, I was physically ill when I watched it happen to Columbia. I’ll never forget either, but the memory of Columbia is especially vivid.

I had just been telling my daughter about Challenger while I was taking her to gymnastics. We pulled over to watch Columbia. Afterward, I went inside the gymnastics center to tell other parents that we had just lost Columbia. I was clearly in shock, but what struck me was that nobody cared. They went about their business as usual after pausing for a brief moment to mutter, “Hmm. How sad.”

I had to get out of there.


11 posted on 02/04/2013 12:02:42 PM PST by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
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To: a fool in paradise

I remember it was a Sat. morning about 10 am and I was here in MA wondering about some snow upcoming. I turned on the TV and on the NBC Boston affiliate saw the various coverage with the headline on the bottom reading: Space Shuttle Apparently
Disintegrates Over Texas


12 posted on 02/04/2013 12:04:02 PM PST by raccoonradio
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To: cuban leaf
It is amazing how valuable you can be if you can speek both business and geek.

Yup, me too. EDS Systems Engineer (SED) followed by an MBA. I may not have absolute job security, but I'd bet that I'm up in the 85th to 90th percentile.
13 posted on 02/04/2013 12:06:46 PM PST by tanknetter
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To: RckyRaCoCo

Awesome. Good memories, I bet. Living in Titusville, I saw too many to remember them individually. Launch Day was the most exciting to me. Everyone in town was involved with Kennedy Space Center in some way. So most of us gathered to watch the launches. We were let out of class that day to watch Challenger. My World History teacher had applied to be the teacher on the shuttle. He was never the same afterward.


14 posted on 02/04/2013 12:06:53 PM PST by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
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To: raccoonradio

who can forget the Israeli spy satellite photos of the Columbia breaking up, taken from space. http://workbench.cadenhead.org/media/fake4.jpg


15 posted on 02/04/2013 12:07:28 PM PST by desertsolitaire (M.O.O.N. that spells SCARY.)
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To: a fool in paradise

Haunting.

Post 13 gives me chills.


16 posted on 02/04/2013 12:07:35 PM PST by lacrew (Mr. Soetoro, we regret to inform you that your race card is over the credit limit.)
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To: raccoonradio

who can forget the Israeli spy satellite photos of the Columbia breaking up, taken from space. http://workbench.cadenhead.org/media/fake4.jpg


17 posted on 02/04/2013 12:07:35 PM PST by desertsolitaire (M.O.O.N. that spells SCARY.)
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To: plain talk

Re: the coincidence ...

I always post a similar comment on any article I find that mentions Challenger or Columbia. I have yet to find anyone else who experienced both in person. It was traumatic.


18 posted on 02/04/2013 12:13:40 PM PST by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
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To: BuckeyeTexan

Thanks for sharing such an incrediblke experience. Hard to believe you saw both.


19 posted on 02/04/2013 12:17:55 PM PST by plain talk
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To: lacrew

“..... pushed per launch costs to near $1 billion...”

Not to mention the astounding missed opportunity cost of having a pretend space program instead of a real one.

I caught Mark Kelly on his gun control rant on Fox News Sunday and while I don’t discount his personal tragedy, it struck me in a way completely aside from his interview - It mostly occured to me how this guy couldn’t polish the moon boots of an astronaut like Neil Armstrong, or most of the Apollo or pre-Apollo astronauts.

Such was the Shuttle. A mediocrity bred by a formerly great organization of mediocrities.

Now hopefully we can reconstitute some sort of a Saturn V follow-on (and all the space exploration possibilities it would bring) before all the useful data and technical folks are dead and gone.


20 posted on 02/04/2013 12:36:39 PM PST by RFEngineer
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To: IamConservative

Ugly but true. They had no way in the world to repair the damage they KNEW existed but could only silently hope and pray that the crew could beat the odds.


21 posted on 02/04/2013 12:46:06 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Here once the embattled farmers stood... And fired the shot heard round the world.)
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To: RFEngineer
It mostly occured to me how this guy couldn’t polish the moon boots of an astronaut like Neil Armstrong

Remember, he was in the same training group as the Pampers Lady, if I'm not mistaken.

22 posted on 02/04/2013 1:07:50 PM PST by wideawake
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To: RFEngineer

I wonder if part of the problem at NASA may be that not all of the useful data and technical folks are gone YET.

Technology has changed dramatically over the years, and if you’re stuck with a bunch of 70-year-old engineers who rightfully hold their own intelligence in very high regard, it might be difficult to persuade them that you don’t have to build a rocket engine as a finely-crafted work of art anymore thanks to technology and materials advancement.


23 posted on 02/04/2013 1:20:46 PM PST by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: plain talk; BuckeyeTexan

It’s not that incredible.

I saw Columbia’s remnants from a parking lot in North Austin (TX) on the way to a funeral for a guy who collected NASA memorabilia.

He actually had a blow-up shuttle at the grave site. 8o


24 posted on 02/04/2013 1:37:12 PM PST by WCH
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts

The only solace I find in that is the crew died instantly. Not so for Challenger’s crew.


25 posted on 02/04/2013 1:49:56 PM PST by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
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To: IamConservative
I read an account last week claiming that Mission Control knew there was a strong likelihood the shuttle would break up on re-entry as they had photos of the damage to the heat shield. They didn’t tell the crew so they would enjoy the flight.

This doesn't make sense since they would undoubtedly have tried to get some better pictures which would have been taken by the astronauts themselves. Also the space shuttle could have stayed in orbit while they dispatched another shuttle or rocket with some repair materials. Or, if they were running out of supplies, they could have transferred the crew to the International Space Station.

The problem was that NASA talked themselves out of the need to investigate the potential damage more thoroughly.

26 posted on 02/04/2013 1:57:29 PM PST by wideminded
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To: WCH

The coincidence itself might not be incredible to you, but I can say with absolute certainty that both explosions were incredible to behold. I’d rather not have those images burned into memory.


27 posted on 02/04/2013 2:04:03 PM PST by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
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To: BuckeyeTexan

I completely understand.

I saw Challenger on TV and that was plenty.


28 posted on 02/04/2013 2:07:27 PM PST by WCH
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To: Riley; BuckeyeTexan
The first(Columbia)shuttle landing(April 14, 1981?)was crazy. Went there after work the night before the landing. People were everywhere...it was pitch black and I remember literally stepping on folks that were crashed out in their sleeping bags...took forever to get out of the place...but had a good time nonetheless.

Reagan days...pride/patriotism...

...sure have lost a lot since : (

At that time I worked for a couple different aerospace mfg. firms, got to go to the Downey(?)facility where they had the mock-up shuttle, exhibits, etc. Remember receiving a letter from one of those firms I worked for, apparently one of our divisions manufactured the o-rings for the SRB.

29 posted on 02/04/2013 3:13:49 PM PST by RckyRaCoCo (Shall Not Be Infringed)
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