Sadly, many believe those photos also mark the end of many a professional photojournalists 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.
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.
May be of interest Sir.
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.
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.