Skip to comments.Space Shuttle Columbia: What Happened 10 Years Ago (RIP)
Posted on 01/31/2013 8:17:22 PM PST by Pyro7480
Ten years ago Friday, the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed and its seven astronauts killed during the final minutes of its flight.
NASA will mark the 10th anniversary of the accident at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, and take part in an observance at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, where three of the astronauts are buried.
Other commemorations Friday include events at a 2-year-old Columbia museum in Hemphill, Texas, where shuttle debris fell. PBS is also airing a new documentary about Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut on Columbia.
The wife of the shuttle's commander, Evelyn Husband Thompson, said she has seen the film and was overjoyed to see footage of the crew that she'd never seen before. But she wept at the liftoff scene. "Just because I know the end of the story, as we all do now," she said.
What happened on Feb. 1, 2003....
(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...
I remember that morning following the live thread here on FR. FReepers across the world tracked it coming in and realized that the shuttle had broken up somewhere between Hawaii and the Mainland (IIRC). LIke so many things, you’ll hear it here first.
Me too. According to the first reports, it apparently started to break up just above my home on the California/Nevada border.
Yeah, I remember reading of veteran Shuttle reentry viewers watching, and knowing from the color of the Shuttle reentry heating that something was very wrong. Sent chills reading of that.
On an earlier Endeavor night landing approach over East Texas I watched the most spectacular light show of a lifetime. As Endeavor came across at about 500,000 feet very bright, with a sonic boom and its ionized trail hung in the sky for at least 2 minutes. Our place was about 50 miles north of the track.
Every flight afterwards I would try to watch the landing. I had not previously been able to see much trail from a daylight landing, but curiously that day several slower tracks were seen overhead as NASA Channel showed the landing path and it was obvious this was not a normal landing. After a minute or two you could hear the desparation from NASA as they could not find Columbia on radar or on the landing strip at KSC.
That sight I will never forget. Their last ride must have been wild and like watching a train wreck from the train in slo mo.
I was working at KSC at the time (24 years at KSC actually and 36+ years total on the shuttle program) and after the break up I went on the web looking for any video evidence of that and found that someone from the Reno area had been videoing it and there was indeed a “puff” in the contrail that remained in the same spot as the orbiter continued on. Don’t remember exactly who or where it was but it was in the Reno area that the video came from. It was still dark in this area but the trail and “puff” were clearly visible on the video. (Now I live in Reno.) Bad day would be an understatement.
NASA was still not saying anything, but between the "overdue for landing" news and this image, I knew what had happened - and what had passed by overhead.
I recall joining with a great bunch of FReepers on a thread Observation on TPS damage on Orbiter started and monitored by bonesmccoy that pretty well dissected the wing burn-through. A lot of the original pictures and diagrams are lost, but the descriptions tell the tale.
Thanks to all for the information and education - something FR is so good at.
Inside Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 During The Accident
Uploaded on Jul 25, 2011
On February 1, Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed in a disaster that claimed the lives of all seven of its crew. This video is from inside the crew cabin of Space Shuttle Columbia as it begins its re-entry and contains approximately an extra 5 minutes of footage not seen elsewhere.
While February 1 was an occasion for mourning, the efforts that ensued can be a source of national pride. NASA publicly and forthrightly informed the nation about the accident and all the associated information that became available. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board was established within two hours of the loss of signal from the returning spacecraft in accordance with procedures established by NASA following the Challenger accident 17 years earlier.
The crew members lost that morning were explorers in the finest tradition, and since then, everyone associated with the Board has felt that we were laboring in their legacy. NASA and the Columbia Investigation Board (CAIB) sought to discover the conditions that produced this tragic outcome and to share those lessons in such a way that this nationʼs space program will emerge stronger and more sure-footed. If those lessons are truly learned, then Columbiaʼs crew will have made an indelible contribution to the endeavor each one valued so greatly.
The Orbiterʼs destruction, just 16 minutes before scheduled touchdown, shows that space flight is still far from routine. It involves a substantial element of risk, which must be recognized, but never accepted with resignation. The seven Columbia astronauts believed that the risk was worth the reward.
Additionally, you can follow Wayne Hale of NASA (he was the Space Shuttle Program Manager or Deputy for 5 years, a Space Shuttle Flight Director for 40 missions) at his blog, Wayne Hale's Blog via Wordpress. Lots of good detail of the NASA back-story. Enjoy.
Updating self from 2003 FR thread (thanks for links, FRiends), courtesy of FReeper TLBSHOW:
Kalpana Chawla, an aerospace engineer and commercial pilot, was on her second space shuttle flight, having been a mission specialist in 1996, logging more than 376 hours in space. [Previous shuttle mission in 1998. -- LG]
Born in Karnal, India, she studied in the United States, and received her doctorate from the University of Colorado.
She started working for NASA in 1988, studying powered-lift computational fluid dynamics. Her research concentrated on simulation of complex air flows encountered around aircraft.
Chawla joined the astronaut program in 1994.
So there's the 411, minus the inappropriate comments AP stuck in a wire report at the time.
I thought the damage was to the RCC on the leading edge of the left wing, not to the ceramic tiles.
I will never forget this uneccessary tragedy, caused by politically correctr NASA’s cave-in to the enviro mice. The people responsible for the use of the “green” foam on this shuttle mission should have been tried for murder.
Thanks Pyro7480. Related:
Network Morning Shows Ignore 10th Anniversary of Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster