Skip to comments.'I think they would rather not know. Wouldn't it be better to have a...successful flight and die...'
Posted on 02/01/2013 3:18:12 PM PST by iowamark
NASA has revealed that the Columbia crew were not told that the shuttle had been damaged and they might not survive re-entry.
The seven astronauts who died will be remembered at a public memorial service on the 10th anniversary of the disaster this Friday at Florida's Kennedy Space Center.
The shuttle was headed home from a 16-day science mission when it broke apart over Texas on February 1, 2003, because of damage to its left wing.
Ten years ago, experts at NASA's mission control faced the terrible decision over whether to let the astronauts know that they may die on re-entry or face orbiting in space until the oxygen ran out...
There was no way to repair any suspected damage - the crew were far from the International Space Station and had no robotic arm for repairs. It would have taken too long to send up another shuttle to rescue them.
Wayne Hale, who went on to become space shuttle program manager, has written on his blog about the fateful day.
Mr Hale writes: 'After one of the MMTs (Mission Management Team) when possible damage to the orbiter was discussed, he (Flight Director Jon Harpold) gave me his opinion: ''You know, there is nothing we can do about damage to the TPS (Thermal Protection System).'
'"If it has been damaged it's probably better not to know. I think the crew would rather not know. Don't you think it would be better for them to have a happy successful flight and die unexpectedly during entry than to stay on orbit, knowing that there was nothing to be done, until the air ran out?"'...
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Not telling them was the kindest thing to do. That would’ve been my call, too.
Heartbreaking. I think that they made the right decision.
Any warning that I can get that I am about to meet my Maker would be appreciated. Same reason I would have told them. (To say nothing of last massages to family and loved ones).
I remember feeling so incredibly impotent. I can only imagine how mission control felt, having to make that horrible choice.
It surely is. And living with that decision must be tough.
I 100% agree. Not telling them was the wrong answer.
Tough decision. But I still would have wanted to get the choice to pray and say goodbye to my loved ones.
That was my thought too, they could have had a chance to make their peace and say their goodbyes at least. I guess what you think the kindest choice is may depend on whether you’re an atheist or not.
It is the better decision to allow their deaths to be sudden and unexpected, than to have them anticipate a suffering before hand.
I think the crew should have been told. If they would have wanted to orbit longer, they might have felt better about being empowered to make that decision themselves than burning up in surprise, even if that burning only took several seconds.
Remember, some of the Challenger crew might have survived several minutes, even after hitting the ocean.
I think the information should’ve been made public, such that millions might have prayed for their safe return, though it might have seemed beyond all hope. All the more glory to God if through prayer, disaster might have been averted.
By coincidence, I’m a friend of one of McCool’s grandfathers, but I don’t believe that has influenced my opinion.
FR live thread from that day:
If it had been me, I would have wanted to know.
It is hard to say. I personally would rather not know.
I had a Cousin, actually he was my Father’s First Cousin die near the first of January. His Doctor had told him around six months ago that he had an inoperable aneurism in the aorta which would kill him fairly soon. As luck would have it, he was at one of his Daughter’s birthday celebration when it burst. His entire family was there in Nashville.
On January 26, there was a memorial service held near here.
His Son said he had a couple of minutes with his family before he passed out. He told them he was not afraid to die, then according to his Son he told the family that he loved them all then passed.
In his case I think it was good that he knew what was happening. He was also very religious and had been a pastor for around 60 years.
Plus, they might have wanted a choice in how they die. If you had a choice, would you rather die of lack of oxygen or risk being ripped in half on re-entry?
But I agree, the most compelling reason is to make peace with your family and maker. I would have wanted to know.
I wouldn’t want God to be surprised with my sudden, unannounced arrival at the pearly gates.
And neither would I. :)
Any trip into space is a potential suicide mission and I think I would make sure I said what I had to say before launch.
Would rather have the opportunity to send my PIN codes and regards.
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