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'I think they would rather not know. Wouldn't it be better to have a...successful flight and die...'
UK Daily Mail ^ | 2/01/2013

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 ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: colombia; columbia; nasa; spaceshuttle
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Long but good:

Wayne Hale blog

1 posted on 02/01/2013 3:18:22 PM PST by iowamark
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To: iowamark

Not telling them was the kindest thing to do. That would’ve been my call, too.


2 posted on 02/01/2013 3:21:54 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (I don't have 'Hobbies.' I'm developing a robust Post-Apocalyptic skill set...)
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The crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia (left to right) are David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, William McCool and Ilan Ramon
3 posted on 02/01/2013 3:22:09 PM PST by iowamark
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To: iowamark

Heartbreaking. I think that they made the right decision.


4 posted on 02/01/2013 3:23:41 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: iowamark

Tough call.....


5 posted on 02/01/2013 3:24:37 PM PST by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: iowamark

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).


6 posted on 02/01/2013 3:24:55 PM PST by TalBlack (Evil doesn't have a day job.)
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To: iowamark

I remember feeling so incredibly impotent. I can only imagine how mission control felt, having to make that horrible choice.


7 posted on 02/01/2013 3:25:48 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Travis McGee

It surely is. And living with that decision must be tough.


8 posted on 02/01/2013 3:26:57 PM PST by RushIsMyTeddyBear (Great vid by ShorelineMike! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOZjJk6nbD4&feature=plcp)
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To: TalBlack

I 100% agree. Not telling them was the wrong answer.


9 posted on 02/01/2013 3:31:03 PM PST by Future Snake Eater (CrossFit.com)
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To: iowamark

Tough decision. But I still would have wanted to get the choice to pray and say goodbye to my loved ones.


10 posted on 02/01/2013 3:33:51 PM PST by Wisconsinlady (The 2nd amendment is NOT about hunting-but protection from a tyrannical govt)
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To: TalBlack

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.


11 posted on 02/01/2013 3:35:03 PM PST by Boogieman
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

It is the better decision to allow their deaths to be sudden and unexpected, than to have them anticipate a suffering before hand.


12 posted on 02/01/2013 3:36:35 PM PST by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
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To: TalBlack

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.

HF


13 posted on 02/01/2013 3:38:26 PM PST by holden (Alter or abolish it yet?)
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FR live thread from that day:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/833885/posts


14 posted on 02/01/2013 3:39:14 PM PST by iowamark
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To: iowamark

If it had been me, I would have wanted to know.


15 posted on 02/01/2013 3:39:40 PM PST by Gator113 (Leave my guns alone and REGISTER THE DAMN LIBERALS!!)
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To: iowamark

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.


16 posted on 02/01/2013 3:42:42 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: Future Snake Eater

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.


17 posted on 02/01/2013 3:43:53 PM PST by RatRipper (Self-centeredness, greed, envy, deceit and lawless corruption has killed this once great nation.)
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To: Gator113

I agree.

I wouldn’t want God to be surprised with my sudden, unannounced arrival at the pearly gates.

And neither would I. :)


18 posted on 02/01/2013 3:45:02 PM PST by 353FMG ( I refuse to specify whether I am serious or sarcastic -- I respect FReepers too much.)
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To: Wisconsinlady

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.


19 posted on 02/01/2013 3:45:17 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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Would rather have the opportunity to send my PIN codes and regards.


20 posted on 02/01/2013 3:46:00 PM PST by Gene Eric
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To: Wisconsinlady; All
Absolutely correct. They all understood the risks of space flight, and knew there was no possibility of a rescue mission.

Why not have compromised..say, told them maybe 2-3 days before scheduled re-entry..that would have given them time to pray, ( they could have received the last rites) and speak with their loved ones. I would have wanted that..the time, the chanced to say goodbye..

Alternatively, some might have wanted to have videos recorded in Houston to be shown to there loved ones later one, days, weeks, or years later. Several had children..imagine being able to record a video(s) to be shown to your daughter at her graduation, or her wedding, or the birth of your grandchild. I would have wanted the chance to leaved that type of legacy..

OTOH, I've never read anywhere if the astronauts do thats sort of thing, or not, before each flight. In Lovell's book "Lost Moon" about the Apollo XII mission, he writes about the plans the Apollo astronauts made in the event of an accident. There were no suicide pills on the lunar lander. All they had to do was depressurize the cabin, and death would have been near instantaneous

21 posted on 02/01/2013 3:46:09 PM PST by ken5050 ("One useless man is a shame, two are a law firm, three or more are a Congress".. John Adams)
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To: iowamark

Does anyone know if this bit is true, or if it’s tin-foil-hatdom?


Did “Environmentally Friendly” Materials Cause Shuttle Disaster?

August 27, 2003

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said recently that it had discovered what caused the space shuttle Columbia to break apart as it re-entered the atmosphere: a piece of “environmentally friendly” foam had peeled off the external fuel tank and struck the shuttle’s wing shortly after liftoff.

In its zeal to use “environmentally correct” materials, NASA had stopped using Freon-based foam because of the damage supposedly done by Freon to the ozone layer, claims John Berlau (Insight on the News), even though the agency had observed for years that bigger pieces of this new foam were likely to fall off.

Experts say this isn’t the first time that substituting “politically correct” materials for older, more reliable ones has brought about disastrous results:
•After the 1986 Challenger explosion, a scientist from the U.S. Geological Survey found that a new asbestos-free putty had allowed hot gases to burn through a joint in one of the solid rocket boosters.
•In 1997, after the first space shuttle launch using Freon-free insulating foam, NASA scientists found that nearly 11 times as many of the shuttle’s ceramic tiles were destroyed, compared to flights with the foam containing Freon.

Since the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and various environmentalist groups and politicians have pressured NASA to use “environmentally friendly products,” even though old materials had proven effective with little or no harm to humans. Since then, most of the space shuttle fleet had already been designed with the new, environmentally-safe foam, says Berlau.

Source: John Berlau, “Lost in Space,” Insight Magazine, August 4, 2003.


22 posted on 02/01/2013 3:48:31 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (Of the government, by the government, and for the government.)
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To: iowamark
I would have told them everything that was known as fully, honestly and openly as possible. The crew were all adults; all highly trained professionals who were aware of the risks involved and of the distinct possibility that they could die on the mission. They had each come to terms with that before liftoff and each made the decision to proceed. RIP.
23 posted on 02/01/2013 3:50:03 PM PST by JPG (Stay strong.)
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To: iowamark

The people sent on space missions are of the highest caliber. They would have been able to handle it.

Even so, in the final brief moments, they knew what was happening.


24 posted on 02/01/2013 3:51:03 PM PST by I want the USA back
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To: iowamark

Thanks for that link.

Depressing,but still incredible to read.

.


25 posted on 02/01/2013 4:00:58 PM PST by Mears
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To: RatRipper

It’s hard to discuss but doesn’t it make sense that a “death is certain” scenario would be part of their training? Are there no cyanide tabs (or equivalent) or anesthetics available to the crew, just in case it’s determined they are walking into a very violent death? It would seem that would be part of the training.


26 posted on 02/01/2013 4:04:28 PM PST by austinaero
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To: iowamark

Am I the only person who has no memory of this event? It was only ten years ago, but the story is completely unfamiliar to me.


27 posted on 02/01/2013 4:07:09 PM PST by utahagen
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To: iowamark

It was a chicken s#!* descision not to tell the crew. They had a right to know the truth. An hour to make peace, ask for forgiveness, and say goodbye is the least they were owed. I would have felt betrayed in the last minutes when we relized our ship was burning up on re-entry. Betrayed. And any crews that come afterwards will know mission cammand has lied in the past.


28 posted on 02/01/2013 4:07:26 PM PST by Casie (Chuck Norris 2016)
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To: I want the USA back

How many sent messages and called home when the Twin Towers were hit knowing their fate?
I think they should have been told!
When the last moments of a person’s life are known they need that time to make peace with their Maker! My Father knew about 6 hours before the end, he was angry and combative, but when I asked him if he needed spiritual guidance and a need to talk with his pastor not believing death was imminent and asked me if I thought it was that close. He being a 20 year Platoon Sargent I replied Yes Sir I do! The DR. had given me the look and the nod so I knew! I also told him he had nothing to lose by talking to a Man of God! So within the hour our Pastor was there! I did not stay for the conversation as I felt it was a private affair! After the Pastor left a Calm had come over my Father I had never seen before. I can imagine after 2 wars and a Military Career of 20 years a lot could have been on the back burner! I felt, that of all I ever did for my Dad this was my best gift of all! RIP Sarge!


29 posted on 02/01/2013 4:15:55 PM PST by Conserev1 ("Still Clinging to my Bible and my Weapon")
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To: iowamark

Inside Mission Control During STS-107 Columbia’s Failed Re-entry and disaster 19:48
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbnT8Sf_LRs


30 posted on 02/01/2013 4:20:42 PM PST by Selene
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To: iowamark

Why is the government telling us this info 10 years after?
- They knew the truth then, but withheld it?
- This is not the truth, but a cover story.

The government has lied in so many circumstances it’s impossible to take anything they say at face value.


31 posted on 02/01/2013 4:20:56 PM PST by Flick Lives (We're going to be just like the old Soviet Union, but with free cell phones!)
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To: TalBlack
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).

Absolutely.

Anticipating a hard death would have been eased if that crew had known that their ground team were doing everything they could do to try to save them. It sounds like they didn't even respect the crew enough to consider allowing them to make the decision on whether to stay in orbit hoping for a miracle or going for re-entry and taking their chances.

Just a thought, how much would any one of us pay to have a last conversation with a dearly loved one?

32 posted on 02/01/2013 4:22:34 PM PST by eldoradude (Let's water the tree of liberty with THEIR blood...)
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To: iowamark

Something tells me the pilot and mission commander knew they were in big trouble more than a few seconds before breakup.

Read the transcripts.

Not sure if I would want advanced warning or not because I’d sit there helpless and hope it doesn’t hurt too bad when it breaks up.

RIP, crew of Columbia!


33 posted on 02/01/2013 4:22:34 PM PST by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: Conserev1
"I felt, that of all I ever did for my Dad this was my best gift of all! "

Without a doubt.

34 posted on 02/01/2013 4:31:19 PM PST by CatherineofAragon (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I think it was a terrible, cowardly, and shocking decision. The astronauts (and engineers on the ground) might have come up with alternatives if they had known and not been forced into a default give-up. Necessity truly is the mother of invention in situations like that. Recall Apollo 13 and how those astronauts and engineers beat the odds by improvising.


35 posted on 02/01/2013 4:31:59 PM PST by TrueFact
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To: utahagen

I didn’t have quite the impact of the Challenger but it was pretty well a news everywhere event.

I can still remember exactly when I learned of the Challenger disaster but I don’t recall the exact time when I learned of Columbia.


36 posted on 02/01/2013 4:36:46 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: Selene

I remember following the live landing thread on FR and when it was more than a couple minutes overdue over Canaveral I feared the worst.


37 posted on 02/01/2013 4:37:43 PM PST by AU72
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To: iowamark

I think they made the right decision by not telling them. However I find the lack of a rescue backup plan unacceptable. They had already lost Challenger, had extra shuttles and a space station and yet the policy seemed to be to not even try a rescue. My guess is they would rather risk a sudden explosion (one screw-up) than a possible failed rescue attempt (2 screw-ups).

Here is an article on that topic as FYI
http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts107/030523rescue/


38 posted on 02/01/2013 4:38:46 PM PST by plain talk
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To: iowamark

As several have said, I think they should have been informed. They were well trained big boys and girls.

It would be one thing if someone inside their family made the judgement call about informing them, but not an outsider who didn’t know them intimately. They put their lives on the line and someone sitting on the ground couldn’t square up with them and tell them the truth? OK, if it was just a minute or milliseconds I can see it, but even then...

On the other hand, I never shared the details of my son’s post-mortem autopsy. Of course at that point it doesn’t matter, but I wanted to know everything.


39 posted on 02/01/2013 4:40:13 PM PST by USMCPOP (Father of LCpl. Karl Linn, KIA 1/26/2005 Al Haqlaniyah, Iraq)
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To: Travis McGee

Agreed.........


40 posted on 02/01/2013 4:42:34 PM PST by Osage Orange (MOLON LAVE)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Who really knows what is truth and what is not...coming from Washington D.C.


41 posted on 02/01/2013 4:46:14 PM PST by Osage Orange (MOLON LAVE)
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To: TrueFact
Recall Apollo 13 and how those astronauts and engineers beat the odds by improvising.

The only difference being that they couldn't fix the hole in the wing...even if they had the tools, training, oxygen and time.

The crew was dead the minute the insulation hit the wing.

With Apollo 13, they were going to make it back to earth no matter what (safe return trajectory), they just had to keep the crew alive long enough to make it to reentry.

42 posted on 02/01/2013 4:49:51 PM PST by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: Uncle Miltie

“Did “Environmentally Friendly” Materials Cause Shuttle Disaster?”

This was reported by the investigative team after the disaster.


43 posted on 02/01/2013 4:51:19 PM PST by spel_grammer_an_punct_polise (Learn three chords and you, too, can be a Rock Star!)
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To: Uncle Miltie
True, the chlorofluorocarbon based Freon™ cleaner which leaves no residue was replace by an ecologically friendly orange peel based terpene cleaner which only leaves a little residue.

Seven dead astronauts, a couple billion in lost materials and missions, but at least the ozone layer is safe.

44 posted on 02/01/2013 4:52:15 PM PST by null and void (Gun confiscation enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: USMCPOP

Sir, please accept my sincerest gratitude for the sacrifice and loss of your beloved son. I can never thank you nor him enough for my freedom.


45 posted on 02/01/2013 4:52:15 PM PST by FamiliarFace
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To: JPG

“The crew were all adults; all highly trained professionals who were aware of the risks involved and of the distinct possibility that they could die on the mission.”

The East Indian lady, Mrs. Chawla, had made comments well before her death, that if there would be a planned trip to Mars she would jump at the chance even if it was a one-way trip and death was assured.


46 posted on 02/01/2013 4:54:13 PM PST by spel_grammer_an_punct_polise (Learn three chords and you, too, can be a Rock Star!)
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To: iowamark

The crew and the public should have been told. Maybe the Russians had a capsule that could have been sent up quickly or an USAF missile carrying oxygen tanks or any number of things including letting them die up there and retrieving their bodies in whole for later burial.


47 posted on 02/01/2013 4:55:56 PM PST by AmusedBystander (The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next)
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To: iowamark

There is just no way the NASA bureaucrats could have ever told the astronauts.

Telling the truth simply isn’t in the DNA of any government bureaucrat.

Unless there is absolutely no way to avoid it, and then only after at least a decade has passed, and even then expect only a partial truth.


48 posted on 02/01/2013 5:01:49 PM PST by null and void (Gun confiscation enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: iowamark
IMO, NASA managers were wrong not to inform COL Husband since ground crew shouldn't withhold information about the condition of his craft from the mission commander. CDR Sheppard established this principle during John Glenn's flight when he flat out told Glenn there were indications his heat shield was compromised.

Once informed, then it would have been COL Husband's call whether to inform the rest of his crew. To cut him out of the NASA decision loop/chain of command was just plain wrong. I can't help but believe an USAF O-6 like COL Husband would have understood.

49 posted on 02/01/2013 5:12:31 PM PST by Jonah Hex ("To Serve Manatee" is a cookbook!)
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To: iowamark

Well, as long as NASA management took the time to make sure Muslims felt good about math and science, that’s all that matters.


50 posted on 02/01/2013 5:22:04 PM PST by SkyPilot
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