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back to article Columbia disaster 'not survivable', NASA concludes

NASA's comprehensive final Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report (pdf) has concluded that the 1 February 2003 space shuttle disaster was "not survivable by any currently existing capability". Columbia distintegrated on re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, having suffered launch damage to its left wing caused by a piece of …

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I'd just like to say.

Putting aside the how and why and who's to blame aspects of this incident for a moment, I'd just like to say that we all owe a debt of gratitude to all those that have given, or continue to risk, their lives for the advancement of the human species into space.

Thanks space traveller-type folks.

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Anonymous Coward

Conspiracy Theories

There were rumors that Columbia was not "allowed" to land because they did some classified "experiments" whose results would have been (in whatever way) disastrous for earth, at this time. Does anybody have some more information on this?

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Heart

"offnominal situations"

I am going to quote that sooo many times next year!

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Anonymous Coward

In other words Russian are right yet again

Well, Russian are right yet again. A while ago, before the flight of the first cosmonaut on the shuttle the Russians freaked out when given the shuttle safety and especially the seat spec. In fact the rumour goes that Leonov (or whoever was in charge at the time) had to be overruled at the highest level in his decision that "No, none of our guys will sit in this death trap".

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Black Helicopters

Free Energy Rumors

http://crimsoncircle.com/channelseries/divinehuman/07divinehumanqa.htm (#8)

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"offnominal situation... "

Will have to remember that as a nice euphemism for "fuckup".

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Coat

Columbia disaster 'not survivable'

No shit Sherlock.

It's hardly rocket sci- oh, wait...

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Flame

*sigh*

So let me get this straight in my mind....

You build something that costs millions... to convey highly trained (sic) astronauts into space... which is so dangerous safety-wise that it wouldnt be allowed on the roads if it was a car... and it takes you months to figure out that when it disintegrates in mid air into KFC'd chunks of debris this might have been a bad thing.... and that the poor souls aboard it might be having the Harry Stamper experience (with less impressive CGI - this is NASA after all).

And there was me thinking sitting in something made by British Leyland at 90mph was dangerous.

I think I would feel safer with the Top Gear approach - get hold of a reliant three wheeler and alot of plasterboard and stick some rockets up its jacksie...

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NASA pays people to produce a report like this?

I can't believe someone at NASA earned a paycheck producing a report like this one. Talk about stating the obvious. What's the next report gonna be here from Captain Obvious? One stating that it is impossible to plan a trip to the SUN at night. If this is where NASA is spending its' money, no wonder they're going broke. To make matters worse, it took Captain Obvious five years to come to this conclusion. Unbelievable.

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Boffin

Gee, no kidding

I thought the fact that, you know, nobody survived was evidence enough.

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From the department of the bleedin' obvious

So NASA spent god knows how much on a report stating the bleedin' obvious: If you are situated in a craft flying at high altitute at high speed and it disintegrates mid air, you are going to die. Duh!

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NASA wants something....

...from this. Obviously all this info has been bouncing around the olde space agency for quite a while, so this strangely late release is undoubtedly an effort to pump some life into the current push for a new launch system ("see how dangerous this old one is?"). And not to belittle the dead, but the crew was flying on full autopilot at this stage of the descent (the stick jockey only takes over for the final stage of touchdown) so their "valiant efforts" to save the ship would have included wondering what was going on, sudden urges to visit the latrine, putting on the gloves they were supposed to be wearing, etc.

"NASA: It's like the 1960's all over again"

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Stop

the foam did it

I guess there is little need to redesign the seats and suit if you just spray some foam on the outside of the craft and expect it to stay there.

Just who were the engineers that claimed that?

This incident was not unavoidable. Rather it is a direct result of stupid engineering. And I do not mean the suit and seat.

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30 seconds story...?

``[...] the report reveals the crew were killed not by fire but rather by a "depressurization event" which "occurred so rapidly that the crew members were incapacitated within seconds"``

How many seconds exactly? At least 30, apparently, which could surely feel like an eternity for the ones involved... : http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970603.html

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Foam

That foam's there to stop ice building on the main tank, and causing more damage.

Why the hell they didn't design it so the foam can be removed just before launch? Grief, my water pipes have lagging on, which I can put on/tear off at will. They have a slit up the length (fnarr, fnarr).

Similar (larger scale) system? D'ohh. I know it's rocket science, but...

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@Jemma, Marcus Wilbanks et al

The shuttle is an experimental spacecraft, it always has been, as have been all manned spacecraft. It doesn't go up and down the fscking M6. It operates at the ragged edge of possibility for current technologies, and in the most hostile environments to which any manned craft has been exposed. No, it wouldn't be allowed on the roads, because if it were, muppets like you might get at the controls. Newsflash; the "Harry Stamper experience" was a bloody movie, so you don't get shuttles which can handle lumps of rock the size of Ladas bouncing off them - real spacecraft are incredibly fragile. The LEM for the Apollo missions had a skin that was thinner than the foil you wrapped around your Christmas turkey. The skin of the Shuttle has always been vulnerable to impacts. What these people do is by its very nature dangerous; every flight is almost a test flight, but they do it anyway. The programme lost a crew, and they determined at the time what caused the accident. What they have been doing since (among other things) is attempting to determine whether there are measures that they could take that would improve crew survivability in the event of another accident. Of course it's very easy to cherry-pick a couple of sentences out of the two-and-a-half page executive summary of a 400 page report and say that they're just stating the obvious. It's also as utterly imbecilic as an assumption that there is some parity between a real spacecraft, a piece of Hollywood nonsense, and a family saloon.

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Pat

Go Figure

It's doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that they would not have survived!

I'm sure NASA spent millions of dollars and hired outside consultants to come up with this final statement!

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Coat

Shame...

While it is true that automated safety protocols would not have saved the lives of this crew, as an American citizen and an aviator, I am embarrassed by the fact that my nation's National Aeronautics and Space Administration employs safety protocols that must be activated by crew members; crew members that, in an emergency situation, are very likely to be incapacitated before their intervention required to activate the safeties.

Mine is the one with the wings on it... and for now I think I'll stick to those tiny little Cessna planes.

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Stop

Re: I'd just like to say.

>Putting aside the how and why and who's to blame aspects of this incident for a moment, I'd just like to say that we all owe a debt of gratitude to all those that have given, or continue to risk, their lives for the advancement of the human species into space.

>Thanks space traveller-type folks.

Eh? for what? with risking the "what have the Romans ever done for us", what has manned space travel ever done for us?

1. Used huge amounts of fossil fuels both directly and indirectly to put a spaceship up

2. Wasted massive amounts of cash purely for political reasons

Oooohhh... Mars or Cassini could human support life.... no they couldn't (no atmosphere)

OK, we'll build a biosphere then.... OK why not the moon then? oh, apart from the fact that it cost billions to build the ISS and that's not even self sustaining let alone set down on another moon/planet, imagine trying to build something like the size of the Eden project on the moon, if you thought the ISS was expensive, then imagine trying to build something as big as that and send it to somewhere like Mars, it would take 9 months to get there, with a 26 month launch window you'd want to send as much as possible in one go, but big don't land so well, so multiple landers required, even bigger!

So, best will in the world it would take decades to get a biosphere set up just on the moon, to support 5, maybe 10 people? what happens when the biosphere needs physical maintenance, the equipment would have to come from earth (otherwise where would you get the raw materials? the rare earth metals, plastics, hell, iron? or are you going send a smelting works too?), the moon would be an achieveable, hidiously expensive white elephant, Mars just about possible for an 22 month*, small team, obscenely risky/expensive return jaunt (start building in about 10 years, and another 10 years to get everything you need into space, then another 10 years to replace the worn out stuff, then another 10 years to replace the legacy equipment etc. etc.).

>the advancement of the human species into space.

It's bollocks and will remain so for the foreseeable future, unmanned=good, manned=stupid

Unless we invent warp drive and find a planet with comparable environment to earth then maybe we should spend the effort looking after earth instead?

Where's the foetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?!

*9+9 +4 months waiting for the return window, miss it and you'll never catch the earth.

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I agree with Secretgeek

We are indeed indebted to those men and women that put their lives on the line for our advancement.

I've spent many a night since a child in complete awe of them. It still gets me a little teary each and every time I watch a launch and return.

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@ Marcus Wilbanks

...And thank YOU for being a complete and utter fuckwit.

The purpose of a report like this is to:

A - Determine exactly WHAT happened, in exactly WHAT sequence, in order to see if ANY procedures could be modified/instituted that could have saved the crew ("When the wings start to melt, have the crew cabin eject automatically," as an example that they might consider for a future spaceplane, if any). Believe it or not, Bright Boy, spotting which fragment of slag scattered over dozens of square miles of terrain melted FIRST (not to mention second, third, and twenty-seven-thousandth) may not be as obvious at first glance to everyone as it presumably is to someone as clever and perceptive as yourself;

B - Confirm/maintain the pretense (take your choice -- I prefer to believe the first) that the crew were, in fact, doing their jobs and attempting recovery -- as they were trained to do -- when it all fell apart, and;

C - Confirm/maintain the pretense (take your choice -- I prefer to believe the first) for the bereaved families that the crew didn't suffer more than a few moments of anoxia and were not conscious of burning to death nor of falling at transsonic speeds from 30 miles up.

Of the three purposes, the first is important for the future engineering of the space program, the second for the public perception of the program, and the third for the peace of mind of the survivors.

(Note also, please, that this was a 400-page report detailing those events, conclusions, and recommendations -- of which YOU read a nine-paragraph summary and commentary before deciding to show off your wit and charm.)

So, yeah; from an engineering, as well as a PR standpoint, it actually makes sense to pay someone to figure out what happened when

What's YOUR excuse?

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Coat

Permission to land denied?

An anonymous coward wrote:

"There were rumors that Columbia was not "allowed" to land because they did some classified "experiments" whose results would have been (in whatever way) disastrous for earth, at this time."

Err, but Columbia *did* land, albeit in "offnominal" conditions across a large swathe of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

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Joke

Couldn't resist...

There were rumors that Columbia was not "allowed" to land because they did some classified "experiments" whose results would have been (in whatever way) disastrous for earth, at this time. Does anybody have some more information on this? Anonymous

Why, Yes! Further details (including the results of the experiments) may be obtained by writing to the following address:

Institute for the Clinically Gullible,

1-13, Irrational Avenue,

Dumbville,

PA

Enclosing a stamped, addressed envelope with the clear marking "IAM-STU PID" on the back...

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Pirate

I wanna watch drive-in movies on the moon

We need a real space program. Enough of this orbiting the earth nonsense. Let’s get on with it and build a scientific compound on the moon. We need an international space station on the moon now. Enough of this dicking around man, I wanna watch drive-in movies on the moon with the earth as a backdrop.

It is clear to me that NASA sucks in it’s current configuration so, fire their management, let the scientists be full time nerds and give’em whatever they need in order to create the technology that will allow Homo sapiens to physically explore the solar system and deep space.

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Coat

Hey, dude, where's my lifeboat?

When we've officially got a licence to drive planet earth I might be interested in doing something 'out there'. Until then the our 'Titanic' is speeding towards the icebergs, some of the passengers are gazing at the stars, others are wondering whether the room they booked for their wallet was a bit of an extravagance, and the folk in steerage are hoping they can break out and if they can't take over the bridge at least stand a fair chance in the race for the lifeboats...!

Hey, where the fsck are the lifeboats!

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Ben

@Nick Palmer

"It operates at the ragged edge of possibility for current technologies, and in the most hostile environments to which any manned craft has been exposed."

What? Birmingham?

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Happy

Re: Couldn't resist...

> Further details (including the results of the experiments)

> may be obtained by writing to the following address:

Prefer URL (e.g. torrent) to support or reject the details given on above mentioned link though...

Sometimes they really would like to tell but don't know where to start if nobody asks...

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Moon program

"So, best will in the world it would take decades to get a biosphere set up just on the moon, to support 5, maybe 10 people? what happens when the biosphere needs physical maintenance, the equipment would have to come from earth (otherwise where would you get the raw materials? the rare earth metals, plastics, hell, iron? or are you going send a smelting works too?), the moon would be an achieveable, hidiously expensive white elephant, Mars just about possible for an 22 month*, small team, obscenely risky/expensive return jaunt (start building in about 10 years, and another 10 years to get everything you need into space, then another 10 years to replace the worn out stuff, then another 10 years to replace the legacy equipment etc. etc.)."

Well, in my humble opinion, now is not the time to colonize the moon. It would be hideously expensive and ineffective; however, it will become feasible in the future. If we can build machines intelligent enough to utilize in-situ resources on the moon to build the bare bones of a habitat, we can colonize the moon. If instead of dozens of missions to send structures which must be assembled by human beings, we could send robotic excavators, refiners and builders, we might only need to send two or three unmanned missions before sending humans up for the finishing touches.

The moon is largely covered in aluminum, oxygen and even a fair amount of titanium, there is sufficient hydrogen in the regolith to practically produce pure, potable water (hooray for alliteration), and plenty of silicon is present, in case you need windows or processors (which hopefully will be unrelated concepts on the moon; sorry, Microsoft). If all the components of the habitat which can be readily produced from local resources are already waiting on the lunar surface, much less junk must be lifted from the Earth. Oxygen and water will be waiting, the basic structure will be built (although it seems likely that a lot of work would still need to be done by humans, or at least some vital materials sent from earth; anything made from plastic or rubber, or other organic materials like food), the power plant will already by up and running, and the moon will be ready to witness its very first ape sex.

P.S., dead astronauts = bummer

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Unhappy

Apropos of training,,,

"B - Confirm/maintain the pretense (take your choice -- I prefer to believe the first) that the crew were, in fact, doing their jobs and attempting recovery -- as they were trained to do -- when it all fell apart..."

What surprises me is the information that the crew were not fully suited up during the re-entry. This is a time of aerodynamic stress - hatches or other joints may spring a leak. The Soviets lost one crew in just this manner. If fully suiting the crew is not mandated, that is a surprising failure on its own. Or perhaps the crew were not doing their job properly? So I think B is a pretence...

"C - Confirm/maintain the pretense (take your choice -- I prefer to believe the first) for the bereaved families that the crew didn't suffer more than a few moments of anoxia and were not conscious of burning to death nor of falling at transsonic speeds from 30 miles up."

I would also be amazed if the shuttle did not have a depresurisation alarm. If that went off while the shuttle was still in stable flight, then at least five of the crew would have had to do no more than pull down their visors to be safe. What I suspect happened was that, once the wing started to break apart, the shuttle was swung sideways by the differential drag, then started tumbling and disintegrating. This would certainly have constituted a depressurisation event, but the crew would have died due to impact injuries as the ship collapsed around them, rather than collapsed due to unnoticed anoxia. The sudden loss of radio signal while a conversation was proceeding is compatible with this scenario, but not with a death due to anoxia while the shuttle was still in one piece.

Anyone who was thrown clear with minor injuries might have survived long enough to die of anoxia, and (if conscious) they would have been aware of being in free-fall. But I suspect the accelerations involved would have rendered them dead (and probably in several fragments). So they would have had a quick death, though a rather messy one. Thus I think C is a pretence also....

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Fossil fuels? WTF?

It might have escaped your notice that the space shuttle uses liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Sure fossil fuels were probably used in transport of components etc, but the launch itself uses about as much fossil fuel as walking down to the pub.

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Stop

Surprised.

Amazingly the report didn't point out that the worms survived. The obvious conclusion being: train worms to conduct all operations in space from now on. Simple really, and they won't require as much food, water or oxygen either.

You could therefore launch them on a modified firework rocket, which would probably be more inherently safe than the current orbiter+external tank+SRB model.

And *should* something go wrong and they get sliced in half by excessive g-forces, you actually get twice as many wormonauts into the bargain.

I am surprised the report failed to draw this obvious conclusion. One small wriggle etc.

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Paris Hilton

@Multiple

@30 seconds story

"How many seconds exactly? At least 30, apparently, which could surely feel like an eternity for the ones involved..."

I disagree. If you're suddenly not getting air to your blood, it seems extremely fast. You spend your last few seconds thinking "shit shit shit- I'm boned". Then everything goes blue. Least, that's how I felt when I had a heart attack.

@Others saying this is worthless

This is valuable safety information. Think about this.

Car wrecks were often not survivable. But detailed studies of HOW you're killed lead to safety improvements including but not limited to airbags and seatbelts. Now, car wrecks are much more survivable.

In this case, key findings including insufficient seat restraints, people not protected against depressurization during landing, and safety systems that require human intervention when the humans are likely incapacitated.

Previous Columbia reports lead to dramatic improvements to the external tank, and systems for on-orbit heat shield repair.

It's called learning from mistakes... I mean, seriously, what the hell is with you people's attitude?

There's a similar thing that annoys me; people complaining about the old videos encouraging people to duck & cover for nuclear attacks.

Of course a direct nuclear strike will bone you even if you're under your desk. Duh. But MOST people are gonna be killed AROUND it when the buildings are knocked down. A significant portion of potential victims can improve their chances with brain-dead simple safety procedures.

If you're going to act like there's nothing to learn about safety, and that things are not survivable because duh, than by all means, uninstall your airbags, don't wear your seatbelt, share needles, whatever floats your boat.

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Coat

Clunk-Click

Every (STS) Trip

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Paris Hilton

Nope.

"It might have escaped your notice that the space shuttle uses liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Sure fossil fuels were probably used in transport of components etc, but the launch itself uses about as much fossil fuel as walking down to the pub."

Actually, the launch system uses two different fuel/oxidizer combinations, and the shuttle's control systems yet another. The main engines do burn a hydrogen/oxygen mixture (stored in that big orange external tank), but those two big rocket boosters on the sides burn a mixture of powdered aluminum and ammonium perchlorate. The shuttle uses a hydrazine/oxygen mixture for maneuvering and to maintain orbit.

P.S., disregard my earlier pun-that-almost-worked. I failed to remember that silicon = processors, and silica = windows. Not the same thing at all... Paris, because I feel an intellectual kinship to her today.

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@Jacob Lipman

I'd like to add that the hydrogen used is manufactured with methane - a fossil fuel - and the manufacturing process yields CO2.

You can also make it using electrolysis... In which case the Shuttle would probably be (indirectly) nuclear powered. I know we have nuclear power in Florida.

One time, someone in Florida flew an ultralight over the cooling tower of one of the plants... The intake tower. He did not survive.

Anyway, back to the shuttle's fuel, the SRB's solid fuel is _very_ dirty regardless of greenhouse properties.

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@Fossil fuels? WTF?

>It might have escaped your notice that the space shuttle uses liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Sure fossil fuels were probably used in transport of components etc, but the launch itself uses about as much fossil fuel as walking down to the pub.

For every kilo of hydrogen the manufacturing process generates nine kilos of CO2 (NASA uses catalytic conversion of methane gas as the source for their hydrogen), the processs uses huge amounts of energy (obviously more than burning the hydrogen produces), then you have to cool and compress the hydrogen gas to about 200 bar, again using energy, where do you think this energy comes from?

Given the environmental and resource impact and the terrible waste of money can we justify sending up space craft at all? Satelites for comms/GPS/weather monitoring all have measurable practical benefits, but personally I think we should draw the line at manned space travel, smaller, cheaper, expendable probes work really well for exploring the world around us, but space is just so incomprehensivly big that manned space travel is terribly wasteful, Craig (bless him) and people like him need to look beyond the headlines.

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Coat

Permission to land denied?

Really? When I learnt to fly Microlight aircraft, I was told that the next lesson was takeoffs.

I asked about landings, but was told "The're guaranteed"

@Mike <<Sure fossil fuels were probably used in transport of components etc, but the launch itself uses about as much fossil fuel as walking down to the pub.>>

So, I just tossed a shuttle or two up when I was waiting for my pint, your Honour. Honest.

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@ Craig's "fossil fuels"

Yes, the three shuttle motors use hydrogen and oxygen. Now tell us all what the two heavy SRBs are powered by.

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Stop

Environmental impact

"Given the environmental and resource impact and the terrible waste of money can we justify sending up space craft at all?"

The environmental and resource impact of space programmes are miniscule compared to other fruitless human exploits.

Likewise the amount of money spent is a small blip - NASA annual budget is ~$20bn, in a country that just spent $0.6 trillion attacking the wrong country (due to a typo in a memo), and $2.2 trillion bailing out idiot bankers who can't add up. In all likelihood if that $20bn weren't spent on space flight would be spent on something even more useless. No, it would not be put to use addressing the issues of world hunger, disease, climate change, or saving the whale. Or bailing out car makers who can't make decent cars.

Manned space travel is hugely expensive for the scientific return it brings, it's quite demonstrably not the most cost-effective way to do science, or anything else for that matter. It is however hugely inspiring to kids, and helps persuade them to loom beyond careers such as "footballer" and "winner of teh X-Factor" and follow the path into careers as scientists and engineers. Who, basically, is going to come up with solutions to hunger, disease and climate change if it's not scientists and engineers?

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GF
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Management Groupthink

Space flight is inherently dangerous. Management groupthink at NASA during the events leading up to the catastrophe made it suicidal. This accident was no different than the Challenger accident IMHO.

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Unhappy

Columbia Disaster was Preventable

According to former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, all Discovery astronauts could have survived if two things were done:

1. An inspection of the damage was performed via DoD telescope (as had been done on earlier missions and/or if the astronauts obtained photos with on-board cameras (quite a motivation for astronauts to cleverly figure a way to point a camera under the wing).

2. Once the serious damage was discovered, Atlantis was already on the pad ready for a rescue mission to bring back all the astronauts by sending up two astronauts in the rescue configuration with suits to spacewalk from the damaged shuttle to the rescue shuttle.

Heads rolled at NASA JSC for those who lacked foresight to call for item 1.

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Anonymous Coward

F***ked

The report mentions loss of cabin pressure and insufficient restraints so you might think that insisting on the crews spacesuits be in full operation with visors down and pressurised might deal with that matter, restrain the crew to the seats better, but heck man, in this situation, bringing a space vehicle back down to earth, any problem that occurs, you're f**ed, well and truely anyway!

Why bother implementing new design features and rules!

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Unhappy

Wishful thinking...

"C - Confirm/maintain the pretense (take your choice -- I prefer to believe the first) for the bereaved families that the crew didn't suffer more than a few moments of anoxia and were not conscious of burning to death nor of falling at transsonic speeds from 30 miles up."

After a careful read of the 400 pages of the report, I was struck by one thing - how anxious the writers were to insist that the astronauts were 'probably' unconscious before they were spilled out into the flaming wreakage. They have no real evidence for this, beyond the fact that the visors were not closed, which they interpret as meaning the astronauts collapsed from anoxia before they could close them.

Unfortunately, there is another thing which could stop astronauts closing visors - rapidly varying high g forces. Once the shuttle hydraulics were burnt through the craft went out of control, tumbled and broke up. This tumbling caused the breakup, and the astronauts' seats were not designed to hold them in securely in place with those forces. Their first indication of a problem would have been their being rapidly dashed from side to side, suffering considerable injuries in the process. NASA speculates that some of these might have proven fatal or rendered them unconscious. Then the structure of the shuttle started collapsing, and the pressure dropped. Almost immediately the astronauts would have been exposed to a Mach 18 plasma slipstream while still secured to their seats and whatever portion of the shuttle was still connected to them. The slipstream seems to have torn away much of their suits, and probably tore them apart as well. A quick death, though a messy one....

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RotaCyclic - graceful degradation

Because, my friend, the Orbiter was a compromised design, built a long time ago and it is now theoretically possible at least, to design CEE and a CM that could enable crew to survive the experiences of an 'offnominal' entry in a redesigned vehicle.

And rules, because institutions like NASA tend to focus on budget before safety! (something that won't happen with Virgin Galactic (and they'll be doing the re-entry phase in the same manner))

I know it's a 400 page document, but you could at least skip-read it.

Actually, I made the effort to read most of it, and I found it most interesting both from a technical point of view and a literary one.

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@F**ked

"in this situation, bringing a space vehicle back down to earth, any problem that occurs, you're f**ed, well and truely anyway! Why bother implementing new design features and rules!"

Wrong!

Exploding is not the only failure scenario.

Soyuz 11 in particular depressurized during landing, due to a misfire of two pyrobolts, asphyxiating the crew because they were not wearing pressurized suits.

The capsule landed flawlessly and was recovered with two unburnt, intact, dead cosmonauts inside. So Soyuz crews always land with their suits on now.

Improved seat restraints could save lives in scenarios we haven't imagined yet.

Imagine the next Shuttle's chute doesn't open, or the landing gear fail, and an astronaut is paralyzed in a runway accident thanks to bad seatbelts.

And now imagine that we _knew_ they were insufficient, but ignored it because "any problem that occurs, you're fucked, well and truly anyway". Heads would roll.

Safety systems have saved multiple lives.

Two Soyuz crews were saved by launch escape rockets when their launch vehicles failed. Soyuz 18A's Launch Vehicle failed to reach orbit, and Soyuz T-10-1's LV exploded on the pad.

In both cases, escape rockets pulled the capsules clear of danger, saving four lives in all.

They didn't survive because someone said "if anything happens, they're boned". They survived because someone used their brain and invented a safety feature.

Further, the Soyuz flights TMA-10 and -11 entered dangerous ballistic re-entries. Everyone survived okay, but how do you think it'd go if they weren't wearing their seatbelts, flopping around the cabin at 8Gs?

Try to visualize broken glass from a smashed helmet flying around the cabin, and getting thrown headfirst into a computer monitor.

That didn't happen, and everyone was OK, because they had a design feature (seatbelts) and a rule (wear them).

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Paris Hilton

so

so several million dollars and 5 years later .....conclusion: they were fucked mate .....

paris ..cause she too was .......

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Joke

NASA stands for...

Need Another Seven Astronauts

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@ AC: "NASA stands for..."

We're laughing at you, not with you.

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@Dodgy Geezer

If you re-read the report (especially Fig 2.1-27) you will see that the G-forces were likely not so severe as to prevent closing the visors for 20 seconds or so. It only takes 4 or 5 seconds to close and lock the visors.

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Coat

methane - a fossil fuel

Only when it's not sourced from cow and human farts.

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