1. The Challenger didn’t actually explode.
The space shuttle was engulfed in a cloud of fire just 73 seconds after liftoff, at an altitude of some 46,000 feet (14,000 meters). It looked like an explosion, the media called it an explosion and even NASA officials mistakenly described it that way initially. But later investigation showed that in fact, there was no detonation or explosion in the way we commonly understand the concept. A seal in the shuttle’s right solid-fuel rocket booster designed to prevent leaks from the fuel tank during liftoff weakened in the frigid temperatures and failed, and hot gas began pouring through the leak. The fuel tank itself collapsed and tore apart, and the resulting flood of liquid oxygen and hydrogen created the huge fireball believed by many to be an explosion.
WATCH: Christa McAuliffe: Teacher in Space on HISTORY Vault
2. The astronauts aboard the shuttle didn’t die instantly.
After the collapse of its fuel tank, the Challenger itself remained momentarily intact, and actually continued moving upwards. Without its fuel tank and boosters beneath it, however, powerful aerodynamic forces soon pulled the orbiter apart. The pieces—including the crew cabin—reached an altitude of some 65,000 feet before falling out of the sky into the Atlantic Ocean below. It’s likely that the Challenger’s crew survived the initial breakup of the shuttle but lost consciousness due to loss of cabin pressure and probably died due to oxygen deficiency pretty quickly. But the cabin hit the water’s surface (at more than 200 mph) a full 2 minutes and 45 seconds after the shuttle broke apart, and it’s unknown whether any of the crew could have regained consciousness in the final few seconds of the fall.
3. Relatively few people actually saw the Challenger disaster unfold on live television.
Though popular wisdom about the 30-year-old tragedy holds that millions of people watched the Challenger’s horrific fate unfold live on television—in addition to the hundreds watching on the ground—the fact is that most people watched taped replays of the actual event. All major networks carrying the launch cut away when the shuttle broke apart, and the tragedy occurred at a time (11:39 a.m. Eastern Time on a Tuesday) when most people were in school or at work. CNN broadcast the launch in its entirety, but cable news was a relatively new phenomenon at the time, and even fewer people had satellite dishes. Though the general public may not have been watching live, NASA had arranged a satellite broadcast onto TV sets in many schools because of McAuliffe’s role in the mission, and many of the schoolchildren who watched remember the disaster as a pivotal moment in their childhoods.
4. In the aftermath of the tragedy, some suggested that the White House pushed NASA to launch the shuttle in time for President Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union address, scheduled for later on January 28.
NASA officials apparently felt intense pressure to push the Challenger’s mission forward after repeated delays, partially due to difficulties getting the previous shuttle, Columbia, back on the ground. But the rumors that pressure was exerted from above, specifically from the Reagan White House, in order to connect the shuttle or its astronauts directly in some way with the State of the Union seem to have been politically motivated and not based on any direct evidence.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Reagan postponed his annual message to the nation (the first, and so far only, time in history a president has done so) and addressed the nation about the Challenger instead. Widely regarded as one of the best speeches of his presidency, the 650-word address ended with a moving quote from the poem “High Flight,” by the American pilot John McGee Jr., who was killed while flying for the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II.
Of the Challenger astronauts, Reagan said: “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’”
5. More than a decade after the Challenger disaster, two large pieces from the spacecraft washed ashore at a local beach.
Within a day of the shuttle tragedy, salvage operations recovered hundreds of pounds of metal from the Challenger. In March 1986, the remains of the astronauts were found in the debris of the crew cabin. Though all of the important pieces of the shuttle were retrieved by the time NASA closed its Challenger investigation in 1986, most of the spacecraft remained in the Atlantic Ocean. A decade later, memories of the disaster resurfaced when two large pieces of the Challenger washed up in the surf at Cocoa Beach, 20 miles south of the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. NASA believed the two barnacle-encrusted fragments, one measuring more than 6 feet wide and 13 feet long, were originally connected, and that they came from the shuttle’s left wing flap. After being verified, the newly found parts were placed in two abandoned missile silos with the other shuttle remains, which number around 5,000 pieces and weigh in at some 250,000 pounds.
READ MORE: Challenger Explosion: How Groupthink and Other Causes Led to the Tragedy
10 Lesser-Known Facts About Challenger Disaster In History
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster tragedy was a massive one in the history of the space science. Let us know some unknown facts about it here.
We all are aware of the natural disasters which takes place on the mother Earth. But there are certain disasters in the world which are caused by man. Challenger Orbiter Disaster is one of them.
On 28 January 1986, Challenger Orbiter space shuttle broke just after the take off within 73 seconds, bringing a great devastation at the end of the 10th mission. This disaster took lives of seven astronauts onboard.
Here are some shocking facts about the Challenger disaster:
1) Before Disaster Challenger, Space Shuttle Completed Nine Successful Missions
The Challenger vehicle was built in 1975. Soon after its construction, this vehicle underwent a lot of vibrant tests in the entire year. This vehicle morphed into the space shuttle after getting successful results in tests.
It was first launched in 1983. A female astronaut from America and first African men went as the crew members in it to take the first spacewalk.
2) Astronauts Did Not Die Instantly
When the tank collapsed, the Challenger remained intact but soon after that, it started moving upwards. The cabin where crew members were present reached the height of 65,000 feet above the Atlantic ocean before falling from the sky.
Astronauts did not die instantly but eventually as they found it hard to resist the pressure. It made them unconscious which resulted in death. Another reason behind their death was zeroing down of oxygen level thereby leading to suffocation and loss of breath.
3) Few Engineers Had Even Predicted One Night Before That The Space Shuttle Is Going To Blow Up
A night before the takeoff of the space shuttle, few engineers urged the NASA’s scientists and authority to delay the mission. That’s because they had noticed failure of O ring seals due to chilly conditions outside.
4) Challenger Did Not Explode In Reality
Just after the lift, the space shuttle engulfed in the cloud fire at an altitude 46,000 feet and it seemed like an explosion to the media as well as people who were watching it live.
Although the main factor was that the seal, which was used to prevent the leak from the tank, failed due to the cold weather conditions. As a result, hot gas began to pour out inside the shuttle. Liquid hydrogen and oxygen created the fire in the tank which resulted in the devastating disaster.
5) People Saw The Challenger Disaster Live
Many people watched the Challenger disaster live on televisions in addition to the hundreds of people who watched it live on grounds.
People saw repeat telecast of this disaster many times. The cable disk was installed at very few houses in America as it was a newer technology.
6) A School Teacher Was Selected As A NASA Crew Member To Go In Challenger
Christa Mcauliffe was a social teacher in Concord High school in New Hemisphere. At 37 years of age, she was selected as NASA’s first educator and first civilian to go into space.
They selected her in order to publicise about their organization among the kids as well as across the world. NASA provided the opportunity for the kids to watch the launch of the space shuttle live but unfortunately what they saw was a drastic tragedy.
7) Cold Weather Was A Major Factor Which Resulted In The Disaster
Investigation and thorough weather examination proved that the weather conditions were inappropriate for the launch activity, but they were fairly not enough for them to delay the mission.
At the time of the launch, the temperature was below the freezing point which affected the O ring seal of the tank.
8) This Disaster Stalled The Space Programme For Three Years
After the tragic incident, the work for the space shuttle programme was stalled for three years. NASA was looking for suggestions so that suspension of Space shuttle does not happen in future.
Another incident occurred in 2003 with the Columbia crash but the safety measures and precautions taken after the Challenger disaster helped them get out of the scene very easily. However, the cause of this tragedy was different from the Challenger disaster.
9) Astronauts Were First Fatalities Of Nasa In The History
Despite knowing the dangers of the space, seven astronauts were sent for the very first time in the history ever in the space shuttle.
Astronauts on the board were the first one to perish in the space flight since the foundation of the NASA. Two astronauts died in the test flight at the ground in 1967. But astronauts on the Challenger’s board were the first to go in space.
10) Two Pieces Of The Challenger Washed Ashore At The Local Beach After A Decade
A lot of debris was formed after the tragedy. Some important material was retrieved by NASA in their investigation. Hundred of pounds of metals were recovered. Two pieces of the Challenger space shuttle were discovered in Atlantic ocean surfing the shore of Cocoa Beach at 20 miles away from Kennedy Space Center.
They were about 6 feet wide and 13 feet long originally connected to left wing flap. After the discovery, these two parts were kept in the silos where the other remains of the Challenger were kept.
7 myths about the Challenger shuttle disaster
Twenty-five years ago, millions of television viewers were horrified to witness the live broadcast of the space shuttle Challenger exploding 73 seconds into flight, ending the lives of the seven astronauts on board. And they were equally horrified to learn in the aftermath of the disaster that the faulty design had been chosen by NASA to satisfy powerful politicians who had demanded the mission be launched, even under unsafe conditions. Meanwhile, a major factor in the disaster was that NASA had been ordered to use a weaker sealant for environmental reasons. Finally, NASA consoled itself and the nation with the realization that all frontiers are dangerous and to a certain extent, such a disaster should be accepted as inevitable.
At least, that seems to be how many people remember it, in whole or in part. That’s how the story of the Challenger is often retold, in oral tradition and broadcast news, in public speeches and in private conversations and all around the Internet. But spaceflight historians believe that each element of the opening paragraph is factually untrue or at best extremely dubious. They are myths, undeserving of popular belief and unworthy of being repeated at every anniversary of the disaster.
The flight, and the lost crew members, deserve proper recognition and authentic commemoration. Historians, reporters, and every citizen need to take the time this week to remember what really happened, and especially to make sure their memories are as close as humanly possible to what really did happen.
If that happens, here's the way the mission may be remembered:
- Few people actually saw the Challenger tragedy unfold live on television.
- The shuttle did not explode in the common definition of that word.
- The flight, and the astronauts’ lives, did not end at that point, 73 seconds after launch.
- The design of the booster, while possessing flaws subject to improvement, was neither especially dangerous if operated properly, nor the result of political interference.
- Replacement of the original asbestos-bearing putty in the booster seals was unrelated to the failure.
- There were pressures on the flight schedule, but none of any recognizable political origin.
- Claims that the disaster was the unavoidable price to be paid for pioneering a new frontier were self-serving rationalizations on the part of those responsible for incompetent engineering management — the disaster should have been avoidable.
Myth #1: A nation watched as tragedy unfolded
Few people actually saw what happened live on television. The flight occurred during the early years of cable news, and although CNN was indeed carrying the launch when the shuttle was destroyed, all major broadcast stations had cut away — only to quickly return with taped relays. With Christa McAuliffe set to be the first teacher in space, NASA had arranged a satellite broadcast of the full mission into television sets in many schools, but the general public did not have access to this unless they were one of the then-few people with satellite dishes. What most people recall as a "live broadcast" was actually the taped replay broadcast soon after the event.
Myth #2: Challenger exploded
The shuttle did not explode in the common definition of that word. There was no shock wave, no detonation, no "bang" — viewers on the ground just heard the roar of the engines stop as the shuttle’s fuel tank tore apart, spilling liquid oxygen and hydrogen which formed a huge fireball at an altitude of 46,000 ft. (Some television documentaries later added the sound of an explosion to these images.) But both solid-fuel strap-on boosters climbed up out of the cloud, still firing and unharmed by any explosion. Challenger itself was torn apart as it was flung free of the other rocket components and turned broadside into the Mach 2 airstream. Individual propellant tanks were seen exploding — but by then, the spacecraft was already in pieces.
Myth #3: The crew died instantly
The flight, and the astronauts’ lives, did not end at that point, 73 seconds after launch. After Challenger was torn apart, the pieces continued upward from their own momentum, reaching a peak altitude of 65,000 feet before arching back down into the water. The cabin hit the surface 2 minutes and 45 seconds after breakup, and all investigations indicate the crew was still alive until then.
What's less clear is whether they were conscious. If the cabin depressurized (as seems likely), the crew would have had difficulty breathing. In the words of the final report by fellow astronauts, the crew “possibly but not certainly lost consciousness,” even though a few of the emergency air bottles (designed for escape from a smoking vehicle on the ground) had been activated.
The cabin hit the water at a speed greater than 200 mph, resulting in a force of about 200 G’s — crushing the structure and destroying everything inside. If the crew did lose consciousness (and the cabin may have been sufficiently intact to hold enough air long enough to prevent this), it’s unknown if they would have regained it as the air thickened during the last seconds of the fall. Official NASA commemorations of “Challenger’s 73-second flight” subtly deflect attention from what was happened in the almost three minutes of flight (and life) remaining AFTER the breakup.
Myth #4: Dangerous booster flaws result of meddling
The side-mounted booster rockets, which help propel the shuttle at launch then drop off during ascent, did possess flaws subject to improvement. But these flaws were neither especially dangerous if operated properly, nor the result of political interference.
Each of the pair of solid-fuel boosters was made from four separate segments that bolted end-to-end-to-end together, and flame escaping from one of the interfaces was what destroyed the shuttle. Although the obvious solution of making the boosters of one long segment (instead of four short ones) was later suggested, long solid fuel boosters have problems with safe propellant loading, with transport, and with stacking for launch — and multi-segment solids had had a good track record with the Titan-3 military satellite program. The winning contractor was located in Utah, the home state of a powerful Republican senator, but the company also had the strengths the NASA selection board was looking for. The segment interface was tricky and engineers kept tweaking the design to respond to flight anomalies, but when operated within tested environmental conditions, the equipment had been performing adequately.
Myth #5: Environmental ban led to weaker sealant
A favorite of the Internet, this myth states that a major factor in the disaster was that NASA had been ordered by regulatory agencies to abandon a working pressure sealant because it contained too much asbestos, and use a weaker replacement. But the replacement of the seal was unrelated to the disaster — and occurred prior to any environmental ban.
Even the original putty had persistent sealing problems, and after it was replaced by another putty that also contained asbestos, the higher level of breaches was connected not to the putty itself, but to a new test procedure being used. “We discovered that it was this leak check which was a likely cause of the dangerous bubbles in the putty that I had heard about," wrote physicist Richard Feynman, a member of the Challenger investigation board.
And the bubble effect was unconnected with the actual seal violation that would ultimately doom Challenger and its crew. The cause was an inadequate low-temperature performance of the O-ring seal itself, which had not been replaced.
Myth #6: Political pressure forced the launch
There were pressures on the flight schedule, but none of any recognizable political origin. Launch officials clearly felt pressure to get the mission off after repeated delays, and they were embarrassed by repeated mockery on the television news of previous scrubs, but the driving factor in their minds seems to have been two shuttle-launched planetary probes. The first ever probes of this kind, they had an unmovable launch window just four months in the future. The persistent rumor that the White House had ordered the flight to proceed in order to spice up President Reagan’s scheduled State of the Union address seems based on political motivations, not any direct testimony or other first-hand evidence. Feynman personally checked out the rumor and never found any substantiation. If Challenger's flight had gone according to plan, the crew would have been asleep at the time of Reagan's speech, and no communications links had been set up.
Myth #7: An unavoidable price for progress
Claims that the disaster was the unavoidable price to be paid for pioneering a new frontier were self-serving rationalizations on the part of those responsible for incompetent engineering management — the disaster should have been avoidable. NASA managers made a bad call for the launch decision, and engineers who had qualms about the O-rings were bullied or bamboozled into acquiescence. The skeptics’ argument that launching with record cold temperatures is valid, but it probably was not argued as persuasively as it might have been, in hindsight. If launched on a warmer day, with gentler high-altitude winds, there’s every reason to suppose the flight would have been successful and the troublesome seal design (which already had the attention of designers) would have been modified at a pace that turned out to have been far too leisurely. The disaster need never have happened if managers and workers had clung to known principles of safely operating on the edge of extreme hazards — nothing was learned by the disaster that hadn’t already been learned, and then forgotten.
NBC News space analyst James Oberg spent 22 years at NASA's Johnson Space Center as a Mission Control operator and an orbital designer.
How did this happen?
Engineering teams at NASA working on the O-rings were aware of issues with the O-rings. Indeed, on the day of the launch, they warned that the cold temperatures posed a risk to the integrity of the part.
However, this launch was not just a scientific endeavour — it was a political one. The astronaut team was the most diverse in history, there was a female high-school teacher set to become the first ‘civilian’ in space, alongside another female astronaut. This crew of 7 were the hope of their generation. Set in the context of the Cold War and at a cost of over $3.2billion, this was more than a rocket launch — it was a message to the world.
As such, the pressure on NASA to launch was immense.
Early on the morning of 28th January, the engineering team urged a postponement to launch due to the cold weather. However, later that morning under immense pressure from NASA (who in turn were presumably under pressure from the US Government), the team softened their stance and the launch was approved. This set in motion the disastrous events we all witnessed later that day.
Ultimately, something was launched that should not have been launched.
The Lasting Leadership Lessons From The Challenger Disaster
The flawed decision making process that contributed to the Challenger disaster remains relevant to . [+] today’s business leaders.
Corbis/VCG via Getty Images
The space shuttle Challenger disaster remains one of the most evocative events of the American 20th Century—and for more than just the obvious reasons.
Certainly, the 35th anniversary of this tragedy returns to mind a multitude of images, memories and emotions that prompt pause. But it also reminds us of the crucial importance of informed decision making and risk oversight which are as relevant today as they were on January 28, 1986.
As some will remember, the specific, highly technical cause of the Challenger accident was the notorious “O-Ring” i.e. the failure of the pressure seal in the aft field joint of the right solid rocket motor. The failure was due to a faulty design unacceptably sensitive to a number of factors, including the effects of cold temperature (launchpad temperature was 36 degrees on January 28).
But more important to remember is the decidedly non-technical contributing cause: the multiple risk management errors that fatally flawed the Challenger launch decision. As documented by the presidential review commission, these were not errors arising from system complexities, but rather from the erosion of once-effective and redundant safety protocols.
And they were the kinds of errors that can still arise today, in planning for any significant business initiative. As such, and based on the conclusions of the presidential commission, they offer a number of valuable oversight lessons for business leaders across industry sectors.
Lesson #1: Risks Hiding in Plain Sight. The flight history of O-ring performance would have demonstrated the correlation of O-ring damage and low temperature. Yet project leadership didn’t review that history, and thus were unprepared to properly evaluate the launch risks. For many new organizational initiatives, there are often indications “in the files” that offer warning signs of possible risks. Project leaders should commit the time to look for them.
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Lesson #2: When the Signs Are Right In Front of You. While the manufacturer didn’t tell NASA not to launch, it warned that the impact of launchpad ice on the shuttle was an unknown condition, and that risk of ice striking the shuttle was a potential flight safety hazard. Yet NASA proceeded. Effective risk management depends on the ability to identify, process and give adequate consideration to signs and indicators that can be critical to project success.
Lesson #3: Those Right Hand, Left Hand Problems. Senior launch officials were unaware of key warnings expressed by others: the most recent problem with the O-Rings a contractor’s recommendation not to launch below 53 degrees the similar warnings of project engineers and the manufacturer’s concerns with launchpad ice. Project information flow must provide decision-makers with access to the perspectives of all meaningful project participants.
Lesson #4: Protecting Checks and Balances. At some point in the launch process, NASA management made an independent decision to waive previously established launch constraints designed to assure flight safety. Basic principles of risk oversight make it imperative that both the establishment of project compliance checks and balances, and decisions to override them, are subject to review by higher levels of management.
Lesson #5: Increasing Levels of Acceptable Risks. The response of NASA and a key shuttle contractor to early indications of a design flaw was to increase the amount of damage considered to be an acceptable risk. This was justified, according to the commission, “because we got away with it the last time.” Effective project leaders recognize that the ability to “get away with” something is never an acceptable basis for assuming material risk.
Lesson #6: Yielding to Pressure Rarely Works Out. A primary contractor reversed its opinion and recommended the shuttle launch, contrary to the strenuous safety concerns of its engineers. This was done to accommodate a major customer of the contractor. Effective risk evaluation processes typically involve “give and take” exchanges with various interested parties, but provide protections against the excessive influence of purely financial pressures.
Lesson #7: When the Fox Guards the Chicken Coop. Organizational structures at key shuttle project levels placed safety, reliability and quality assurance offices under the supervision of the very organizations and activities whose efforts they were responsible for supervising. Effective risk management and compliance structures pay close attention to organizational hierarchies and administrative structures in order to assure appropriate checks and balances.
Lesson #8: Insidious Risk Equations. The decision to launch in the presence of so many obvious “yellow flags” of safety created the impression that NASA was actually requiring a contractor to prove that it was not safe to launch, as opposed to proving that it was safe to launch. The effectiveness of risk management and compliance protocols can be severely compromised by review standards that are biased in favor of project design feasibility.
Lesson #9. Beware the Counterproductive Culture. The management culture at a primary NASA facility was criticized for a propensity to contain potentially serious problems and seek to resolve them internally instead of reporting them upstream. Indeed, silos are antithetical to effective risk management. Leaders should promote knowledge and information sharing amongst management, and board committees with risk/compliance/legal responsibilities.
Lesson #10: “Just Say No”. Five booster rocket engineers employed by the prime NASA contractor made a last-ditch (but ultimately unsuccessful) effort to stop the launch because of fears that the O-Rings would fail in the cold. The righteousness of their efforts underscores the importance of strong whistleblowing and futility bypass mechanisms in product design processes. Project participants need the freedom and access to say “Stop-we’re not ready!”
The Challenger disaster should best be remembered for the sacrifice of seven astronauts who died in the accident. But for those currently in leadership positions, it should also be remembered as a colossal failure of process - a process designed by the best and the brightest. By the people who sent men to the moon. That was a sobering thought on January 28, 1986, and it remains so today.
I wish to acknowledge “Key Portions of Commission Report on Challenger Accident” The New York Times (April 28, 1986) as a resource in the preparation of this post.
5 Things You Probably Never Knew About the Challenger Disaster
As gleaned from a new oral history in Popular Mechanics.
On January 28, 1986, the entire country watched as the Challenger shuttle blew up 73 seconds after taking off at Cape Canaveral. Now, 30 years later, the disaster remains among the worst incidents in the history of the space program. Though the shuttle program ended in 2011, implications from the Challenger disaster ripple through our ongoing exploration of space. In remembrance of this 30th anniversary, Popular Mechanics interviewed more than two dozen people involved with the launch that day. Here are five things we learned from the piece (which you can read in full here):
1. The launch of the Challenger was delayed or scrubbed five times in six days because of weather and mechanical issues. In the hours leading up to the shuttle's launch on January 8, there was a growing concern about the weather. As John Tribe, chief engineer for Boeing/Rockwell Launch Support Services, told Popular Mechanics:
"I couldn't believe they came out of the MMT [Mission Management Team] meeting with a recommendation to launch. Based on the ice alone, I thought it would be no-go. The ice was an unknown."
2. This was the moment flight control knew something was wrong, as told by Brian Perry, a NASA flight dynamics officer:
"The first indication that we got of any kind of trouble was when I got a call from one of our backroom folks who's in charge of processing the radar coming in. We have at least three different radars tracking the vehicle at any time, and they all have to provide a consistent indicator of where the shuttle is. She reported that the filter [the software] had disagreeing sources, which is not normal but not necessarily unheard of. You can get birds and airplanes and stuff in the way. So that by itself didn't necessarily concern me."
3. Steve Nesbitt, the NASA public affairs officer who was the voice detailing the flight of the Challenger, didn't immediately say it had blown up because they didn't know what happened:
"I kind of paused to gather my thoughts, hoping to hear something on the flight director loop. There was nothing for several seconds, and I felt an urgent need to say something, to plant a flag here that acknowledges something terrible or unusual has happened. But I didn't actually know what was going on. I didn't want to say, "The spacecraft has exploded," because I didn't know that for sure. I wanted to be correct. So I said, "Flight controllers looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction." Some people criticized my delivery, criticized that as being an understatement when clearly the crew had just died. But in those immediate seconds right afterward, that information was not available, and my own sense of professionalism would not let me make that kind of statement, that the crew was lost, without having that confirmed."
4. President Reagan wasn't watching the launch live. He was preparing for the State of the Union speech that night, and his executive assistant Kathy Osborne told him:
"When I got that phone call, I hung up and, rather than just going right into the Oval, I felt like I needed to turn on the TV. I was horrified by what I was seeing replayed over and over on the screen. After a couple of minutes, I went into the Oval Office and the president was in the process of talking. I was standing there with the door open, holding it open and just waiting a few seconds for him to finish his sentence. [Press secretary] Larry Speakes was on a couch facing me, and he could see by the look on my face that something was wrong, and he stood up. And just as I started to say, "Mr. President," Pat Buchanan almost knocked me over trying to get through the door to the Oval Office and shouted something like, 'The Challenger exploded.'"
5. Even immediately after the explosion, the families of the crew didn't want this disaster to end the space program. As then-Vice President George H.W. Bush said:
"While I was meeting with the families, June Scobee Rodgers looked me in the eye and begged me not to let what had happened to her husband and the Challenger end space exploration."
5 Horrifying Facts You Didn't Know About the Space Shuttle
Criticizing the Space Shuttle is like punching America in the face. After all, it’s been a symbol of national pride for thirty years. But many of my friends and I are celebrating yesterday’s piggy-backed final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum…because a museum is where the shuttle belongs.
Yes, the Shuttle deserves a tip of the hat—after all, it took us to the final frontier. But as the former editor of the Space Future Journal, a website dedicated to space tourism, I’ve met people who are as enthusiastic about average citizens, not trained astronauts, visiting space as I am. And we know the Shuttle wasn’t the vehicle to take us there.
To us, the Shuttle was an obstacle.
I spoke to Will Watson, executive director of the Space Frontier Foundation, and he spelled out a few not-so-fun facts about the Space Shuttle. And maybe, just maybe, after reading this, you might think about it the same way as we do.
1. The Shuttle killed more people than any other space vehicle in history.
The explosion of the Challenger killed seven people, six astronauts and one Teacher in Space participant, during the launch of its 10 th mission in 1986. The explosion of the Columbia killed seven more during re-entry of its 28 th mission in 2003.
Let me spell it out for you: out of five Shuttles--Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavor—two met a disastrous and fiery fate. That’s a 40% vehicular failure rate (updated) and a flight failure rate of 1.5%. This would have grounded any other vehicle permanently.
To compare, the Apollo I mission resulted in the death three astronauts during a launch pad test. The Mercury and Gemini missions had no fatalities.
The Chinese space program has currently had no fatalities.
As for the Russian space program, one cosmonaut died during the re-entry of the Soyuz 1, and three died on the Soyuz 11 after being exposed to vacuum.
(There is no hard data available on the deaths of Soviet-era cosmonauts, but unsubstantiated rumors suggest that there may have been Soviet casualties in the early days of the space race.)
2. It was extremely expensive
You can’t put a price on scientific research. But I sure as heck can. A total of 355 people flew on STS (Shuttle Transportation System), and not one of them was me. And I’m not just saying this because I’m jealous as hell, but the Space Shuttle missions cost too much and provided too little.
Although NASA says that it cost a trifling $450 million to launch each Shuttle mission, other sources find that price tag vastly underestimated. All five Shuttles flew a total of 135 missions. According to Space.com, in an article written in 2005,
[I]f the space shuttle program is terminated after 2010, then it will have a total lifetime cost of about $173 billion, Pielke reported.
…Given that flight rate, this will result in a total program cost per flight of $1.3 billion, Pielke explained. Of further interest is the average cost per flight from 2004-2010: It is $1.3 billion. The average cost per flight from the middle of 2005 through 2010, assuming 22 flights, is about $1.0 billion, he said.
The US Congress and NASA spent more than US$192 billion (in 2010 dollars) on the shuttle from 1971 to 2010 (see 'A costly enterprise')…. During the operational years from 1982 to 2010, the average cost per launch was about $1.2 billion. Over the life of the programme, this increases to about $1.5 billion per launch
One of the many reasons the Shuttles were so expensive was because some of the equipment used to launch, such as the external tank, were non-reusable and had to be replaced with each launch.
Yet another reason is that the equipment was so very old. Designed in the 1970s and completed in the 1980s, the Shuttle had some modifications over the years, but for the most part, it remained frozen in time. Watson explained.
“Over thirty years, some companies go out of business, or basically their entire business is that one component, which is being paid for purely by the government. So the cost goes up because they’re not selling to anyone else besides the government, and their entire assembly line to build that piece needs to be maintained by the government. These issues led to rising and rising costs.”
Famously, at one point, NASA had to find parts for the Shuttle--parts that no one else made anymore--on eBay.
On the other hand, the Soyuz, the vehicle of choice of the Russian Space Agency (RSA), is less expensive by an order of magnitude. So how much does it cost to launch?
Watson said, “That number has never been publicized by the RSA, but it’s rumored to be as low as $45 million. Of course, in accordance with supply & demand, they’re now selling seats for $63 million a piece: initially "tickets" were selling for around $20 million.
"But even if it cost [the RSA] $80 million to launch, it's still significantly cheaper than Shuttle.
According to MSNBC, “Russia is now seen as having the world's safest, most cost-effective human spaceflight system.”
It’s also—and the irony here is almost painful—the only one you can buy a seat on. This makes the Soyuz both the most capitalist and the least government-funded space transportation option.
3. It never went very high.
Watson said, “The public has this mental image of [the Shuttle] going somewhere between the Earth and the Moon, and the fact is, it’s not true.”
The Shuttle had an operational altitude of only 120 to 600 miles. However, the Shuttle's trip to the International Space Station (ISS) was only a 200-250 mile journey… approximately the distance between NYC and Boston. The Shuttle also flew to the Hubble Telescope, which is maintained at an altitude of 350 miles, a little less than the distance from NYC to Norfolk, VA.
In case you don’t remember it from science class, the distance between the Earth to the Moon is 238,000 miles.
4. It never worked according to parameters.
Plans for the Space Shuttle were created in 1972 as a way to keep the cost of spaceflight down. (And see what happened there.) Each Shuttle was supposed to fly fifty missions per year…yet it averaged approximately four flights a year. And here’s a shout-out to the late space station Skylab, which disintegrated in Earth’s atmosphere in 1979 because the Shuttle wasn’t built in time to boost its orbit.
Each Shuttle was designed for only ten years of life. Keeping the Shuttle flying for twenty years past expiration date stifled creativity and innovation.
Just how bad was the Space Shuttle? Even former NASA administrator Michael Griffin called it “a mistake.”
5. It’s going to be replaced by something much better.
SpaceX was just given the go-ahead to launch its unmanned Dragon capsule to the ISS on April 30th after a recent successful test flight SpaceX looks to be the first of many businesses vying for the "space" that NASA left when it stopped ferrying astronauts. Companies such as Blue Origin, as well as Virgin Galactic, Armadillo Aerospace, XCOR, Orbital Sciences, and even aerospace stalwart Boeing, are working hard to create a business model that will reduce the cost of spaceflight.
The result of that, according to Watson, “will be getting more people to orbit, more often, and for a far reduced price.”
Dragon and its commercial brethren are certainly feats of engineering. Despite that, the core difference between these vehicles and the Shuttle is not technical: it’s conceptual. What truly makes them different is that they are designed to be profitable commercial vehicles, built with commercially sourced components from a private enterprise supply chain and with paying customers. Including NASA.
Instead of building its own spacecraft, NASA will off-load the business of transit to and from space to the private sector, which can now do it better and cheaper, while the space agency can get back to doing what it does best—pushing the frontiers of science and the exploration of space.
Best of all, these new vehicles will eventually become cheaper through demand and competition, which means that I can expect to fly in space at some point in my lifetime. And so can you.
Not only that, they will be profitable and self-sustaining too. Just the thing that the US is meant to be good at. Now that’s a future of space to look forward to.
So thanks for the memories, Space Shuttle. I look forward to seeing you when I visit the Mercury capsule.
Challenger cockpit after explosion
A secret NASA tape reveals that the crew of the shuttle Challenger not only survived the explosion that ripped the vessel apart they screamed, cried, cursed and prayed for three hellish minutes. The compartment crashed into the water nearly intact 2 minutes and 45 seconds after the explosion. Traveling at a speed of 207 m.p.h., none of the crew members inside the compartment could have. The Challenger didn't actually explode. The space shuttle was engulfed in a cloud of fire just 73 seconds after liftoff, at an altitude of some 46,000 feet (14,000 meters)
Not now, 34 years after the disaster, horrifying evidence has emerged that shows those on board Challenger were not immediately killed and may have survived for several seconds Editorial Note: This is a transcript of the Challenger operational recorder voice tape. It reveals the comments of Commander Francis R.Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialist 1 Ellison S. Onizuka, and Mission Specialist 2 Judith A. Resnik for the period of T-2:05 prior to launch through approximately T+73 seconds when loss of all data occurred 20-eight years ago today, on Jan. 28, 1986, the launch of the space shuttle Challenger ended in disaster. The shuttle broke apart in a fiery explosion just 73 seconds after liftoff Raketramp: astronauten wisten dat ze gingen sterven Op 28 januari 1986 verandert de Challenger in een gigantische vuurbal. Al snel bleek dat de oorzaak van deze catastrofe een trivialiteit was - en dat de zeven astronauten aan boord van deze brandende hel nog een paar seconden leefden
A Reddit user sorting uncovered a trove of dozens of photos from the tragic 1986 launch of the Challenger space shuttle as it exploded over the Atlantic Ocean The lights went out. The intercom went dead. After a few breaths, the seven astronauts stopped getting oxygen into their helmets. Someone, apparently astronaut Ronald McNair, leaned forward and. THE SECRET TRANSCRIPT! Editors Note: This was snagged from a employee at NASA/JPL a few months after the crash and stored away. Scary stuff. we should get a damn news award for this! A NASA tape reveals that the crew of the shuttle Challenger not only survived the explosion that ripped the vessel apart they screamed, cried cursed and prayed for three minutes before they slammed into the.
. Related. Trending Posts. 60 Minute Makeover Uk Disasters Challenger broke apart when a ruptured solid-fuel booster rocket triggered the explosion of the ship's external fuel tank. The remains were recovered from the crew cabin, found in 100 feet of.
Are These the Final Words of the Challenger Crew
- In a statement released at the Kennedy Space Center, Rear Adm. Richard H. Truly, who heads the NASA team studying the Challenger explosion, said recovery operations of the crew compartment were.
- Among the seven on board the Challenger shuttle was Christa McAuliffe, the first member of the Teacher In Space Project, after she beat 11,000 candidates to the coveted role
- Unlike the investigation after Columbia, Challenger's Rogers Commission did not mention the physiological details of the crew's deaths, The explosion without smoke clouds, would be a quick bust of fire, and gone, survivable in some cases to the fact that they were wearing Space Suits. katkosh1 December 9th, 2016
- Space Shuttle Challenger remembered 35 years after its explosion. NASA uses its Day of Remembrance to mark the 35th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy that shocked the world
- PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO MY CHANNEL FOR MORE EXITING VIDEOSChallenger disasterIt was a cold morning on Jan. 28, 1986, when Challenger was supposed to fly into spa..
- Long-Lost Photos Of Challenger Shuttle Explosion Are Found I was going through boxes of my grandparents' old photographs and found some incredible pictures of a tragic shuttle launch from 1986 . I scanned them and made an album, Hindes wrote in a Reddit thread
- utes and 5 seconds before the launching until the tape abruptly stopped 73 seconds after liftoff
Challenger Crew Was Conscious After Blast : NASA Reports
The crew compartment of the space shuttle Challenger, with the remains of astronauts aboard, has been found 100 feet beneath the sea off the coast of Florida, NASA officials announced Sunday In either scenario, it is likely that some - if not all - of the crew were awake and coherent after the disintegration of Challenger, and were conscious long enough to feel the module pitch its nose straight down, to see the blue sky in the cockpit window rotate away in favor of the continent below, and to experience a weightless free fall toward the ocean that lasted a full two minutes. The unit was recovered from the ocean floor 43 days after the Challenger accident. IBM engineers helped NASA painstakingly restore the tape's data, and this transcript is said to be the complete result, up till loss of data at T + 73 seconds. The disputed additional transcript of The Challenger's Final Minutes
Yes, some remains of all the Challenger crew were located and recovered in March 1986. but not one of the corpses was intact. Navy divers from the U.S.S. Preserver located wreckage of the crew compartment of Challenger on the ocean bed at a depth. . We remember the astronauts lost: Francis Richard Scobee, Mi.. Challenger crew (l-r): Ellison Onizuka, Michael Smith, Christa McAuliffe, Dick Scobee, Gregory Jarvis, Ronald McNair, and Judith Resnik. It was several weeks into the recovery effort when divers discovered a large pile of debris about 100 ft (30 m) deep on the ocean floor. This debris turned out to be what was left of Challenger's crew cabin Thirty-four years ago, NASA experienced an in-flight tragedy when the space shuttle Challenger broke apart shortly after launch, killing all seven crew members aboard
Photos taken by ground-based telescopes on Jan. 28, 1986, when the Challenger exploded shortly after its launching, show that the crew cabin survived the initial explosion and the general breakup. Space Shuttle Challenger (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-099) was the second orbiter of NASA's Space Shuttle program to be put into service, after Columbia. Challenger was built by Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division, in Downey, California.Its maiden flight, STS-6, began on April 4, 1983.The orbiter was launched and landed nine times before disintegrating 73 seconds.
5 Things You May Not Know About the Challenger Shuttle
- Many things changed after the Challenger explosion. The space shuttle had to be entirely re-certified and every last little technical piece was re-analyzed. The solid rocket boosters were completely redesigned -- and the next NASA space shuttle would not launch until more than two years later when the Space Shuttle Discovery was launched in September 1988
- 5 Myths of Challenger Shuttle Disaster Debunked On the 25th anniversary of the space shuttle disaster, find out what really happened to Challenger. For starters, there was no explosion
- In 1986, the astronauts aboard The Challenger space shuttle were killed when it exploded 73 seconds after launch. They were probably still alive until it crashed into the ocean
- Aug 28, 2019 - Challenger cockpit tumbling after explosion. Aug 28, 2019 - Challenger cockpit tumbling after explosion. Saved by Tt-debudebu-tsu-yoshi. People.
- Challenger cockpit tumbling after explosion. Image. 8 comments. share. save hide report.
- De Challenger bevond zich midden in het inferno van de verbrandende brandstoffen en werd uit elkaar gerukt. De cockpit kwam grotendeels intact uit de wolk verbrandende gassen tevoorschijn, viel ruim 16 kilometer omlaag en spatte op het wateroppervlak van de Atlantische Oceaan uiteen
- After failing to convince NASA to stop Challenger's January 28 launch, Morton Thiokol engineer Roger Boisjoly went home. Upon being asked by his wife what was wrong, he responded, Oh nothing, honey, it was a great day, we just had a meeting to go launch tomorrow and kill the astronauts, but outside of that, it was a great day
Horrifying evidence astronauts killed in Challenger
- There is no transcript after the 73-second point because once the Challenger began to break up, power was lost and the recorders stopped running. JSC also reported that one of the personal cassette recorders available to crew members for note-taking had been recovered, but it was still in its stowage container, indicating it had not been used, and the recording tape was too severely damaged.
- Aftermath of the Challenger Explosion . After the accident, NASA refrained from sending astronauts into space for more than two years as it redesigned a number of the shuttle's features
- NASA recently honored the Challenger mission, which famously exploded and disintegrated on January 28, 1986, killing all seven crew members.The space organization has released the final words and.
TRANSCRIPT OF THE CHALLENGER CREW - NASA History Divisio
- NASA used its commemoration day to mark the 35th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy that shocked the world.The US Space Agency NASA on Thursda
- IMAGES: Remembering Challenger Mission Musgrave said the crew survived in the iconic white cloud seen after the explosion 73 seconds into the mission. It was Challenger's fuel tank that exploded
- Challenger disaster, explosion of the U.S. space shuttle orbiter Challenger, shortly after its launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on January 28, 1986, which claimed the lives of seven astronauts, including Christa McAuliffe, who had won a national screening to become the first teacher in space
- The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was an incident in the United States space program that ended fatally. It happened on January 28th, 1986, when the Challenger, the space shuttle that was being launched into space, exploded. It exploded 73 seconds after taking off, and it killed all seven of its crew members
- 33 Harrowing Images Of The E Shuttle Challenger Explosion. 5 Things You May Not Know About The Challenger Shuttle Disaster. Were The Remains Of E Shuttle Challenger Crew Recovered Quora. Shocking Human Remains Found Anic Wreck Geekologie. All Shuttle Crew Remains Recovered Nasa Says The New York Times
- Jan 17, 2019 - Challenger cockpit tumbling after explosion
- NASA's space shuttle Challenger accident was a devastating tragedy that killed seven astronauts and shocked the world on Jan. 28, 1986. Killed in the accident were Challenger commander Dick Scobee.
Read The Chilling Transcript From The Challenger Disaster
- 35 years ago this morning, the eyes of the nation and the world were on Kennedy Space Center as the crew of Space Shuttle Challenger was set to launch. The crew famously included New Hampshire.
- How lies and gross negligence contributed to the Challenger disaster, one of the worst disasters in NASA's history.. Jan. 28, 1986. 11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Millions of Americans are glued to their television screen, watching the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger.. Many of them are children
- NASA's space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff at about 46,000 feet in the air. The tragedy happened on Jan. 28, 1986
- Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster. Today marks the anniversary of what came after -- the spin, the stories, and the truth about a mission that never should have flown
- Über 25 Jahre nach der Explosion des Spaceshuttles Challenger sind bisher unveröffentlichte Amateuraufnahmen der Tragödie aufgetaucht. Ein Vater filmte das Ereignis zufällig bei einem.
If you are interested in the fate of the Challenger crew, I highly recommend reading Riding Rockets by Mike Mullane (hilarious, brutally honest account of what it was like to be an astronaut during the early years). Also, Truth, Lies and O-rings.. It was from their front yard in Melbourne, Fla., that Michael VanKulick captured this previously unseen video of the Challenger disaster, which 28 years ago on Tuesday exploded in a fireball just 73 seconds after launch, killing all seven people aboard
Challenger-ramp: astronauten wisten dat ze gingen sterven
- The Challenger shuttle exploded shortly after takeoff on January 28, 1986. Along with a NASA crew of seven, New Hampshire teacher Christa McAuliffe was on board planning to teach several lessons.
- January 28 marks the 28th anniversary of the Challenger space shuttle explosion. Last week, Michael Hindes of West Springfield, Mass., made a timely discovery: Twenty-six previously misplaced.
- President Ronald Reagan canceled his planned State of the Union address January 28, 1986, after the Challenger space shuttle broke up shortly after takeoff, killing seven people
- 5 Irrtümer über die Challenger-Katastrophe Zum 32. Jahrestag des Space-Shuttle-Unglücks stellen wir einige weit verbreitete Irrtümer richtig - zum Beispiel den, D.C. Ich glaube, dieser Mythos stammt daher, dass es wie eine Explosion aussah und die Medien es als Explosion bezeichneten..
- NASA boss names next teacher in spaceSYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Sixteen years after Christa McAuliffe and six other astronauts died in the Challenger explosion, NASA announced Friday that McAuliffe's fellow teacher and one-time understudy Barbara Morgan will ride aboard a shuttle in 2004
- Thursday marks a solemn anniversary for the space community. On Jan. 28, 1986, seven astronauts were killed when the Challenger space shuttle exploded shortly after launch
- 35 years after the spacecraft Challenger explosion It has been 35 years since the spacecraft Challenger disaster on Thursday. It is also NASA's annual Da
Thirty-four years ago today, on Jan. 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger and its courageous crew were lost 73 seconds after liftoff. Astronauts Ellison Onizuka, Christina McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis. Alleged continuation of Challenger Tape Transcript. The following transcript begins two seconds after NASA's official version ends, with pilot Michael Smith saying, Uh-oh! Times from the moment of takeoff are shown in minutes and seconds and are approximate. The sex of the speaker is indicated by M or F Find the perfect Space Shuttle Challenger stock photos and editorial news pictures from Getty Images. Select from premium Space Shuttle Challenger of the highest quality
Never before seen Challenger disaster pics: Photos
- BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - It's been 34 years since the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after takeoff from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On January 28, 1986 the Challenger lifted off and.
- This image shows the layout of the ADI switches in the steam gauge cockpit. The location of the switches is outlined in green in the drawing and the photo. STS-51L Operations: The first action taken after liftoff is, therefore, movement of this switch, as seen on the Ascent Checklist Ascent Procedures Cue Card
- e what, if any, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bereavement normal latency-age children and adolescents would develop after a distant, horrifying event.METHOD: With a structured interview, the authors assessed the symptoms of 153 randomly selected children from Concord, N.H.
- The Challenger explosion on Jan. 28, 1986, happening just 73 seconds after liftoff due to an O-ring seal failure, was the first fatal accident for NASA since 1967
- Lessons Linger 25 Years After Challenger Tragedy The explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 was a trauma to the nation's psyche, says Sen. Bill Nelson, a former astronaut. But NASA.
Thirty Years Ago, the Challenger Crew Plunged Alive and
30 Years After Explosion, Challenger Engineer Still Blames Himself : The Two-Way Bob Ebeling, an anonymous source for NPR's 1986 report on the disaster, tells NPR that despite warning NASA of. On Jan. 28, 1986, the Challenger Space Shuttle flight ended in tragedy when it disintegrated just 73 seconds after lift Hundreds of people in Florida and millions watching on live television witnessed the space shuttle Challenger break apart in a mid-air explosion 34 years ago Tuesday, killing everyone on board Space Shuttle Challenger 35 Years After Explosion: Lessons Learned From the Fatal Disaster. Tiziana Celine Jan 29, 2021 02:21 AM EST. Facebook Twitter Linkedin Comment Mail. Close
Space Shuttle Transcript - BLUR OF INSANIT
- NASA holds Day of Remembrance ceremony 35 years after Challenger explosion Livestream will be placed in this article Published: January 28, 2021, 9:31 am Updated: January 28, 2021, 10:39 a
- Mandana Marsh held her daughter, Molly, 4, as they watched television coverage hours after the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger inside their home in Concord, N.H., Jan. 28, 1986
- Challenger: The Final Flight clears up misconceptions about what actually caused the 1986 NASA disaster. Decades after the Challenger space shuttle disintegrated on live television, people familiar with the event seem to remember the specifics differently. What's clear, though, is that a major malfunction led to the deaths of seven U.S. astronauts
- The Challenger disaster grounded NASA's space shuttle program for nearly three years. But look at how we flew after, says Robert Cabana, former NASA astronaut and director of the Kennedy Space.
- After the 1986 Challenger explosion, which also resulted in the death of seven astronauts, the cause of death was never positively established
- der for cockpit switch configuration change
Challenger Disaster Autopsy Photos - Images All Disaster
Transcript for Jan. 28, 1986: Space shuttle Challenger disaster It is the worst disaster in the history of the American space program and President Reagan has declared a week of mourning for the. Conspiracy theory claims the seven astronauts supposedly killed in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion are quietly living out their lives in the U.S
The remains of Challenger astronaut Christa McAuliffe were
The Challenger accident was caused by a design flaw in the spacecraft's O-rings, which are mechanical gaskets that are designed to be seated in a groove and then compressed in between two surfaces. Explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. Image credit: NASA. The morning of January 28, 1986 was cold, with icicles forming below the pad Yet even after the Challenger accident, NASA's chief engineer Milton Silveira, in a hearing on the Galileo thermonuclear generator held March 4, 1986, before the U.S. House of Representatives.
ALL SHUTTLE CREW REMAINS RECOVERED, NASA SAYS - The New
US space agency NASA is commemorating the 35-year anniversary of the Challenger space shuttle explosion on Thursday, its Day of Remembrance, recalling the landmark moment of grief. Thirty-five years ago today, NASA and the nation lost seven of our family in a moment that left a timestamp on American history - a 'Where were you when' moment created only when the shared dreams. In this series of January 28, 1986 photos, the space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after lifting off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Credit: AP Reagan got around to that, too Seven astronauts had no chance of surviving craft's breakup due to cockpit depressurisation, report into 2003 disaster concludes The space shuttle Columbia lifts off for its penultimate flight in. After all, the explosion that sent the Challenger and its seven astronauts to the bottom of the sea happened two decades before his birth, in a century that's just dusty history to him. But his. After the Challenger disaster, blame quickly fell to Huntsville. Updated Mar 07, 2019 Posted Jan 28, 2016 . Within minutes of space shuttle Challenger's explosion 30 years ago today,.
Chilling video emerges of 1986 Challenger space shuttle
US space agency NASA is commemorating the 35-year anniversary of the Challenger space shuttle explosion on Thursday its Day of Remembrance, recalling the landmark moment of grief On January 28, 1986, the NASA shuttle orbiter mission STS-51-L and the tenth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-99) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members. President Ronald Reagan is shown in the Oval Office of the White House after a televised address to the nation about the space shuttle Challenger explosion on January 28, 1986. Credit: Dennis Cook. NASA uses its Day of Remembrance to mark the 35th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy that shocked the world. US space agency NASA is commemorating the 35-year anniversary of the Challenger space shuttle explosion on Thursday, its Day of Remembrance, recalling the landmark moment of grief. Thirty-five years ago today, NASA and the nation lost seven of our family in a moment that.
Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster: 5 Key Things To Know About The 1986 Tragedy
Challenger: The Final Flight is a 4-part docuseries that premieres on Netflix on Sept. 16. The docuseries examines the 1986 Challenger space shuttle tragedy and gives an in-depth look at the incredible crew and mechanical failures that led to the disaster. The Challenger space shuttle tragedy, which occurred Jan. 28, 1986, changed the world and NASA forever. HollywoodLife is taking a look back at one of the most tragic events in U.S. history.
1. The Challenger space shuttle blew apart just 73 seconds after launch. Americans all over the country were watching as the Challenger space shuttle launched on Jan. 28, 1986. Shortly after liftoff, a plume of gray smoke could be seen on the right solid rocket booster. One of the O-rings on the solid rocket booster had failed to fully seal, and hot gas began to pour through the leak. At 73 seconds post-liftoff, the fuel tank collapsed and broke apart, according to History.com. When the fuel tank ruptured, liquid oxygen and hydrogen created a massive fireball that enveloped the shuttle. All 7 astronauts — Challenger commander Dick Scobee, pilot Michael Smith, mission specialists Judy Resnik, Ronald McNair, and Ellison Onizuka, payload specialist Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe, who was supposed to be the first teacher in space — died as a result of the disaster.
The Challenger flight crew: The Challenger 7 flight crew: Ellison S. Onizuka, Mike Smith, Christa McAuliffe, Dick Scobee, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik, and Ronald McNair. (Public Domain/NASA)
2. The 1986 launch was going to take the first private citizen into space. Christa was the first to be chosen for the NASA Teacher in Space Project and would have been the first teacher in space. She was planning to teach lessons and conduct experiments while onboard the Challenger.
3. Engineers had warned NASA about the dangers of launching the Challenger the day before the tragedy. The night before liftoff, engineers at Morton Thiokol, which was in charge of building the rocket boosters for NASA, were worried about the launch because of the cold temperatures that were predicted for Jan. 28. Allan McDonald and other engineers were concerned about the O-rings, the circular pieces of rubber that seal the rocket booster together so gases can’t escape. Allan and his team at Morton Thiokol recommended delaying the space shuttle launch until the weather got warmer because the rubber in colder temperature can harden and lose its seal.
The Challenger space shuttle tragedy occurred less than 2 minutes after liftoff. (Public Domain/NASA)
NASA didn’t take the advice. &ldquoA program manager for NASA said, &lsquoMy God, Thiokol, when do you want me to launch, next April? We can&rsquot be making new launch criteria the day before launch,&rsquo&rdquo Allan recalled when talking to the Los Angeles Times. Allan refused to sign off on the launch recommendation report, but his boss did. &ldquoNASA finally said, &lsquoAl, we&rsquoll pass this on in an advisory capacity,&rsquo&rdquo Allan continued. &ldquoAnd I said, &lsquoLet me tell you something. I sure hope nothing happens tomorrow, but if it does, I am not going to be the person to stand in front of a board of inquiry and explain why I gave you permission to fly my rocket boosters in an environment I knew they would never qualify to fly in.&rsquo&rdquo The Challenger space shuttle tragedy was attributed to an O-ring failure.
4. The crew cabin fell into the Atlantic Ocean. After the initial breakup of the space shuttle, the crew cabin ascended to an altitude of a little over 12 miles before it started free-falling into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida. While it’s possible the Challenger crew survived the initial breakup of the shuttle, it could never be confirmed. The crew cabin hit the ocean’s surface at more than 200 mph nearly 3 minutes after the shuttle disintegrated.
Onlookers watched as the Challenger space shuttle disintegrated before their eyes. (Public Domain/NASA)
5. Recovery operations took months. Upon the Challenger disaster in Jan. 1986, recovery operations went into immediate effect. Over the course of 12 weeks, those involved searched for remains and pieces of the Challenger. The wreckage of the crew compartment was discovered on March 7, 1986. “Federal investigators studying the wreckage believe the crew compartment fell intact nearly nine miles to the surface of the sea, where it shattered on impact,” the New York Times reported in April 1986. NASA announced on April 20, 1986, that the remains of all 7 Challenger astronauts had been recovered, following the discovery of Greg Jarvis’ remains. NASA also said it had finished its recovery operations to retrieve the wreckage of the Challenger’s crew compartment.
Challenging Time of Death of Challenger’s Crew
Unlike the investigation after Columbia, Challenger’s Rogers Commission did not mention the physiological details of the crew’s deaths, probably out of a sense of sensitivity for the astronauts’ families. NASA released a statement at the time indicating that they were unable to determine the cause of death, but “ established that it is possible, but not certain, that loss of consciousness did occur in the seconds following the orbiter breakup.”
That is the story that has been passed down in the years since. However, a few voices have risen to dispel that version of events as only partially true. One of them is retired and somewhat eccentric astronaut Story Musgave. Musgrave was a physician before he became an astronaut, serving as a part-time trauma surgeon during his years at NASA, and he knows exactly how Challenger’s astronauts died. “They died when they hit the water,” Musgrave says, ” We know that.”
Watch the report below for more details:
About the author
Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.
NASA and space exploration is a ruse for an edge for global domination from orbit – that’s all, all else is just idle fascination to justify more public money to support it. A perpetrated delusion like evolutionism.
How and When did the Challenger Astronauts Died?
Very informative. Please change Died to Die in the headline. It really distracts from the seriousness of the content.
Thanks for the highlight. The Italian former editor-in-chief, clearly lost in translation, apologizes.
two minutes and forty five seconds knowing you are going to die and unable to say goodbye… RIP
I think the Challenger’s crew died due to the speed they hit the ocean, killing them instantly unlike, the explosion. The explosion without smoke clouds, would be a quick bust of fire, and gone, survivable in some cases to the fact that they were wearing Space Suits.
Even if they died “instantly” when they hit the water, you know that, just for a moment or two, they felt the pain of being ripped apart when they hit…
I’m sorry but no, they died so fast the nerve endings of their bodies would not have even had time to tell the brain it hurts. It was a merciful death except for the fact they had 2.5 minutes before they crashed.
I’d like this guy in the video to just tell the public what he knows instead of just sound holier than though he knows something we do not. His arrogance is duely noted here.
I don’t believe that they were conscious when the crew compartment hit the water. With the torque and sheering forces of the breakup at mach 2+, plus the impact of debris during breakup. I find it unlikely that the cabin maintained integrity to keep any air pressure to maintain consciousness of the astronauts for nearly 3 minutes to the water. The air packs did not provide pressurized air to keep the astronauts conscious.
And you know better than a NASA Sugeon, where’s your medical degree from?
They weren’t wearing “space suits”. Shuttle astronauts didn’t wear them until after the Challenger disaster. They were wearing helmets and flight suits.
Aside from being a means of transport, many of NASA’s space shuttles during this program also functioned as a flying laboratory.
The Spacelab was a reusable laboratory where scientists conducted further experiments and studies on science, astronomy and physics (particularly micro-gravity) while in flight inside the space shuttle. A total of 22 major Spacelab missions were carried out from 1983 to 1998. Most of the experiments were conducted on animals to study their behavior and their adaptation to space