Author Topic: Columbia’s legacy reminds NASA to avoid being distracted from future mission  (Read 7189 times)

Online Chris Bergin

Warning, this is emotional, I felt it was required.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/02/columbias-legacy-nasa-avoid-being-distracted-future-mission/

Will move to historical eventually, but putting it here for now.

Offline STS Tony

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That's an amazing article. Has everything, covered in emotion, but still a news article. Totally amazing.

Offline spectre9

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Incredible Chris.

Couldn't get through without misting up just a bit  :'(

Offline Alpha Control

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Bravo, Chris. That was a tough read, but surely no tougher than it was to write.  A day that still aches in my heart.
Space launches attended:
Antares/Cygnus ORB-D1 Wallops Island, VA Sept 2013 | STS-123 KSC, FL March 2008 | SpaceShipOne Mojave, CA June 2004

Offline jkumpire

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Thank you for the reminder.

It is very hard not to lay political blame on one party or another for all this mess, even going back to the ending of Apollo and AAP where the starvation process really began for NASA.

However, to really find out the problem with NASA and American HSF in general we really only need to take a look in the mirror. We got what we deserved, and the memorial wall pictured in the article is just a small symbol of an even greater tragedy.

Online Stardust9906

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Great article and obviously written from the heart.  RIP Apollo 1, Columbia and Challenger.  :'(

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Columbia should have had that Hangar in Dulles, she was a historic craft that plied the skies until her last day.  We lost 8 cherished individuals on that day, and the best we can do is use their memory in everything we do for the space program.

I hope one day that a spacecraft is called Columbia again, unlike Challenger think that the name should not be retired.
"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Offline kcrick

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Great article and obviously written from the heart.  RIP Apollo 1, Columbia and Challenger.  :'(

Second that. Great article.
Kevin

Offline jsmjr

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Wayne wrote:

Quote
“Do you think that they (the fallen astronauts) would be proud of their country which can no longer send humans into space? Do you think they would be proud of their space agency which has no coherent plan to continue with exploration?”

While I agree with the sentiment, I think it is misplaced to blame an agency for not having the vision to continue exploring. Ultimately, while there are many, many dedicated and enthusiastic workers at NASA and its contractors, it is up to the American people themselves, through their leaders, to express where they want to go and why.  If they did so, I'm confident NASA, together with private industry and our other institutions, would do the job to get us there.

It is not the proper role of the space agency to drag us along into the final frontier. We have to decide for ourselves and each one of us has to take personal responsibility for that dream.  If we do not chose leaders who share it, the blame lies with us, not NASA. 

More particularly, it is incumbent upon those of us in the enthusiast community to convince our fellow citizens to embrace these goals. Ours is not a large enough community to sway national politics. We must therefore convince the larger polity to take up the cause.  Our nation's failure to do so is as much our failing as anyone else's.
« Last Edit: 02/01/2012 01:40 PM by jsmjr »

Online Chris Bergin

Thanks guys. Just seemed far more relevant than going over the specifics of the disasters, yet again, as some sites have.

Offline brettreds2k

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This part of the article brought tears to my eyes, Funny how I have never been a part of the space program, I am just the Average American but when Challenger and Columbia were lost, I of course shed tears for the crew but I also shed real tears for the Orbiters that were lost, I felt as if a member of the family had been taken away from us. These 2 ladies deserved so much more than how they ended up, and sadly both of the ladies were lost due to management who were supposed to protect them, were the cause of thier demise. This below was very emotional part of the article to me, GREAT ARTICLE CHRIS!!

"“Columbia’s lasting memorial in my eyes was her bravery that often gets over-looked,” noted one United Space Alliance engineer assigned to Columbia and who asked not to be named. “It was like she knew. I know that may sound strange – given she’s a machine, but I can’t – no matter how many times I look at the data – work out how she stayed mainly in one piece for so long, with her left wing terribly mis-shaped.
 
“Even with what we believe was – and I pray – an unconscious crew, and with her structure collapsing all around her, she still made multiple RCS (Reaction Control System) firings and rudder movements, fighting all the way to try and correct the drag. She should have been pulled over before she finally broke up, but she fought back, again and again.
 
“When I first got to see the data, I cried my eyes out. She was so brave to the end – I’m so proud of her and I’ll never forget her.”
Brett
www.facebook.com/brett.lowenthal1

Orbiters I have visited in retirement:

[ ] Enterprise
[X] Discovery
[X] Atlantis
[ ] Endeavour

Offline Space Love 101

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Thanks guys. Just seemed far more relevant than going over the specifics of the disasters, yet again, as some sites have.

To echo the others, this is a terrific article. As someone who grew up in the space community and is fortunate enough to have been a part of this legendary program, I still gained something from reading this article.

Your years of coverage have given you a great perspective on what the Space Shuttle Program meant to this country (and the world, for that matter), and I felt like tying the remembrance of these fallen heroes to the current lack of direction and vision facing NASA was entirely appropriate. It's something I think the entire space community would do well to think about.

Again, top-notch stuff sir, as usual.

Online Chris Bergin

Thank you sir!

Also, to brettreds2k - that guy is still on site. The quote was from 2008, when I asked some of the guys we know if they had anything to say. This guy quoted is a huge fella, not the type to suffer fools gladly - and yet he came back with THAT quote. Not ashamed to say I teared up when I first read it.

Offline brettreds2k

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Yeah the bonds the men and woman who cared for these girls were amazing, I love how I read once where each of the orbiters had nick names given to them by the people who worked for them, based on their personalities that each orbiter had. Personally I felt when they were lost, it was like loosing a human life, they were more than just machines to those who cared for them and for many of us who love the Shuttle program. To me like mentioned in the article, It is a disgrace to the crews lost and orbiters lost that right now we have nothing to launch.
Brett
www.facebook.com/brett.lowenthal1

Orbiters I have visited in retirement:

[ ] Enterprise
[X] Discovery
[X] Atlantis
[ ] Endeavour

Offline Shuttle Man

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A very moving read, and I know the man quoted personally. It is hard to describe and it is more of a KSC thing, but when you're on roll in ops for a returning orbiter and she doesn't come back, and you're walking outside the OPF with people in tears, look into the open OPF and realize she's not coming home, after working on her for years, it is like losing a family member.
Ex-Apollo, waiting for NASA to finish what we started.

Offline Targeteer

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Great article but the title made me think that "Challenger's legacy SHOULD have reminded NASA to avoid being distracted from future missions..."

Hard to believe it's been nine years since I was watching the live feed on the internet at home outside of Ramstein AB in Germany, hearing the unanswered calls from CAPCOM, and seeing the mission clock countdown to zero leading to the realization that something was terribly wrong.

While I was stationed in England or Germany (I can't remember which) I got to see a pass after launch at dusk and saw the tumbling orange tank behind the orbiter.  An amazing sight I'll never forget.
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline robertross

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That was one of your best articles Chris - very moving and well handled.

I know America will never forget her past; let's just hope she honors her future in memory of her past.
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Online Chris Bergin

Great article but the title made me think that "Challenger's legacy SHOULD have reminded NASA to avoid being distracted from future missions..."

Ironically, yep.

Quote

While I was stationed in England or Germany (I can't remember which)

We're the ones who like cups of tea ;) Sorry - had to lighten the mood a bit before we all get too depressed.

Online Chris Bergin

That was one of your best articles Chris - very moving and well handled.

I know America will never forget her past; let's just hope she honors her future in memory of her past.

Thanks Robert. Thankfully ISS complete provided a lot of honor, but being stuck in the mire since, won't.

Offline brettreds2k

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Robert Crippens speech on the Runway days letter literally brought tears to my eyes when we was talking about Columbia and when he made the comment she was a little heavy in the rear :)
« Last Edit: 02/01/2012 03:32 PM by brettreds2k »
Brett
www.facebook.com/brett.lowenthal1

Orbiters I have visited in retirement:

[ ] Enterprise
[X] Discovery
[X] Atlantis
[ ] Endeavour

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