Author Topic: Columbia’s legacy reminds NASA to avoid being distracted from future mission  (Read 7737 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.

Offline 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.
And this is a good reminder that just because one of your fellow space enthusiasts occasionally voices doubts about the SpaceX schedule announcements or is cautious about believing SpaceX has licked a problem before actually seeing proof that's true, it doesn't mean they hate SpaceX.

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
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Orbiters I have visited in retirement:

[ ] Enterprise
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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
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Orbiters I have visited in retirement:

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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
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Offline PahTo

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Thanks Chris--well done.

Hail Columbia!

Online DaveS

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John 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 :)
That was Robert Crippen, PLT on STS-1. The CDR was John Young.
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Offline brettreds2k

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My bad, I fixed it, I had the 2 names in my head when typing that
Brett
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Online Chris Bergin

Couple of videos that I think are apt:

Amazing launch view from Columbia's HST mission:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=961.0

And Bob Crippen's amazing speech about Columbia:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=3903.0

Offline NavySpaceFan

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9 years ago, I was in the Eastern Mediterranean a day or two out from the Suez Canal while serving as navigator on board USS Bataan.  I remember receiving the word from the Officer of the Deck, then heading to my stateroom to watch CNN.  I just sat there thinking "not again."  I posted CAPT Crippen's eulogy on my FB page as I've done for the past 3 years.
<----First launch of DISCOVERY, STS-41D!!!!

Offline brettreds2k

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Couple of videos that I think are apt:

Amazing launch view from Columbia's HST mission:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=961.0

And Bob Crippen's amazing speech about Columbia:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=3903.0

That speech brings tears to my eyes still when watching it.
Brett
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Orbiters I have visited in retirement:

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

Offline Martin FL

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Brilliant. Another example of what sets this site apart from the others.

Offline Space Pete

A brilliant, moving, and truly heartfelt article Chris.

I wasn't even following the space program nine years ago, but even just imagining what it must have been like...brings chills to the spine. I've never experienced a disaster as an in-depth follower of the space program, and I hope I never will.

I think the first commercial crew spacecraft to launch (or MPCV, if that ends up coming first) should launch with an STS-107 tribute aboard - it would really "close the circle" between the chain of events that set about Shuttle's retirement, and the post-Shuttle future.
NASASpaceflight ISS Editor

Offline Davie OPF

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Very moving, thanks Chris!

Offline Clint88

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Wonderful tribute!

Offline Beemer

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Thank you for a wonderful article  :'(

That day I had left my apartment to go to my parents' home just up the street. I left while  Columbia had entered the atmosphere figuring I'd arrive just in time to see her come in for landing.

I got out of my Jeep and my mother was waiting for me on the porch- she knows what a space geek I am- and the first words out of her mouth were "They can't get the space shuttle on the radio". I knew Columbia was lost then, Mission Control just didn't lose contact with a shuttle without something terrible happening.

Columbia the grand dame of the shuttle fleet was no more.

May she and her crew rest in peace.
Ride, Sally Ride! In memory of Sally Ride [1951-2012] America's first woman astronaut

Offline AndrewSTS

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The set of articles for these anniversaries have been amazing, but I think this one is emotionally right on the money. For a technical site to produce that article, world class.

Offline GBCT#5

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Well done as always Chris.

Columbia was a game changer, so many times and in so many ways.

As for the shuttles,  they really are far more than just machines.

The people who tend to them, operate them and fly them are far more than just Astronauts, Engineers and Technicians. Their actions really speak for themselves. Where else would a group work with such dedication and focus, even right up until the last day......

Still, it's good to pause and remember.

Offline Bubbinski

That was an excellent article Chris! 

I got up early that morning to watch the shuttle reentry, but the sky was overcast so I went back inside and turned the TV to CNN.  Then I remember Miles O'Brien saying there was a problem, that they had lost communications.  I thought "well, that's just because of the heat of reentry".  Then there were reports from Dallas of a vehicle breaking up, and the controllers were told to conserve data.  Then I knew something was very wrong.  A friend of mine at work whose dad worked for NASA asked me if I'd heard about the shuttle and she told me that her dad had worked with one of the astronauts (Chawla). 

Rest in peace Columbia and STS-107 crew.  You will never be forgotten.
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Seattle Dave

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When most media are throwing out negative news, this article shows how to do what was a negative event it in a respectful and informative way. Really will go back and read that article from time to time. It's a leveller.

Online Robotbeat

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Very good article. Thank you, Chris.
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Offline Rocket Science

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A wonderful tribute Chris... It brought tears to my eyes and memories fresh as the day it happened...
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Offline Stardust9906

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Bumping for the Anniversary.

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