Author Topic: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 2/4 Major Malfunction  (Read 68514 times)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 2/4 Major Malfunction
« Reply #240 on: 03/08/2012 11:24 PM »
Alan Silverman (VOA): And to go through briefly what happens in a “nominal” – NASA’s favorite word seems to be “nominal”, that means everything is happening properly – but, what should have happened and what happens in a normal mission, what we did see happen a little while ago: The countdown proceeds to the final moments. The main engines are ignited. The main engines, those three restartable engines that Brian mentioned, which burn liquid hydrogen with a liquid oxygen oxidizer – they are ignited. The computers check to make sure that they are operating properly. Then the Solid Rocket Boosters are ignited. And those are the two slender motors alongside the shuttle. These operate for about two minutes and give the shuttle the kick to get off the ground, to give it the power to break free of gravity. Once they have ignited, they reach full thrust instantaneously. And that point… that point in the flight is when the shuttle lifts off and is on its way into orbit. We’re now finding out that Greg Flakus should be able to hear us now, our correspondent Greg Flakus, who is at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He is standing by right now. And Greg, can you give us the scene from that vantage point?

Greg Flakus (VOA/KSC): Hello, testing, one… two… three… four…

Alan Silverman (VOA): Okay…

Greg Flakus (VOA/KSC): This is Greg Flakus at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Susan Yorkie (VOA): Greg Flakus? Greg, this is Susan Yorkie in Washington. Can you hear me Greg?

Sound Technician (VOA): They can hear you; they can hear you, Greg.

Susan Yorkie (VOA): Greg, this is Susan Yorkie, Brian Cislak and Alan Silverman in Washington, where we’ve been monitoring the shuttle. Could you tell us what’s happening down there... Greg?

Brian Cislak (VOA): We are awaiting word from Greg Flakus in Florida who is on the scene at the Kennedy Space Center and who is going to bring us an update of events there. He will tell us what he has been able to find out about the efforts of space officials there to learn what has happened…
« Last Edit: 03/15/2012 05:34 PM by Ares67 »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 2/4 Major Malfunction
« Reply #241 on: 03/08/2012 11:27 PM »
Greg Flakus (VOA/KSC): Well, we have an apparent problem that has developed with the launching of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Still no clear information, no clear announcement, but what we have so far is this: NASA spokesmen are saying that there was an apparent explosion of the vehicle. This is being reported by tracking crews who are in the Atlantic Ocean area where the trajectory of the Space Shuttle normally goes. And these tracking crews reported to NASA headquarters here that there was an explosion. They also reported an impact downrange of the vehicle, or something from the vehicle. We don’t know quite yet what has happened there. We also have a report, again all of this being very preliminary information, we have a report that paramedics have arrived on the scene and have parachuted to that impact point. On out television monitors we were able to see a paramedic parachute, or what’s at least reported as a paramedic parachute going down into that area. So that’s about all we know right now. NASA spokesmen are being very quiet at this point; I’m sure that they are trying to find out what happened. They say that everything appeared to be going normally, from the launch time the trajectory up over the skies here appeared to be normal. The separation of the Solid Rocket Boosters was the first indication that many of us on the ground had here, that something might be wrong. It didn’t look the way it normally does. It appeared to have happened too soon. And the flames and the explosion from it looked to bright. But we didn’t know that there was really anything wrong until we heard NASA spokesman Hugh Harris on the public announcement system, saying that there has been a report. Ah, we’ve now a report just in, that the vehicle crashed about fifteen to twenty miles out into the Atlantic off the coast of Florida. That’s a report that we’ve just received. So, somewhere in the vicinity… what would that be? – About thirty kilometers out from the coast of Florida from where the shuttle is normally launched. We still have no indication as to how the rescue effort is going. We’ve been told however that recovery forces are in the general area, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, we’ve had a report of paramedics being parachuted into the area. We have word now that helicopters have been sent out from Patrick Air Force Base, a U.S. Air Force Base just to the south of the Kennedy Space Center. So those helicopters are now being rushed to that scene. As of yet we still do not know, as I said, whether there have been any deaths or injuries involved in this. Or what the cause of the explosion was. These are still mysteries and NASA of course is going to be investigating this and reporting on this. As soon as we know anything more, we’ll report it to you. That’s about all I have at this time. From the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, this is Greg Flakus.

Offline Ares67

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Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 2/4 Major Malfunction
« Reply #242 on: 03/08/2012 11:31 PM »
Let me end this chapter with another excerpt from Dixon P. Otto’s article “Tragedy on a television screen” (Countdown, March 1986). I’ve chosen it because his thoughts and feelings described there are astonishingly similar to my reactions I remember having shown on that terrible day, trying to grasp what had happened with my eyes glued to the television set. Even if there had been no live coverage at first – shortly after the explosion all German TV stations offered many hours of special reports.

“Television became the instrument of understanding what had happened, grieving… and finally accepting… I did not leave my TV that day. I watched all the replays. At first I watched to see just what had happened in that instant. Then I watched to see Challenger for the last time – see it winging toward space as it was meant to… That is how I wished to remember Challenger – yet somehow the perfect launch did not look pretty anymore. The shuttle looked sinister… Yet still I watched. I could not stop watching, because stopping would mean leaving the moment Challenger ended. And my mind was stuck there – stuck with Challenger in mid-launch. I wanted to stay there, too – I did not want to journey beyond the moment of the explosion. I did not want to think about what now was beyond that moment. I had to stay with Challenger.”

Offline Ares67

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Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 2/4 Major Malfunction
« Reply #243 on: 03/08/2012 11:35 PM »
Even if it could not by far be compared to the unbelievable grieve and sorrow the families, friends and colleagues of the astronauts must have experienced – for me this felt like a personal loss. I remember that during the week following the tragedy I had tears in my eyes more than once while watching TV reports of the accident and the following events. And I know I am not the only one who, when the Space Shuttle was flying again, for years felt really uncomfortable when hearing the “Go at throttle up” call and who couldn’t wait to see the Solid Rocket Boosters gone about a minute later…

To be continued in Challenger STS 51-L – Part 3/4 Days of Mourning

Offline TALsite

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Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 2/4 Major Malfunction
« Reply #244 on: 03/11/2012 12:42 AM »
Because German TV did not offer live coverage of the Challenger launch that day and CNN wasn’t available yet, I had a tape recorder running, too – recording the short wave live coverage on the Voice of America.

Here in Spain we hadn't live coverage nor news of the space program.  We hadn't info at all about shuttle launches.  With luck, only a few lines on newspapers after the return...
This day I was ready to go to the pub with my friends. I was listening music at home, when suddenly they radioed the Shuttle explosion.  The first time I saw the video on TV (then spanish TV was covering the space program  >:( ) I thought none of the astronauts had survived.
I didn't go to the pub, and also stay at home glued to the TV news.

It's very sad remember it after reading the prelaunch jokes inside Challenger...  :'(
Great job Ares67

Offline Ares67

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Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 2/4 Major Malfunction
« Reply #245 on: 01/26/2013 11:28 PM »
Remember the Challenger Seven – 2013

“A friend said it best, in a phone call around noon. He said, ‘Not again.’ Everything affects me as a writer. I was sitting alone writing and it pulled the rug out from under me. When you are a writer, in some ways, you space out when you’re working. After the phone call, I just spent most of my day looking out the window and thinking.”

Ann Beattie, author, remembering Jan. 28, 1986

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