Author Topic: 1983-1986: The Missions and History of Space Shuttle Challenger  (Read 14297 times)

Online Chris Bergin

Svend, I attached the full size picture used in Chris' article at the bottom of page 2 of this thread - (merged your thread with this one), as a few people had asked :)

Offline psloss

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During the 25th anniversary of the first Shuttle flight five years ago, NASA TV ran a short 1983 piece on orbiter TPS development work which included some "file footage" of helicopter video during the STS-6 rollout.

Offline smndk

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Thanks Chris.

I looked for this thread before I created mine. I must be blind....  ???

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Quote
Smithsonian considering display of fallen shuttles Challenger and Columbia debris

http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-013111a.html

Online Chris Bergin

You think this is a great historical tribute, wait till you see Columbia's from Chris G.

Part 1 alone is 7,500 words, and I'm adding over 40 images to the article.

Offline wedge

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For many years, when teaching Statistics, I used Challenger as an example of how very-unlikely events can occur in tandem and lead to an unexpected result. (I can’t do this now because college students today don’t even remember Columbia.) For instance:

(1) Challenger was scheduled to be launched the day before the actual launch. It wasn’t as cold for the first attempt but a bolt on the crew hatch was stripped after the crew was aboard.

(2) When the white room crew attempted to drill out the stripped bolt, the battery on their drill was dead.

(3) The right-hand booster on Challenger was the greatest “out of round” ever flown. (Booster segments tend to slump while they are transported and stored horizontally.)

(4) Challenger was launched on the coldest day a shuttle launch was ever attempted.

(5) The winds aloft were the highest ever experienced by a shuttle.

We can’t know for sure but if any one of the five doesn’t happen maybe the Challenger accident doesn’t happen.

Further, a little-reported schedule pressure was the need to modify the MLP that Challenger was using for the Centaur missions which were only four months away.

Assuming Challenger doesn’t happen and there aren’t any SLC-6 -related problems and the filament-wound cases for the SRBs work out, etc., etc., . . . how great would it have been to have a shuttle in polar orbit?

The initial ground tracks would have been over the Pacific, but like nine hours after launch the shuttle would have been “swooping” over the continental US from the south and then twelve hours later swooping over the US from the north.

In between you’ve got those passes over both poles and, since the Soviet Union and eastern block extended east-to-west for about 12,000 miles, every orbit flies over Soviet territory.

And what a sight those shiny Centaurs would have been sitting in the payload bay and deploying Ulysses and Galileo from very low orbits.

[I realize that my recollection of (1) and (2) above differs somewhat from Chris Gebhardt’s article but the fundamental point is the same.]


I believe your recollection of 1 and 2 is accurate.

Not one of the team's finer moments..

I have often wondered if we had made that window, if perhaps, the disaster did not happen but a close call enough to shut down the program and fix the booster problems.  And how history may have changed.

I hope you can keep using space program examples in your teachings and I applaud you for doing so.

Offline ChrisGebhardt

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I believe your recollection of 1 and 2 is accurate.

Not one of the team's finer moments..

I have often wondered if we had made that window, if perhaps, the disaster did not happen but a close call enough to shut down the program and fix the booster problems.  And how history may have changed.

I hope you can keep using space program examples in your teachings and I applaud you for doing so.

I believe that's rather pointless speculation. The cold is what did in the O-rings on the RH SRB's aft field joint on 51L. The brunt of the cold front didn't arrive until after the 27 January 1986 attempt was scrubbed.

Furthermore, please validate that this unique fix to the hatch problem was, as you put it, "not one of the team's finer moments"???

And the Program had already had two very close calls (STS-8 and STS-51C) and another wake-up moment on STS-51B. What makes you think another close-call on STS-51L would have changed the prevailing mindset that clearly wasn't influenced by any of these previous events OR the manufacture's certification limits for ambient temperature use of the SRBs?
« Last Edit: 02/01/2011 03:09 pm by ChrisGebhardt »

Offline wedge

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"I believe that's rather pointless speculation. The cold is what did in the O-rings on the RH SRB's aft field joint on 51L. The brunt of the cold front didn't arrive until after the 27 January 1986 attempt was scrubbed.

Furthermore, please validate that this unique fix to the hatch problem was, as you put it, "not one of the team's finer moments"

And the Program had already had two very close calls (STS-8 and STS-51C) and another wake-up moment on STS-51B. What makes you think another close-call on STS-51L would have changed the prevailing mindset that clearly wasn't influenced by any of these previous events?"

Probably is just pointless speculation, but just reflecting on what may have been if certain things had happened differently.

If it was the cold that truly pushed the design beyond the brink, then possibly that does not occur if we had gone on the 27th.

The drill being out of power was, well, quite embarassing.  That is what I was recalling.

The management mindset may not have been changed with another close call, but just reflecting again on what if the program had fixed the booster issues and how things would be different today.  That is all.

Offline ChrisGebhardt

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"I believe that's rather pointless speculation. The cold is what did in the O-rings on the RH SRB's aft field joint on 51L. The brunt of the cold front didn't arrive until after the 27 January 1986 attempt was scrubbed.

Furthermore, please validate that this unique fix to the hatch problem was, as you put it, "not one of the team's finer moments"

And the Program had already had two very close calls (STS-8 and STS-51C) and another wake-up moment on STS-51B. What makes you think another close-call on STS-51L would have changed the prevailing mindset that clearly wasn't influenced by any of these previous events?"

Probably is just pointless speculation, but just reflecting on what may have been if certain things had happened differently.

If it was the cold that truly pushed the design beyond the brink, then possibly that does not occur if we had gone on the 27th.

The drill being out of power was, well, quite embarassing.  That is what I was recalling.

The management mindset may not have been changed with another close call, but just reflecting again on what if the program had fixed the booster issues and how things would be different today.  That is all.

OK. Cool. Just seeking clarification.

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