Author Topic: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence  (Read 217888 times)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #180 on: 03/23/2012 03:12 pm »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #181 on: 03/23/2012 03:16 pm »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #182 on: 03/23/2012 03:23 pm »
Monday, July 28, 1986 – “Uh-oh!”

Challenger Pilot Michael Smith and Commander Francis "Dick" Scobee "probably knew something was wrong just as all communications with the shuttle were lost," NASA chief Richard Truly said at a press conference. Transcripts show that Pilot Smith said "Uh-oh" the split second before Challenger was destroyed. (Florida Today, July 29, 1986)

T-00:00 Resnik: Alright!
T+00:01 Smith: Here we go!
T+00:07 Scobee: Houston, we have a roll program.
T+00:11 Smith: Go, you mother!
T+00:14 Resnik: LVLH. (reminds flight crew about switch from a ground-based to a vehicle-based frame of reference – Local Vertical Local Horizontal) Sh… hot! (Originally deleted by NASA; NSF “language filter” would read “crap”…)
T+00:16 Scobee: Okay!
T+00:19 Smith: Looks like we’ve got a lot of wind up here today.
T+00:20 Scobee: Yeah. It’s a little hard to see out my window here.
T+00:28 Smith: There’s 10,000 feet and mach point five.
T+00:35 Scobee: Point nine.
T+00:40 Smith: There’s mach one.
T+00:41 Scobee: Going through 19,000 feet. Okay, we’re throttling down.
T+00:57 Scobee: Throttling up.
T+00:58 Smith: Throttle up.
T+00:59 Scobee: Roger.
T+01:02 Smith: 35,000, going through one point five.
T+01:05 Scobee: Reading 486 on mine. (Airspeed indicator check)
T+01:07 Smith: Yep. That’s what I’ve got too.
T+01:10 Scobee: Roger, go at throttle up.
T+01:13 Smith: Uh-oh!

Just three seconds after Commander Francis Scobee radioed "Roger, go at throttle up" last Jan. 28, the Challenger was smashed to pieces, instantly killing the shuttle astronauts. That, at least, is what most Americans have believed for the past six months. (…) NASA revealed the chilling truth: at best, the crew of the doomed shuttle knew, if only for a few seconds, that something was terribly wrong. At worst, they remained conscious for two minutes and 45 seconds, until the crew compartment, still largely intact, smashed into the Atlantic. As recently as mid-July, a NASA spokesman had announced that examination of a tape recovered from the wreckage (and restored by IBM engineers after its long immersion in seawater) indicated that the crew members were "unaware of the events associated with the tragedy." But the agency admitted (now) that a more detailed analysis had uncovered a voice recorded three seconds after Scobee's final words, just before all data were cut off. The voice was that of Pilot Michael Smith. His exclamation: "Uh-oh!"

The NASA announcement indicates that at least some of the crew were functioning for several seconds after the explosion and possibly longer. Evidence that they had survived the blast came from four emergency air packs, connected to the astronauts' helmets during launch, that were pulled months ago from the ocean. Three of the packs, designed to supply air if the astronauts had to exit the shuttle on the launch pad through noxious fumes, had been manually activated. One was identified as Smith's. Since the Challenger pilot, locked into his safety harness, could not have reached the control, it must have been turned on by either Ellison Onizuka or Judith Resnik, who sat behind him on the spacecraft's top deck.

Dr. Joseph Kerwin, director of Space and Life Sciences at the Johnson Space Center, wrote in (his) report, "The forces on the orbiter at breakup were probably too low to cause death or serious injury . . . the crew possibly, but not certainly, lost consciousness in the seconds following orbiter breakup." The maximum acceleration forces felt by the astronauts as their cabin was blown away from the explosion—estimated at 12 to 20 Gs, or 12 to 20 times the force of gravity--were "quite brief," Kerwin added, and "survivable." Even if the sealed crew compartment had ruptured and depressurized, he said at a news conference (…), the crew could have remained conscious for six to 15 seconds. If the cabin remained intact, though, they may have been conscious for nearly three terrifying minutes--as upward momentum carried the cabin from 48,000 ft. at the moment of the fireball to 65,000 ft. 25 seconds later, before it fell, tumbling and spinning, and crashed into the waves at 207 mph. with a force of about 200 Gs.

Said a National Transportation Safety Board expert: "Water is like concrete when you hit it at 200 mph." One member of the Rogers commission has expressed anger at the belated revelations about the Challenger crew. "NASA is finally in the process of coming clean," he commented. "They even tried to stonewall us (the commission) on the tapes, telling us that they never release tapes. You are going to learn eventually that some of the crew lived longer than others, and that's how it was." (TIME, August 11, 1986)

Admiral Truly stated, "Many dedicated people, both from within NASA and from other agencies, have devoted long hours and many months, first to recover the Challenger crew module from the ocean floor, and then to examine all available evidence to establish the cause of death of the crew. Their work deserves the admiration and thanks of the American people, and I believe their efforts have now closed this chapter of the Challenger loss. We have now turned our full efforts to the future, but will never forget our seven friends who gave their lives to America's space frontier." (NASA RELEASE NO: 86-100, July 28, 1986)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #183 on: 03/23/2012 03:31 pm »
The Rogers Commission did not discuss the fate of the crew or provide much detail about the crew cabin wreckage. Indeed, all references to "contact 67," the crash site of the crew compartment, were deleted from the official record, including charts that mapped various debris areas. This was done, perhaps, to preclude the possibility that anyone could find out the latitude and longitude of the cabin wreck site for diving and personal salvage. But ultimately, it was simply an extension of NASA's policy of no comment when it came to the astronauts. After all, hundreds of reporters knew the exact coordinates by eavesdropping on Navy radio. In any case, while the astronauts were not discussed in the commission report, the crew module was.

Analysis of crew cabin wreckage indicates the shuttle's windows may have survived the explosion. It is thus possible the crew did not experience high-altitude cabin decompression. If so, some or all of the astronauts may have been alive and conscious all the way to impact in the Atlantic some 18 miles northeast of the launch pad. The cabin hit the water at better than 200 mph on Scobee's side. The metal posts of the two forward flight deck seats, for example, were bent sharply to the right by force of impact when the cabin disintegrated.

"The internal crew module components recovered were crushed and distorted, but showed no evidence of heat or fire," the commission report said. "A general consistency among the components was a shear deformation from the top of the components toward the +Y (to the right) direction from a force acting from the left. Components crushed or sheared in the above manner included avionics boxes from all three avionics bays, crew lockers, instrument panels and the seat frames from the commander and the pilot. The more extensive and heavier crush damage appeared on components nearer the upper left side of the crew module. The magnitude and direction of the crush damage indicates that the module was in a nose down and steep left bank attitude when it hit the water.

"The fact that pieces of forward fuselage upper shell were recovered with the crew module indicates that the upper shell remained attached to the crew module until water impact. Pieces of upper forward fuselage shell recovered or found with the crew module included cockpit window frames, the ingress/egress hatch, structure around the hatch frame and pieces of the left and right sides. The window glass from all of the windows, including the hatch window, was fractured with only fragments of glass remaining in the frames."

Several large objects were tracked by radar after the shuttle disintegrated. One such object, classified as "Object D," hit the water 207 seconds after launch about 18 nautical miles east of launch pad 39B. This apparently was the crew cabin. "It left no trail and had a bright white appearance (black and white recording) until about T+175 seconds," an appendix to the Rogers Commission report said. "The image then showed flashes of both white and black until T+187 seconds, after which time it was consistently black. The physical extent of the object was estimated from the TV recording to be about 5 meters." This description is consistent with a slowly spinning crew module, which had black heat-shield tiles on its bottom with white tiles on its side and top.

The largest piece of crew cabin wreckage recovered was a huge chunk of the aft bulkhead containing the airlock hatch that led into the payload bay and one of the two flight deck windows that looked out over the cargo hold. The bulkhead wreckage measured 12 feet by 17 feet.

Here is a chronology of the crew cabin recovery operation and the efforts to determine the fate of the astronauts:
 
Mid-March - Four astronaut "personal egress air packs," called PEAPs, are recovered along with other cabin wreckage.

April 18 - NASA announced the crew cabin recovery operation was complete and that identifiable remains of all seven astronauts were on shore undergoing analysis.

April 25 - The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology notified NASA it had been unable to determine a cause of death from analysis of remains. Joseph Kerwin, director of life sciences at the Johnson Space Center, began an in-depth analysis of the wreckage in a search for the answer.

May 20 - Johnson Space Center crew systems personnel began analysis of the four PEAPs, emergency air packs designed for use if a shuttle crew must attempt an emergency exit on the ground when dangerous vapors might be in the area.

May 21 - Investigators found evidence some of the PEAPs had been activated.

June 4 - Investigators determined PEAP activation was not caused by crew cabin impact in the ocean.

June 9 - Smith's PEAP was identified by serial number.

June 25 - The PEAPs were sent to the Army Depot in Corpus Christi, Texas, for further analysis.

June 27 - Scobee's PEAP was identified by serial number; Army investigators determined that three of the four air packs had been activated.

July 18 - Truly received Kerwin's preliminary report on the fate of the astronauts. On July 24, NASA began informing the astronauts' families about what the investigation had found.

Some of the first wreckage recovered included four flight computers and both the cabin's operational flight recorders, used to record data about various shuttle systems and also used for the cabin's intercom system. It was on this tape that NASA heard Smith say "Uh oh" an instant before the shuttle broke apart, showing that at least some of the astronauts had a brief moment of awareness before the explosion that would claim their lives.

On July 28, six months to the day after the disaster, NASA staged a news conference in Washington to discuss the investigation. Kerwin said the cause and time of death remained unknown.

"The findings are inconclusive," he wrote in a letter to Truly. "The impact of the crew compartment with the ocean surface was so violent that evidence of damage occurring in the seconds which followed the explosion was masked. Our final conclusions are:
 
The cause of death of the Challenger astronauts cannot be positively determined;

The forces to which the crew were exposed during orbiter breakup were probably not sufficient to cause death or serious injury; and

The crew possibly, but not certainly, lost consciousness in the seconds following orbiter breakup due to in-flight loss of crew module pressure."

Accelerometers, instruments that measure the magnitude and direction of forces acting on the shuttle during flight, lost power when the nose section ripped away two tenths of a second after structural break up began.

Independent analysis of all recovered data and wreckage concluded the nose pitched down as soon as it broke away and then slowed rapidly from aerodynamic forces. Calculations and analysis of launch photography indicate the acceleration forces the astronauts felt were between 12 and 20 times the force of gravity in a vertical direction, that is, as the cabin broke away, the astronauts were violently pushed down in their seats.

"These accelerations were quite brief," Kerwin wrote. "In two seconds, they were below four G's; in less than 10 seconds, the crew compartment was essentially in free fall. Medical analysis indicates that these accelerations are survivable, and that the probability of major injury to crew members is low."

When Challenger broke up, it was traveling at 1.9 times the speed of sound at an altitude of 48,000 feet. The crew module continued flying upward for some 25 seconds to an altitude of about 65,000 feet before beginning the long fall to the ocean. From breakup to impact took two minutes and 45 seconds. Impact velocity was 207 mph, subjecting the module to a braking force of approximately 200 times the force of gravity. Any astronauts still alive at that moment were killed instantly.

When the cabin ripped away from the fuselage, the crew's oxygen supplies were left behind in the payload bay, "except for a few seconds supply in the lines," Kerwin said. But each astronaut's airtight flight helmet also was connected to a PEAP that contained about six minutes of breathing air. Kerwin said because of the design of the activation switch, it was highly unlikely the PEAPs were turned on by impact. But unlike the oxygen system, the PEAPs did not provide pressurized air and if the cabin lost pressure, they would not have allowed the crew to remain conscious.

"It is possible, but not certain, that the crew lost consciousness due to an in-flight loss of crew module pressure," Kerwin wrote. "Data to support this is:
 
The accident happened at 48,000 feet and the crew cabin was at that altitude or higher for almost a minute. At that altitude, without an oxygen supply, loss of cabin pressure would have caused rapid loss of consciousness and it would not have been regained before water impact.

PEAP activation could have been an instinctive response to unexpected loss of cabin pressure.

If a leak developed in the crew compartment as a result of structural damage during or after breakup (even if the PEAPs had been activated), the breathing air available would not have prevented rapid loss of consciousness.

The crew seats and restraint harnesses showed patterns of failure which demonstrates that all the seats were in place and occupied at water impact with all harnesses locked. This would likely be the case had rapid loss of consciousness occurred, but it does not constitute proof."

Despite NASA's best efforts, engineers were never able to determine if cabin pressure was lost. Astronaut Crippen said later he was convinced it did, however, because had the cabin maintained pressure there would have been no need to activate the PEAPs. He said in his view, the astronauts made a "desperate" attempt to survive by activating the PEAPs when pressure was suddenly lost.

Of the four PEAPs recovered, the one that belonged to Scobee had not been activated. Of the other three, one was identified as Smith's and because of the location of the activation switch on the back of his seat, Truly said he believed Resnik or Onizuka turned the pilot's emergency air supply on in a heroic bid to save his life. The exact sequence of events will never be known. (William Harwood: “The Fate of Challenger’s Crew” – for space-shuttle.com)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #184 on: 03/23/2012 03:33 pm »
Three-time Space Shuttle commander Robert Overmyer, who died himself in a 1996 plane crash, was closest to Scobee. There no question the astronauts survived the explosion, he says. “I not only flew with Dick Scobee, we owned a plane together, and I know Scob did everything he could to save his crew,” he said after the investigation. At first, Overmyer admitted, he thought the blast had killed his friends instantly. But, he said sadly, “It didn’t.” One could see how difficult it had been for him to search through his colleagues’ remains, how this soul-numbing duty had brought him the sleepless nights, the “death knell” for this tough Marine’s membership in the astronaut corps. “Scob fought for any and every edge to survive. He flew that ship without wings all the way down.” Standing in his oceanside condominium, Overmyer turned away to stare at where his friends had crashed with great speed into the sea. “They were alive,” he said softly. “They were alive.” (Jay Barbree: “The eternity of descent”, Space History on msnbc.com)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #185 on: 03/23/2012 03:36 pm »
July 30: The search for debris from the Challenger tragedy will continue for another two weeks, said Air Force Colonel Edward O'Connor, head of the recovery operations for NASA. O'Connor said that engineers had requested the recovery of more parts of the tracking and data relay satellite which had been aboard Challenger. "We want to be sure we understand everything we can about it," O'Connor said. "We want to understand how it (the satellite) broke up to see if there are any marginal components." About 20 percent of the satellite has been recovered to date - about five percent less than the goal set by engineers. (Florida Today, July 31, 1986)

August 5: The cause of the Challenger accident was determined largely because scores of television and picture cameras made a detailed record of the tragedy with a clear sky as a backdrop, say presidential commission documents released in Washington today. The documents indicate that if the launch had been at night or skies had been overcast, "the amount of time required to reach the conclusions drawn would have been much greater and perhaps never as clearly understood." (Florida Today, Aug. 6, 1986)

August 13: Divers began a visual search of every square foot of ocean bottom where shuttle debris fell after the Challenger accident. Ships dropped anchor lines to form a grid pattern on the ocean floor, said Air Force Col. Edward O'Connor, head of the NASA salvage effort. The search continued in order to find pieces of the shuttle and its payloads - a tracking and data relay satellite and Spartan-Halley satellite - that weren't found during initial searches of the area, O'Connor said. The search, much smaller in scope than a few months previously, may last until the end of August, O'Connor said. (Florida Today, Aug. 14, 1986)

August 28: NASA ended its search for debris from Challenger after seven months and millions of dollars of expenditures. The search once covered an area of 14,000 square miles from Cape Canaveral to North Carolina and employed as many as 6,000 people during peak times. The cause of Challenger's destruction was evidenced by the April 13 recovery of a piece from the aft center segment of the right solid rocket booster about 40 miles offshore in 560 feet of water.

Searchers recently spent weeks looking for wreckage from the Challenger's cargo bay. Air Force Col. Edward O'Connor, who has headed the search operation, said it is possible still that NASA engineers may request the salvage operation be prolonged in order to find missing pieces of debris.

Also recovered in the search for debris were: 45 percent of the orbiter; 50 percent of the external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters; 35 percent of the tracking and data relay satellite; 90 percent of the satellite's rocket booster and 95 percent of the Spartan-Halley experiment. Col. Edward O'Connor, who directed the salvage effort, said the search led to several developments in salvage technology that the Air Force is attempting to patent. The Navy discovered there was a worldwide shortage of unmanned submarines capable of working in strong currents. (Florida Today, Aug. 29, 1986)

September 12: Prior to the Challenger accident, NASA officials had been concerned about how they would handle the media if such a tragedy came about, said public affairs director Chuck Hollinshead. Just seven days before a scheduled mock disaster on which space agency officials planned to practice, they got the real thing. "It was a week too late," said Hollinshead of the planned exercise.

Within weeks of the Challenger tragedy, 2,000 members of the media were at KSC covering the event. Hollinshead said staff members tried to follow the basics of a 1980 contingency plan, but they didn't expect to have as much trouble getting information from NASA operations officials. The delays created problems in getting reporters the information they needed and sometimes made it seem as though Public Affairs was withholding information, Hollinshead said. (Florida Today, Sept. 13, 1986)

The USS Preserver, which conducted most of the Challenger crew cabin recovery earlier this year, will be decommissioned Sept. 30 in a ceremony at the ship's home port in Little Creek, VA, said Navy Chief Journalist Scott Kimball. "A ship's like a car," he said. "You can only own it so long. She's lived a very useful life." (Florida Today, Sept. 13, 1986)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #186 on: 03/23/2012 03:40 pm »
November 13: NASA officials said wreckage from Challenger will be buried in January in two 90-foot-deep missile silos at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The news media was being given one last look at the debris before its burial. Most of the debris is being stored at two locations at Kennedy Space Center. KSC workers are now placing the debris in boxes, which will be lowered into the silos after the first of the year. No media representatives were allowed to view Challenger crew cabin wreckage which is stored in another KSC location apart from the rest of the wreckage.

In a related matter, NASA turned down requests by several news agencies for the space agency to release photos of the crew cabin that were taken on the ocean floor. The requests were made under the Freedom of Information Act, but NASA denied them, saying the space agency was considering the feelings of the families of the seven crew members killed in the accident. NASA said it was denying the requests under exemption No. 6 of the act, which says the release of personal and medical information "constitutes a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." Similar requests for autopsy reports on the crew members also have been denied under the same exemption. (Florida Today, Nov. 14, 1986)

December 14: Plans to move debris from the Challenger into long-term storage may be delayed till lawsuits arising from the accident are settled. The debris had been scheduled to be buried in two empty missile silos at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station beginning next month. Elliot Kicklighter, debris storage manager at Kennedy Space Center said, "Personally, I don't think we need to delay putting the debris in long-term storage. We've designed the system so everything will be retrievable."

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #187 on: 03/23/2012 03:44 pm »
January 6, 1987: Challenger debris will be buried Jan. 8, NASA officials said, having been given the go-ahead by the U.S. Justice Department. The debris will be stored in two abandoned Minuteman silos at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, said Hugh Harris, spokesman for Kennedy Space Center. "They had no objection to us putting it in storage," said Harris. Currently, the barnacle-entrusted wreckage is being kept in a warehouse and a makeshift hangar st the space center. (Florida Today, Jan. 8, 1987)

January 8, 1987: The burial of debris from the space shuttle Challenger's 51-L mission began today when a large crane lowered the first cardboard crates into an abandoned missile complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Just before noon. NASA expects the storage process to take two months. Only a few parts of Challenger are still being analyzed by scientists and personal effects of the seven-member crew won't be buried at this time, said NASA spokesman Hugh Harris. The silos which will house the debris will be covered with four concrete slabs weighing 10,000 pounds each and retrieval of debris will still be possible.

Some of the 15 persons involved in the storage operation said they are looking forward to returning to the jobs they held before the Jan. 28, 1986, tragedy. "I think we are all ready to close this project out and get back to our jobs associated with launch activities," said Elliot Kioklighter, supervisor of NASA's shuttle debris storage team. "We all hope we never have to do anything like this ever again." Ron Phelps, previously a shuttle project manager, said working on the debris storage team was trying at times. "After a year of working with the debris, you kind of get used to it. But every now and then, you walk by something that brings back memories." (Florida Today, Jan. 9, 1987)
« Last Edit: 03/23/2012 03:46 pm by Ares67 »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #188 on: 03/23/2012 03:49 pm »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #189 on: 03/23/2012 03:51 pm »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #190 on: 03/23/2012 03:54 pm »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #191 on: 03/23/2012 03:58 pm »
February 23, 1987: Giant concrete caps sealed the abandoned missile silos where debris from the Challenger wreckage have been buried. "It's good to put this behind us," said Air Force Col. Edward O'Connor, head of the salvage operation. Parts of the solid rocket booster are still being studied and will be buried later. The silo caps can be removed by crane if any of the 235,480 pounds of debris is needed as evidence in
lawsuits or £or tests. (USA Today, Feb. 24, 1987)

November 25, 1987:Dave Ewing, Norton Thiokol Inc. vice president of space operations, said the company had conducted metallurgical tests for the past six months at its Utah plant on a Challenger motor. The tests were to make sure that an insulation bond hadn't contributed to the explosions. The debris was returned to Kennedy Space Center for storage in a Minuteman missile silo. (Florida Today, Nov. 26, 1987)

December 4, 1987: Don and Norma Lowe (Florence, NC) have reluctantly returned a piece of the shuttle Challenger they found in June of this year in return for a guest spot at the next shuttle launch. The piece was from the covering for the in-flight maneuvering engines. The Lowes had reported their find to NASA in August. Mrs. Lowe said, "They have promise d us a picture of Challenger, and because of our willingness to give up the piece, they invited us to be NASA's guest at the next Space Shuttle launching. For that we are very grateful, and we will be there to enjoy it. Our two grandchildren will love it.” (The Orlando Sentinel, Dec. 5, 1987)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #192 on: 03/23/2012 04:03 pm »
February 15, 1993: NASA today released photographs of the rear of the Challenger crew cabin which was surrounded by scaffolding. The photos, published for the first time today, showed parts of the airlock hatch window frame the astronauts passed through. New York artist Ben Sarao sued under the Freedom of Information Act to have the photographs released. The photographs themselves become public documents after their release to Sarao, who said, “I did it to help people understand what happened to that structure, and to help them learn how to build better ones.”

Dr. Thomasz Wierzbicki, an engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has written considerably about the Challenger cabin said, “This is a tremendous asset. Any information on the damage is telling you the story of what happened, and that can help you think about improving the design.” (The New York Times, Florida Today, The Orlando Sentinel, Feb. 15, 1993)

Seven years after the Challenger disaster killed seven astronauts, including a schoolteacher, the space agency has been forced to release some of the many photographs it took of the shuttle's pulverized crew cabin. Forty-eight pictures of the wreckage, which was recovered from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Canaveral, Fla., appear to show nothing startling about the fate of the Challenger and its crew. But they could eventually help aerospace engineers design safer spaceships. The photos were released on Feb. 3 to Ben Sarao, a New York City artist who had sued the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under the Freedom of Information Act for the pictures. "I did it to help people understand what happened to that structure, and to help them learn how to build better ones," Mr. Sarao said in an interview.

NASA has shown great reluctance to release information about the dead crew members, their personal effects and the shuttle's cabin, citing the privacy interests of the crew's families. Mr. Sarao filed his request in 1990. It was denied. After his appeal for a reversal was also denied, he sued NASA last year. The agency then released a limited selection of photos to him. Jeff Vincent, a spokesman for the space agency, said that it was the first public release of such material and that the photographs had been screened to protect the privacy of the astronauts' families. He added that, under the law, the photos could now be released to anyone requesting them. (Los Angeles Times, February 16, 1993)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #193 on: 03/23/2012 04:06 pm »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #194 on: 03/23/2012 04:08 pm »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #195 on: 03/23/2012 04:15 pm »
December 17, 1996: Two pieces of the Space Shuttle Challenger, which exploded nearly 11 years ago, were found by beachgoers Tuesday morning, officials at the Kennedy Space Center said. The parts -- a 6- by 15-foot rectangular section and a 4- by 8-foot section -- may be part of the ruddertail, wing, or body flap sections of the space shuttle, according to NASA spokesman Lisa Malone. The parts were found covered with barnacles in about 3 feet of water.

(…) Beachgoers called the Cocoa Beach Police Department at about 7 a.m. and told them about debris they found. The debris will be brought to a warehouse at the Kennedy Space Center for examination, NASA said. Investigators there will use serial numbers on the solar tiles to identify the parts of the doomed space shuttle. Early next year, Malone said, the debris will be put into a silo where other pieces of the shuttle are buried. (CNN, December 17, 1996)

Nearly eleven years after the space shuttle Challenger exploded, two large chunks of the left wing washed ashore today, apparently the biggest pieces discovered since NASA closed the investigation into the accident in 1986. Officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said they were surprised by today's news, especially the size and fairly good condition of the barnacle-encrusted metal. One piece was 6 feet to 8 1/2 feet wide, 13 1/2 feet long and 2 feet to 2 1/2 feet thick; the other was about 6 inches wide and 5 feet long.

''This is really out of the clear blue,'' said Elliott Kicklighter, NASA's former caretaker of the remains of the Challenger.  Both pieces were found in the surf in Cocoa Beach, about 20 miles south of the Kennedy Space Center. They were discovered 10 blocks apart. (…) Officials said they did not expect today's discovery to shed any new light on the accident. ''We understand what happened with Challenger,'' said Bruce Buckingham, a NASA spokesman. ''There's nothing more we can learn.''

It has been several years since anything from the Challenger has been found. Fishermen usually discover the scraps; in 1991 they found a small tank and a metal fragment a few feet long off Cape Canaveral. ''It brings things back,'' said Bruce Jarvis, father of the astronaut Gregory Jarvis, who died in the accident. ''It's like having a bad wound and you've got a scab. It's like somebody picking at the scab.''

The police said they were tipped off by a motel as well as a radio station that got a call from a listener reporting the debris. Within hours, NASA had verified that the fragments were, indeed, from the Challenger, and the parts were on their way back to the Kennedy Space Center. They will be placed with the other shuttle remains -- about 5,000 pieces weighing a quarter-million pounds -- in two nearby abandoned missile silos.

NASA believes that the two pieces found today were originally connected and came from the flaps of the shuttle's left wing. Hundreds of pounds of metal from the shuttle were salvaged within a day of the accident. The remains of the astronauts were found in March 1986 in the debris of the crew cabin, but most of the shuttle is still in the Atlantic: half the orbiter and boosters, two-thirds of the external fuel tank and one-fourth of the satellite payload. Only the crucial pieces were retrieved. NASA theorized that the fragments might have washed ashore today because of rough seas from the hurricane season, or that a fishing boat snagged them and brought them near shore. (The New York Times, Dec. 18, 1996)

December 18, 1996: A third piece of shuttle Challenger’s left wing washed up Wednesday in Cocoa Beach as NASA and local police combed the shoreline for wreckage. The debris was taken to the Cocoa Beach Police Department and retrieved by NASA officials. It was then taken to Kennedy Space Center. (…) All pieces found the past two days will join other Challenger wreckage in two abandoned Minuteman missile silos and four underground rooms at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Station. (Florida Today, December 19, 1996)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #196 on: 03/23/2012 04:18 pm »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #197 on: 03/23/2012 04:21 pm »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #198 on: 03/23/2012 04:24 pm »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13486
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Challenger STS 51-L – Part 4/4 End of Innocence
« Reply #199 on: 03/23/2012 04:27 pm »

Tags:
 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement SkyTale Software GmbH
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
1