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  • Columbia 7

    If there was even the slightest doubt over the integrity of the ceramic-fibre heat-shield tiles protecting the Astronauts inside The Columbia from the 2300ºF fiery inferno they would have to withstand during reentry, why was such an enormous risk taken?

    Peter Bond, space science adviser to the UK Royal Astronomical Society has been quoted as saying: "Once tiles are lost and the heat shield is damaged, the fate of the crew is sealed"
    I beg to differ
    When an orbiter is damaged and not able to withstand reentry, a 'lifeboat' vessel can be dispatched to retrieve the crew. It is called 'another orbiter'

    Send a skeleton crew of two up in The Discovery, The Atlantis, or The Endeavor to rendezvous and dock with The Columbia, transfer the crew, and allow The Columbia's computers to attempt a reentry.

    N.A.S.A.'s engineers and scientists are famous for their ingenuity and ability to work with materials available to bring a crew safely home.
    I find it hard to believe that none of them even considered this option.

    According to N.A.S.A., the average cost to launch the shuttle is about $470 million USD.
    I ask you, N.A.S.A. Is this too high a price to weigh against 7 human lives?

  • #2
    Originally posted by vBR
    If there was even the slightest doubt over the integrity of the ceramic-fibre heat-shield tiles protecting the Astronauts inside The Columbia from the 2300ºF fiery inferno they would have to withstand during reentry, why was such an enormous risk taken?

    Peter Bond, space science adviser to the UK Royal Astronomical Society has been quoted as saying: "Once tiles are lost and the heat shield is damaged, the fate of the crew is sealed"
    I beg to differ
    When an orbiter is damaged and not able to withstand reentry, a 'lifeboat' vessel can be dispatched to retrieve the crew. It is called 'another orbiter'

    Send a skeleton crew of two up in The Discovery, The Atlantis, or The Endeavor to rendezvous and dock with The Columbia, transfer the crew, and allow The Columbia's computers to attempt a reentry.

    N.A.S.A.'s engineers and scientists are famous for their ingenuity and ability to work with materials available to bring a crew safely home.
    I find it hard to believe that none of them even considered this option.

    According to N.A.S.A., the average cost to launch the shuttle is about $470 million USD.
    I ask you, N.A.S.A. Is this too high a price to weigh against 7 human lives?
    Shuttles loose tiles all the time, they are designed so they can loose a few and not suffer a full loss of vehicle... They observed damage, but could not tell for sure how bad it is.. They aren't even sure it was heat shield failure at this point...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by vBR
      According to N.A.S.A., the average cost to launch the shuttle is about $470 million USD. I ask you, N.A.S.A. Is this too high a price to weigh against 7 human lives?
      What about the 43,200 people who died last year in motor vehicle crashes in the USA? (118 people a DAY, in the US alone!)

      These 7 knew the risks, the expirements tested and inovations NASA has brough to the people have the posiblity of saving thousands of lives. Maybe we could have done something, hindsight is always 20 - 20.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by vBR
        If there was even the slightest doubt over the integrity of the ceramic-fibre heat-shield tiles protecting the Astronauts inside The Columbia from the 2300ºF fiery inferno they would have to withstand during reentry, why was such an enormous risk taken?

        Peter Bond, space science adviser to the UK Royal Astronomical Society has been quoted as saying: "Once tiles are lost and the heat shield is damaged, the fate of the crew is sealed"
        I beg to differ
        When an orbiter is damaged and not able to withstand reentry, a 'lifeboat' vessel can be dispatched to retrieve the crew. It is called 'another orbiter'

        Send a skeleton crew of two up in The Discovery, The Atlantis, or The Endeavor to rendezvous and dock with The Columbia, transfer the crew, and allow The Columbia's computers to attempt a reentry.

        N.A.S.A.'s engineers and scientists are famous for their ingenuity and ability to work with materials available to bring a crew safely home.
        I find it hard to believe that none of them even considered this option.

        According to N.A.S.A., the average cost to launch the shuttle is about $470 million USD.
        I ask you, N.A.S.A. Is this too high a price to weigh against 7 human lives?
        It also takes a very long time to prepare a shuttle and its crew for launch, more than time enough for the crew to even survive in orbit. Maybe they could have done something like rendevous with the ISS and use its escape module.

        Either way remember NASA has only lost people three times: one on Earth in the pure oxygen cabin, second in Challenger, third Saturday. You're probably more likely to die driving to work each day.
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        • #5
          Out of curiosity, what happened in the pure oxygen cabin that caused the death?
          "63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs, you get 1 whacked with a service pack, now there's 63,005 bugs in the code."
          "Before you critisize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you critisize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes."
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          • #6
            A spark, from one of the controls IIRC. The oxygen ignited and since there was so much of it (not "diluted" like the Earth's atmosphere) it just effectively blew up. Also the explosive bolts that were supposed to open the hatch in emergencies didn't work.
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            • #7
              From what I read, Columbia has never went to the Space Station due to it's increased weight from being the first shuttle. It is possible that it was never retro-fitted with the necessary components to dock with the space station.

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              • #8
                I wanna know why they were sending 20+ year old ships into space in the first place!

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                • #9
                  Their plan before this happened was to continue using the shuttles for 25+ more years. The reason is rather simple, money.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by filburt1
                    Either way remember NASA has only lost people three times: one on Earth in the pure oxygen cabin, second in Challenger, third Saturday. You're probably more likely to die driving to work each day.
                    NASA also lost a number of technicians working on the orginal flight of Columbia. When prepping the shuttle for liftoff, all oxygen has to be removed from the shuttle, so as to remove any possibility of fire inside. Thus, the compartments are flooded with 100% nitrogen.

                    A "DO NOT ENTER" sign had been mistakenly removed following this process. Several technicians entered the compartments, and shortly collapsed. One died that day, another died a few weeks later. All in all, I heard yesterday, NASA has lost 24 people, including the Columbia crew.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MarkB
                      I wanna know why they were sending 20+ year old ships into space in the first place!
                      Each ship had a life span rating for 100 flights.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by freddie
                        From what I read, Columbia has never went to the Space Station due to it's increased weight from being the first shuttle. It is possible that it was never retro-fitted with the necessary components to dock with the space station.
                        From what I hear, Columbia was not ever fitted with a dock, whereas all other operating shuttles had.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by VenusGirl
                          Each ship had a life span rating for 100 flights.
                          Which is sad, since there have barely been 100 flights, total. The original concept of the shuttle was to have bi-weekly or even weekly flights to space. Instead, we've got maybe 6 or 7 a year, at most.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bigmattyh
                            Which is sad, since there have barely been 100 flights, total. The original concept of the shuttle was to have bi-weekly or even weekly flights to space. Instead, we've got maybe 6 or 7 a year, at most.
                            There have been 113 flights, with this last one being the 114th I think.

                            Anyway, here's a picture of the left wing of the Columbia from last week. They had a video conference with our prime minister and this shot was taken during the meeting. Can't comment on the credibility of the image but it appeared on all newspapers here today.
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                            גם אני מאוכזב מסיקור תחרות לתור מוטור של NRG הרשת ע"י מעריב

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                            • #15
                              The crack looks so Photoshopped but the impact might be real.

                              Why was Columbia still in service? Because the government's too damn cheap to give NASA a penny and hence develop new spaceflight technology although IIRC Lockheed Martin is working on the new shuttle. My own project at NASA has been postponed for financial reasons.
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