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  1. #1
    Rocket Surgeon BlueBayou's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Interesting facts about the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.

    When the Space Shuttle assembly exploded on ascent, I always thought the 7 astronauts were killed instantly(and likely ripped to shreds) in the explosion of the external fuel tank and rapid disintegration of the entire shuttle assembly.

    Not true. The crew compartment survived the initial explosion nearly perfectly intact with actually a small total G-load that was survivable, and the crew members survived consciously at least part of their nearly 3 minute fall to the ocean from inside the crew compartment(the front part of the shuttle.)

    I was just a young kid in middle school when the Challenger disaster happened in 1986. But I had long been extremely interested in the space program since I was 6 or 7. I must have read the encyclopedia entry for 'space travel' at least 25 times, that was my dream as a kid, and I had read every book I could about it. I was deeply affected by the Challenger disaster to say the least. I paid attention at the time all I could to the news about it. I even had many nightmares about it.


    But I never knew a very basic fact- that the astronauts were NOT killed in the initial explosion.












    Challenger crew (l-r): Ellison Onizuka, Michael Smith, Christa McAuliffe, Dick Scobee, Gregory Jarvis, Ronald McNair, and Judith Resnik




    Cloud of propellant gases surrounding the Shuttle as it broke up






    Challenger crew compartment following the break-up(verified by NASA after analysis of several different cameras during its descent. This can also be seen in many other available pics.)



    Much conspiracy has been made about it, with some facts being revealed in the process:
    http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question...cy/q0258.shtml
    (Many have insisted, including top-level ex people from NASA, that this transcript is real.)





    The crew was killed when the crew compartment hit the water at a terminal velocity of around 207 mph, or about 200g's of force, about 2 minutes and 45 seconds after shuttle system disintegration. The crew members were all found on the bottom, about 100 foot deep, in the wreckage of the crew compartment. --> Much to the surprise of the rescuers and scientists- thay had all assumed thus far that the crew compartment had disintegrated on explosion of the LOX in the ET and that the remains would be found widespread all across the ocean bottom, not all contained in one mashed hump of debris that was the crew compartment. It was just after this that the videos were studied closer, and the intact crew compartment was seen on various videos and still pictures falling towards the ocean.

    IN ADDITION...
    4 PEAP's(Personal Egress Air Packs) were found in the recovery process. You can see some of these in the shuttle crew compartment diagrams above. 3 out of the 4 had been turned on manually after the shuttle break-up, and had been partially used up. It was determined they could not have been turned on by the water impact, and could only have been turned by by direct intention by the astronauts after the shuttle break-up.









    Joseph Kerwin's report:
    http://history.nasa.gov/kerwin.html
    [On July 28, 1986 Rear Admiral Richard H. Truly, NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Flight and a former astronaut, released this report from Joseph P. Kerwin, biomedical specialist from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, relating to the deaths of the astronauts in the Challenger accident. Dr. Kerwin had been commissioned to undertake this study soon after the accident on January 28, 1986. A copy of this report is available in the NASA Historical Reference Collection, Hstory Office, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC.]

    RADM Richard H. Truly

    Associate Administrator for Space Flight

    NASA Headquarters

    Code M

    Washington, DC 20546

    Dear Admiral Truly:

    The search for wreckage of the Challenger crew cabin has been completed. A team of engineers and scientists has analyzed the wreckage and all other available evidence in an attempt to determine the cause of death of the Challenger crew. This letter is to report to you on the results of this effort. The findings are inconclusive. 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.
    Our inspection and analyses revealed certain facts which support the above conclusions, and these are related below: The forces on the Orbiter at breakup were probably too low to cause death or serious injury to the crew but were sufficient to separate the crew compartment from the forward fuselage, cargo bay, nose cone, and forward reaction control compartment. The forces applied to the Orbiter to cause such destruction clearly exceed its design limits. The data available to estimate the magnitude and direction of these forces included ground photographs and measurements from onboard accelerometers, which were lost two-tenths of a second after vehicle breakup.

    Two independent assessments of these data produced very similar estimates. The largest acceleration pulse occurred as the Orbiter forward fuselage separated and was rapidly pushed away from the external tank. It then pitched nose-down and was decelerated rapidly by aerodynamic forces. There are uncertainties in our analysis; the actual breakup is not visible on photographs because the Orbiter was hidden by the gaseous cloud surrounding the external tank. The range of most probable maximum accelerations is from 12 to 20 G's in the vertical axis. These accelerations were quite brief. In two seconds, they were below four G's; in less than ten 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.

    After vehicle breakup, the crew compartment continued its upward trajectory, peaking at an altitude of 65,000 feet approximately 25 seconds after breakup. It then descended striking the ocean surface about two minutes and forty-five seconds after breakup at a velocity of about 207 miles per hour. The forces imposed by this impact approximated 200 G's, far in excess of the structural limits of the crew compartment or crew survivability levels.

    The separation of the crew compartment deprived the crew of Orbiter-supplied oxygen, except for a few seconds supply in the lines. Each crew member's helmet was also connected to a personal egress air pack (PEAP) containing an emergency supply of breathing air (not oxygen) for ground egress emergencies, which must be manually activated to be available. Four PEAP's were recovered, and there is evidence that three had been activated. The nonactivated PEAP was identified as the Commander's, one of the others as the Pilot's, and the remaining ones could not be associated with any crew member. The evidence indicates that the PEAP's were not activated due to water impact.

    It is possible, but not certain, that the crew lost consciousness due to an in-flight loss of crew module pressure. 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 PEAP's 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.
    Much of our effort was expended attempting to determine whether a loss of cabin pressure occurred. We examined the wreckage carefully, including the crew module attach points to the fuselage, the crew seats, the pressure shell, the flight deck and middeck floors, and feedthroughs for electrical and plumbing connections. The windows were examined and fragments of glass analyzed chemically and microscopically. Some items of equipment stowed in lockers showed damage that might have occurred due to decompression; we experimentally decompressed similar items without conclusive results.

    Impact damage to the windows was so extreme that the presence or absence of in-flight breakage could not be determined. The estimated breakup forces would not in themselves have broken the windows. A broken window due to flying debris remains a possibility; there was a piece of debris imbedded in the frame between two of the forward windows. We could not positively identify the origin of the debris or establish whether the event occurred in flight or at water impact. The same statement is true of the other crew compartment structure. Impact damage was so severe that no positive evidence for or against in-flight pressure loss could be found.

    Finally, the skilled and dedicated efforts of the team from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, and their expert

    consultants, could not determine whether in-flight lack of oxygen occurred, nor could they determine the cause of death.

    /signed/

    Joseph P. Kerwin
    That is the conservative view probably swayed in its opinion for certain reasons.
    Last edited by BlueBayou; 01-15-2008 at 08:22 PM.
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  2. #2
    Rocket Surgeon BlueBayou's Avatar
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    Many others who were involved in the investigation are less conservative, or 'subtle', though.

    All of those central to the investigation who have come out in the open with their findings, including lead investigator Robert Overmyer, have stated that there is no doubt that they were conscious until water impact.
    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.”






    A very chilling account of it all by long-time media NASA expert, Jay Barbree:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3078062/
    This is chapter 5 "An eternity of descent" which talks about the discovery that the crew compartment had remained intact.
    on the right side you will see links from chapter 1-8 if you want to read Jay Barbree's full story on the Challenger disaster.
    /\ I highly recommend you read all chapters if interested!





    This is 20/20 hindsight(which was all incorporated into later shuttle flights) - If they would have had pressure suits, and were able to parachute from the crew compartment, the Challenger astronauts may have been able to survive.

    These changes were made for all future Shuttle flights, along with a whole host of measures designed to prevent the soild rocket booster failure from the Challenger accident.
    Last edited by BlueBayou; 01-15-2008 at 05:18 AM.
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  3. #3
    www.thehealthygamer.com AntiGlobalist's Avatar
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    RIP.

    What a horrible way to go.
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    Fountainhead Organichu's Avatar
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    That is so terrible. Here we are, having conquered this tremendous boundary between the Earth and the Heavens, and then to go like this. Long ago people used to think that only large birds with wide wingspans could fly above the clouds. Now we have impeccably trained astronauts flying in technological marvels reaching towards the heavens- seriously, these shuttles that have, in the past, flown out of our atmosphere and into outer space.

    Then to die from a fall into the ocean. It just seems so senseless.

    RIP x 2.
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    Banned AKR's Avatar
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    Wow, I haven't read all of that, because there's a lot of info there, but I read some, and went to the site to see the transcript. What a ****ty way to die.
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    Where dreams are possible Thinman's Avatar
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    I had heard before that the crew probably survived the explosion. I had never seen the one transcript before. Even if the crew had parachutes, I doubt they would have lived. Very interesting read.
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  7. #7
    Goodbye CC IraHays's Avatar
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    What a crazy day, I remember it well.

    A couple days later they were talking about how they might have lived through the initial explosion. But they never really got into it much, I suppose it would have just added more horror to a horrible day.
    They couldn't go back to the Greasers
    All they could do was pick up the pieces
    Surely Brenda and Eddie would always find a way to survive
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    Originally Posted by IraHays View Post
    What a crazy day, I remember it well.

    A couple days later they were talking about how they might have lived through the initial explosion. But they never really got into it much, I suppose it would have just added more horror to a horrible day.
    I was in, like, 4th grade, and our school gathered around the tvs we had and watched the news. It's like 911 or kennedy, where certain moments in time are forever etched in your memory, and everyone in the country can recall that moment. It's sort of weird to think about.
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    That's pretty crazy, I would've figured they'd burn in the atmosphere. Terrible way to go, just like Icarus.
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    Fountainhead Organichu's Avatar
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    I wasn't born yet.

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    No Agony, No Bragony JUSA's Avatar
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    ... dude, this just makes me depressed. RIP, I still remember where I was when this happened, just like when Reagan was shot and 9/11.
    tú eres rojo
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    Registered User RIKTER's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by IraHays View Post
    What a crazy day, I remember it well.

    A couple days later they were talking about how they might have lived through the initial explosion. But they never really got into it much, I suppose it would have just added more horror to a horrible day.
    X2....plus for some odd reason I still remember a **** load of jokes about the explosion.
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    Lights & Clockwork Flakker's Avatar
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    The really crappy thing is how preventable it was. The fundamental flaw in the craft could be found by a 5 minute calculation that any sophomore or junior engineer could do, and it was well known that there was a huge risk, but they approved the launch anyway.

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    Rocket Surgeon BlueBayou's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Thinman View Post
    I had heard before that the crew probably survived the explosion. I had never seen the one transcript before. Even if the crew had parachutes, I doubt they would have lived. Very interesting read.
    Shuttle crews now carry pressure suits and parachutes on launch. This change first took place with the very first launch after the Challenger distaster.

    If the Challenger crew had pressure suits, parachutes, and a prepared plan for escape(like they do now and have ever since the Challenger disaster), most if not all of the Challenger crew would have survived the 1986 Challenger incident.
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    Rocket Surgeon BlueBayou's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Flakker View Post
    The really crappy thing is how preventable it was. The fundamental flaw in the craft could be found by a 5 minute calculation that any sophomore or junior engineer could do, and it was well known that there was a huge risk, but they approved the launch anyway.

    Cold weather will tear **** up. Believe that yo.
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    When I first saw the pics of the crew compartment falling sometime ago I thought they were probably still alive during the fall.

    Given the speed in which they were traveling during the initial explosion it probably felt like nothing more than a strong jolt, followed by deceleration then free falling.
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    I remember this like it was yesterday. So sad. I haven't read much about it in the last few years. Didn't know that the crew likely survived.
    This is the way the world ends.... not with a whimper... but with a bang...
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    I too thought the crew was killed instantly. I still remember a comedian being booed when he asked...waht color eyes did the teacher have....blue, as in one blew this way and one blew that way...
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    Originally Posted by RIKTER View Post
    I too thought the crew was killed instantly. I still remember a comedian being booed when he asked...waht color eyes did the teacher have....blue, as in one blew this way and one blew that way...
    Oh man, I forgot about all the jokes that were going around school.

    One like, what was her last words to her husband?

    You feed the dog, I'll feed the fish.
    They couldn't go back to the Greasers
    All they could do was pick up the pieces
    Surely Brenda and Eddie would always find a way to survive
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    Interesting. My grandparents mentioned that they actually watched this live. They traveled a lot when they were younger and would always watch the shuttle launches... Crazy.
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    Cliffs anyone please?
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    Originally Posted by Flakker View Post
    The really crappy thing is how preventable it was. The fundamental flaw in the craft could be found by a 5 minute calculation that any sophomore or junior engineer could do, and it was well known that there was a huge risk, but they approved the launch anyway.

    If Reagan had died from that assassination attempt, those brave men and women would not have died. Reagan was the reason the launch was not scrubbed.
    Free Bradley Manning.

    Friedmanism is to economics what intelligent design is to evolution.
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    Originally Posted by catmando View Post
    If Reagan had died from that assassination attempt, those brave men and women would not have died. Reagan was the reason the launch was not scrubbed.
    wtf u talking abt man??

    Someone fill me in on this conspiracy or whatever?
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    you guys are unbelieveable, make like your all aviators that know about flying planes.
    Originally Posted by BlueBayou View Post
    Ive spent many hours studying this the past few days and just thought some of you might be interested in it. Ive looked at a ****load of reports and pics related to the Shuttle distaster.

    I can even show you the airlock dooor, where two of the astronauts'(Christa McAuliffe and Ronald McNair) body mass bent the airlock on water impact. They were seated directly in front of the airlock. Thats how detailed Ive gotten into it.
    well detail this, the plane blew up at 50,000 feet in the air, which is extremely high, the fuselage fell to the earth without wings or anything for that matter. It would have been impossible for any of them to get out of the compartment and parachute at that height, you cant control a falling object from that high. Further, as someone that has done egress training in naval aviation, it is impossible for the crew to stand up and climb out of that.
    Originally Posted by Flakker View Post
    The really crappy thing is how preventable it was. The fundamental flaw in the craft could be found by a 5 minute calculation that any sophomore or junior engineer could do, and it was well known that there was a huge risk, but they approved the launch anyway.

    sure, well show us where the calc went wrong. Ever spent any time around military aviation? Didnt think so, it gets calculated over and over and over before its approved by another pilot. Its not has simple as you think. No reason what so ever a gov't worker would launch something that would come right back to him.
    Originally Posted by catmando View Post
    If Reagan had died from that assassination attempt, those brave men and women would not have died. Reagan was the reason the launch was not scrubbed.
    Way to blame the other side again, you POS.
    Last edited by bluemarlinO4; 01-15-2008 at 07:28 PM.
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    I can only imagine the horrific condition of the bodies after hitting the water at that kind of speed. RIP!
    United States Navy Veteran - GO NAVY!
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    Originally Posted by bluemarlinO4 View Post
    you guys are unbelieveable, make like your all aviators that know about flying planes.

    well detail this, the plane blew up at 50,000 feet in the air, which is extremely high, the fuselage fell to the earth without wings or anything for that matter. It would have been impossible for any of them to get out of the compartment and parachute at that height, you cant control a falling object from that high. Further, as someone that has done egress training in naval aviation, it is impossible for the crew to stand up and climb out of that.
    For the very first flight after Challenger, and every one since, the crew have worn pressure suits with parachutes for the event they needed to bail out. We can speculate all we want about whether or not they could have gotten out of the Challenger crew compartment as it was in free fall- but the fact that this change was made as a result of the Challenger disaster speaks volumes for what really happened. Also, its not just my opinion, but many very close to the investigation like Overmyer that they could have gotten out during free fall.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Crew_Escape_Suit

    BTW, you should lighten up a little and stop being so antagonistic. Nobody is trying to steal your panties.
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    www.thehealthygamer.com AntiGlobalist's Avatar
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    Bluemarlin's like that in pretty much every thread. Seems to be a very angry person.
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    Banned bluemarlinO4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BlueBayou View Post
    For the very first flight after Challenger, and every one since, the crew have worn pressure suits with parachutes for the event they needed to bail out. We can speculate all we want about whether or not they could have gotten out of the Challenger crew compartment as it was in free fall- but the fact that this change was made as a result of the Challenger disaster speaks volumes for what really happened. Also, its not just my opinion, but many very close to the investigation like Overmyer that they could have gotten out during free fall.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Crew_Escape_Suit

    BTW, you should lighten up a little and stop being so antagonistic. Nobody is trying to steal your panties.
    Im not trying to be antagonistic. Im just saying not everything is a conspiracy like everyone thinks.
    Originally Posted by AntiGlobalist View Post
    Bluemarlin's like that in pretty much every thread. Seems to be a very angry person.
    no I just hate how everyone seems to be an expert on conspiracies but they fail to look at blatant facts first.

    And I will tell you also BlueBayou. Im a naval Aircrewman with extensive training in flight emergencies and what not, no way you could get outta there alive.
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    Originally Posted by bluemarlinO4
    And I will tell you also BlueBayou. Im a naval Aircrewman with extensive training in flight emergencies and what not, no way you could get outta there alive.
    They couldnt get out from a freefalling crew compartment, if they had pressure suits and parachutes on? Why do you think that?

    Almost 3 minutes of freefall with a nose down stable attitude of the crew compartment, and you think they couldnt have gotten out?

    The crew compartment was designed for easy movement of crew members around the interior in low-G situations, and the hatch was easy to blow. So even in a zero-G slightly turning environment they could have gotten around the shuttle easily and to the hatch. Actually it wouldnt have even been a zero-G environment, it would have approached a 1 G environment(towards the nose of the CC as the CC reached it terminal velocity.

    They could have maneuvered out of the crew compartment and through the hatch, and they had plenty of time to do so. Instead, they were screwed and all stayed in their seats and restraints, just hoping for the best when they hit water.

    NASA disagrees with you BTW -->
    Directly after the Challenger incident NASA added pressure suits, parachutes, and training on escape from a falling crew compartment.
    They now have training for this exact scenario for all Space Shuttle astronauts as part of the escape procedures training and practice.

    - They could have gotten out of Challenger alive if they had been equipped with pressure suits and parachutes.





    ps. I never mentioned this here I dont think, but I saw the Shuttle Columbia breakup live with my own eyes. I woke up early just to watch the reentry. I was watching to the northwest as it started to come into sight. I knew something was wrong as soon as it got just north of me when I started to see flashes and separate trails forming. Its was about 35 degrees up from the horizon and very clearly visible almost like no other reentry Ive ever seen. I'd seen shuttle reentry's before, and this one was clearly breaking up. I went and grabbed my cell phone and called my wife while I continued watching it and told her something was definately wrong, and that I thought the Shuttle was breaking up. I saw the trails grow more numerous and wider apart the more eastward it went with lots of flashes here and there in it. It wasnt on the news yet at that point according to my wife. Then it came on the news and she said they were talking about it and I just felt sick. Sad incident. I know people who helped with the recovery process. No way anyone could have escaped this one alive.

    Just wanted to share that since I dont think I have already.
    Last edited by BlueBayou; 01-17-2008 at 08:46 AM.
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    Banned bluemarlinO4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BlueBayou View Post
    They couldnt get out from a freefalling crew compartment, if they had pressure suits and parachutes on? Why do you think that?

    Almost 3 minutes of freefall with a nose down stable attitude of the crew compartment, and you think they couldnt have gotten out?

    The crew compartment was designed for easy movement of crew members around the interior in low-G situations, and the hatch was easy to blow. So even in a zero-G slightly turning environment they could have gotten around the shuttle easily and to the hatch. Actually it wouldnt have even been a zero-G environment, it would have approached a 1 G environment(towards the nose of the CC as the CC reached it terminal velocity.

    They could have maneuvered out of the crew compartment and through the hatch, and they had plenty of time to do so. Instead, they were screwed and all stayed in their seats and restraints, just hoping for the best when they hit water.

    NASA disagrees with you BTW -->
    Directly after the Challenger incident NASA added pressure suits, parachutes, and training on escape from a falling crew compartment.
    They now have training for this exact scenario for all Space Shuttle astronauts as part of the escape procedures training and practice.

    - They could have gotten out of Challenger alive if they had been equipped with pressure suits and parachutes.





    ps. I never mentioned this here I dont think, but I saw the Shuttle Columbia breakup live with my own eyes. I woke up early just to watch the reentry. I was watching to the northwest as it started to come into sight. I knew something was wrong as soon as it got just north of me when I started to see flashes and separate trails forming. Its was about 35 degrees up from the horizon and very clearly visible almost like no other reentry Ive ever seen. I'd seen shuttle reentry's before, and this one was clearly breaking up. I went and grabbed my cell phone and called my wife while I continued watching it and told her something was definately wrong, and that I thought the Shuttle was breaking up. I saw the trails grow more numerous and wider apart the more eastward it went with lots of flashes here and there in it. It wasnt on the news yet at that point according to my wife. Then it came on the news and she said they were talking about it and I just felt sick. Sad incident. I know people who helped with the recovery process. No way anyone could have escaped this one alive.

    Just wanted to share that since I dont think I have already.
    pressure suits are designed for exactly that. The force and pull woulda been unreal on a descent like that from 55k feet. But for the sake of argument I will go with the fact that they coulda got out before they gained to much speed.

    Nobody can parachute out from 50,000 feet..way to high and just cant happen, highest Halo jumps in the military are around 35,000 and thats an 9 minute freefall.

    So if they did need to get out, they woulda had to fall further first and woulda gained way to much speed to get out. The fuselage wont just fall at a normal speed, it will gain more and more untli terminal velocity.

    I agree its a fuked up situation on NASAs part and the launch shoulda never went off.
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