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Damn, we lost another one
Old 1st February 2003
  #1
Moderator emeritus
 
🎧 15 years
Damn, we lost another one

For those who don't listen to the news, a space shuttle blew up over Dallas Texas this morning.

****.
Old 1st February 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Tragic. We've grown so used to shuttle missions, we expect it to be as safe as a commercial airline. But those astronauts are taking a big risk every mission.

That shuttle was 22 years old and was first launched in 1981. I have no idea what the life expectancy of that airframe was when it was designed and built, but 22 years and 28 launch/re-entries seems like a lot of stress on any structure.

The only real caveat is that this was the first space travel for an Israeli. Terrorism? Seems unlikely to me.

I suppose this is likely to ground the other shuttles for some time, if not permanently. Then what? Are humans done with space for a time?


Regards,
Brian T
Old 1st February 2003
  #3
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mdbeh's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
I suppose this is likely to ground the other shuttles for some time, if not permanently. Then what? Are humans done with space for a time?


Regards,
Brian T
Maybe. I have an Uncle, now retired, who worked at NASA for a few decades. From talking to him, it seemed like most astronomers thought manned spaceflight was unnecessary, at least for the purpose of conducting experiments. But I guess there were other concerns at play.

Anyway, it is very sad. It's a measure of how much other bad news there is right now that it's not getting more attention.
Old 1st February 2003
  #4
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e-cue's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Total suckery. I wonder if "Lance" from N sync is re-thinking his position.

I lived in Florida when the Challenger blew up sometime back and was actually looking at it in the sky when it happened. Sometimes I forget how brave those astronauts are.

God bless America.
Old 1st February 2003
  #5
Moderator emeritus
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT

I suppose this is likely to ground the other shuttles for some time, if not permanently. Then what? Are humans done with space for a time?
I think we've got folks on the Space station, don't we?

I still believe that the long term future of the human race is in space; a short sighted congress screwed us out of it in the 70's, and it doesn't appear to have gotten any better. (Remember that the original design goal was a shuttle to geosynchronous orbit, where it could have done some real good - near earth orbit (all the Shuttles are capable of, is not nearly as useful for either science or industry).

The shuttle was older than I would have believed possible; I don't think the designers intended them to be flying more than 20 years later. I just pray that the current versions of Bill Proxmire don't cancel the whole program...
Old 1st February 2003
  #6
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The reall killer for me was when cnn started listing how many kids just lost a parent. The astronaut for Isreal had for kisd, for example...

As far as terrorism, if they can shoot down a vechile travelling 12000 mph at 200000 miles above us, we are seriously in trouble.... ( please note sarcasm.)

God be with all those families.
Old 1st February 2003
  #7
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🎧 15 years
Putting 2 and 2 together.

A piece of insulation flew off one of the tanks and hit the left wing of Columbia on takeoff for this mission. NASA was aware of it, but decided there was not significant damage to warrant concern.

Early indications from today show the sensors reporting problems were on the left side of the shuttle. Temps began to rise and/or some heat sensors stopped sending data on the left side before the explosion.

I would guess heat tiles in that area were damaged during launch and failed on re-entry. But how they will be able to determine exactly what happened for certain, I don't know.
Old 1st February 2003
  #8
Jax
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by e-cue
Total suckery. I wonder if "Lance" from N sync is re-thinking his position.
The real tragedy of that statement is that if Lance Dork died in a shuttle accident, there would probably be a great deal of hysteria and outcry about what went wrong and who was to blame. Weeping teenagers and a media explosion. In this case, I'm sure there is less of that, because the astronauts who bravely went where few ever get the chance to go were not celebrated as icons, nor were they priviledged enough by financial power as one rich American was, yet what value did the astronauts have to society? America the beautiful?
Old 2nd February 2003
  #9
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Midlandmorgan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The greatest tragedy of all is if we become even bigger cowards and decide space exploration is too dangerous...

And as far as the piece that is reported to have damaged the left wing on takeoff, what other options were available...its not like they could pull over to the side of the road...

I just pray that the crew had no idea what happened to them...
Old 2nd February 2003
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I talked to my folks in Houston. My sister heard the shuttle explosion inside her house in Houston at 8AM this morning.

It's about 225 miles from Houston to Dallas. I still can't believe the sound carried that far.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 2nd February 2003
  #11
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
I talked to my folks in Houston. My sister heard the shuttle explosion inside her house in Houston at 8AM this morning.

It's about 225 miles from Houston to Dallas. I still can't believe the sound carried that far.


Regards,
Brian T
Dallas to Houston is far, but they were reportedly 200,000 miles up at the time as well... seems like a pretty huge number, but I was hearing it all day.
Old 2nd February 2003
  #12
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mdbeh's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It was about 200,000 feet, not miles.

200,000 miles is about the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
Old 2nd February 2003
  #13
Moderator emeritus
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by mdbeh
It was about 200,000 feet, not miles.

200,000 miles is about the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
Right - a little less than 40 miles up, and going approximately 12,000 MPH (if what I heard this morning is correct).
Old 5th February 2003
  #14
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chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I met a couple of Shuttle astronauts at a gig in Houston about 10 years ago.
Really nice guys. They offered to take a pair of my drumsticks up on their next mission and send them to me when they got back.
I never did it. I was so busy at the time, different town everyday kind of stuff.
Really friendly guys though. I didn't have that much in common with them as I'm not into all that fighter pilot kind of stuff.
I suppose also I was already taking Shuttle flights for granted 10 years ago.
Old 7th February 2003
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Dave, are you still following this?

I'm a little pissed. It sure looks like the leadership at NASA was going for the coverup angle. The foam is the obvious suspect, but a couple of days ago, NASA leaders began downplaying the foam during launch as the cause and started suggesting a meteorite or space debris impact.

"Not our fault.....it was probably a meteorite." Right.

Now, just as the independent panel gets some real teeth to investigate, it turns out that Air Force high tech cameras were tracking the Shuttle during reentry and have clear, detailed pictures of serious structural damage damage to the bottom side of the left wing near the fuselage. Right where the foam hit.

The Shuttle was lost 6 days ago. So the Air Force just let NASA know about their photos? Not. And how often do meteorites just happen to hit the bottom side of an object, right where the foam hit during takeoff? Seems to me that NASA had to know about these photos at the time they were floating the alternate theories.

Frankly, I'm really disappointed. There is no place in this tragedy for covering your own rear end with BS. Maybe I'm missing something, but it sure looks to me like 2+2= crap in this case.

The 7 brave people who died deserve better.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 7th February 2003
  #16
Moderator emeritus
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
Dave, are you still following this?

Well, Im following it via the newspaper (unfortunately, the Tennesseean); I have never been a fan of television news, and gave it up completely after 9/11. I like the sense of distance that only comes when you read the morning paper right before bed time; that way, the news is at least 24 hours old before I get it...

But you're right - if CYA is the order of the day at NASA, then the independent panel NEEDS to have teeth in it.

Unfortunately, most of NASA's problems can be laid squarely at the feet of congress, which has consistently cut their budgets while expecting to do more work.

As an avid science fiction reader for almost 40 years, I am surprised that (A) private enterprise hasn't taken a leap into space, and (B), that other countries haven't passed the US up. There's hope, of course - the Chinese are planning a manned launch, and the Indians are, too, with plans to circle the moon before the end of the decade.

Humans will remain in space, even in Americans aren't part of it.
Old 7th February 2003
  #17
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andre tchmil's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Unhappy

do we really need to explore space if we still can't ............... planet earth
Old 7th February 2003
  #18
Moderator emeritus
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by andre tchmil
do we really need to explore space if we still can't ............... planet earth
Yes, for several reasons:
1. At this point, all of our eggs are in one basket - if the earth is rruined, humanity is finished (and no, I'm not going to accept Mark Twain's argument that humaity isn't worth saving...).
2. The essentially limitless resources of space, from energy to mineral wealth, are all available to us once weave the technology to get them.
3. The technology of space exploration has been a huge boon to our understanding of earth - the hole in the ozone layer? discovered by satellite - damage to the rain forest? Same thing. Mapping out mineral resources on a global basis? Again, satellite technology at work - all direct consequences of the US space program (which it self is mostly a consequence of the Cold War, I admit).

4. The earth is a closed system, and the growing human population puts an ever increasing strain on its resources; exploit the resources of the entire solar system and we postpone the otherwise inevitable Malthusian consequenses.
4. People need to have a dream of a better future - Lord knows it's hard to find one down here on earth. When I was growing up, we wanted to be astronauts; to me, that's better than wanting to be a sports figure or a rap artist...

Others may have other opinions, of course.
Old 7th February 2003
  #19
Jax
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🎧 15 years
This whole space disaster thing got me thinking recently about how it paralells early sea exploration. Just as the space shuttle is (was) the most complicated, advanced piece of machinery ever built, the vessels launched into the great oceans on long voyages of discovery were prepared to the best tolerances available to each culture of the time. There was a time when this planet and all of its possibilities was largely as undiscovered and unexplored as all of space.

Keeping it in perspective, we really haven't been flying into space for a long enough time to take it for granted. By comparison, sea exploration went on for many, many more years than all of our efforts into space have. Does this recent disaster mean we're not as well equipped to handle space exploration as we need to be? Maybe sometimes, but the risks are probably worth it, and there's only one way to find out. We gotta keep doing it. It's hard to look at this and be forced to accept that despite how far we've come, we're still in the learning stages of manned space flight. The fact that we even have an outpost in space upon which humans can survive for even a limited time is a remarkable achievement. There is much more to gain than lose from all of this.

Also, we do it because we can and in our case, we probably should.
Old 7th February 2003
  #20
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Yeah, we'll continue to explore. It's our nature.

Last year, I forget when, the space shuttle was scheduled to fly over Austin during it's descent to Florida at 1 p.m. Miraculously, I remembered.

I stood in my back yard staring at the sky. Is that it? Naw, that must be jet. Is that it? Or is it a star? Will I know it if I see it? I figured it would be like so many lunar eclipses I squinted at while pretending I really saw something.

I saw it, all right. It was amazing, and I'm a pretty jaded guy. Out of nowhere came this definite rocket ship, cutting the sky like a sheet. You couldn't miss it. I was stunned. I had just enough time to wake up my girlfriend to watch the tail end.

Some things don't live up to hype, some do. Mt. Rushmore is small compared to photos, but the Grand Canyon is so impressive photos can't capture it. Same with the space shuttle searing the sky at night.

Take a look if you get a chance.

Jasper
Old 7th February 2003
  #21
Jax
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Martin
Yes, for several reasons:
1. At this point, all of our eggs are in one basket - if the earth is rruined, humanity is finished (and no, I'm not going to accept Mark Twain's argument that humaity isn't worth saving...).
2. The essentially limitless resources of space, from energy to mineral wealth, are all available to us once weave the technology to get them.
3. The technology of space exploration has been a huge boon to our understanding of earth - the hole in the ozone layer? discovered by satellite - damage to the rain forest? Same thing. Mapping out mineral resources on a global basis? Again, satellite technology at work - all direct consequences of the US space program (which it self is mostly a consequence of the Cold War, I admit).

4. The earth is a closed system, and the growing human population puts an ever increasing strain on its resources; exploit the resources of the entire solar system and we postpone the otherwise inevitable Malthusian consequenses.
4. People need to have a dream of a better future - Lord knows it's hard to find one down here on earth. When I was growing up, we wanted to be astronauts; to me, that's better than wanting to be a sports figure or a rap artist...

Others may have other opinions, of course.
With all due repsect, Dave, I think there is a larger picture to be looked at than just saving our asses. Knowledge of who, what, where, when, why, and how we are even here (and in relation to what else?) has got to be more important. Of course, we can't find that out if we all die because we can't support ourselves any longer.
Old 7th February 2003
  #22
Moderator emeritus
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jax
With all due repsect, Dave, I think there is a larger picture to be looked at than just saving our asses. Knowledge of who, what, where, when, why, and how we are even here (and in relation to what else?) has got to be more important. Of course, we can't find that out if we all die because we can't support ourselves any longer.
I believe that the pursuit of knowledge is and will always be worthwhile. The immediately useful bits will make our lives better quickly; the bits that don't seem of much use may take a little longer and ultimately be even more useful.
Old 7th February 2003
  #23
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
With all due repsect, Dave, I think there is a larger picture to be looked at than just saving our asses. Knowledge of who, what, where, when, why, and how we are even here (and in relation to what else?) has got to be more important. Of course, we can't find that out if we all die because we can't support ourselves any longer.
Yeah - but we've got to save our asses in order to continue your "quest for knowledge", becasue we won't find all the answers before we've used up this earth's resources.

Besides we've only got a couple billion years left before the sun runs out of fuel.
Old 8th February 2003
  #24
Jax
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Turpin
Yeah - but we've got to save our asses in order to continue your "quest for knowledge", becasue we won't find all the answers before we've used up this earth's resources.
Echoes in space and time, my friend:

"Of course, we can't find that out if we all die because we can't support ourselves any longer."
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