April Topic of the Month - Space Shuttle Program

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April Topic of the Month - Space Shuttle Program

Postby Zania Jaarda » Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:57 am

The time around late January/early February has not been a good period for NASA. Each of their major disasters in the space program have taken place around that time. Those disasters include

January 27, 1967 - Cabin fire on Apollo 1, which killed three astronauts while they performed system checks on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral

January 28, 1986 - The space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff from Florida, killing seven crew members, including the first teacher in space

February 1, 2003 - The space shuttle Columbia breaks apart in flames about 203,000 feet over Texas, 16 minutes before it was supposed to touch down in Florida, killing all seven astronauts on board

NASA is intent on relying on the aging space shuttle, partly to help in supplying and finishing the construction of the International Space Station. There are even talks of the shuttles being back in service as early as August, not allowing for enough time for the recommendations made by the investigation panel to be carried out.

This leads to an important question. Do you think that there will be another Challenger or Columbia disaster waiting to happen by returning them to service so soon?
Last edited by Zania Jaarda on Fri May 07, 2004 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Lucasausems » Sat Apr 03, 2004 4:12 am

Well, I hope not, but the design is old, there are bound to happen more accidents if the design isn't upgraded and new technologies are put in. Maybe they already did that, I wouldn't know. I just hope that space travel will keep on doing it's business and I'm anxiously awaiting the first man on Mars!!!!
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Postby Zania Jaarda » Sat Apr 03, 2004 7:37 am

Ever since the Challenger disaster in 1986, there has been talk about scrapping the whole space shuttle fleet. There are always claims that something safer can be designed.

The Columbia is the first accident where damage to the shuttle, itself, led to the disaster. Part of the blame, in this case, rested on the shoulders of NASA, which failed to allow the military to use high powered imaging systems to determine if there was, indeed, a hole within the wing of the shuttle. Concerns over the wing in e-mails, memos, and other communications were largely ignored.

If NASA had been more pro-active in the matter, then they could have sent a second shuttle up with only two people on board in order to rescue the Columbia crew.

What do you guys think?
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Postby Lucasausems » Sat Apr 03, 2004 10:16 am

if there was even the slightest sign of trouble, they should have done that.
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Postby Zania Jaarda » Sat Apr 03, 2004 8:52 pm

I think part of the issue was the fact that they saw the high-resolution films, but not until a couple of days after the Columbia was in orbit. It was far too late to abort the launch.

The films clearly showed the foam hitting the wing, but what they could not see was the damage that it caused, and NASA refused to accept offers to help assertain if there was any damage. They took a gamble, rolled the dice, and seven astronauts lost their lives because of their deadly mistake.
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Postby Taneth » Sat Apr 03, 2004 9:24 pm

I recently saw something on the news that interested me. Apparently america is being glorified for building an air breathing jet engine called a 'scramjet' that they are planning to use for launching spacecraft. It gets its fuel from the air it travels through. Amazing isn't it? Especially considering that we (Australia) already did that two years ago! Where was our publicity? We get a two minute report with a video of the test, they get a five minute report on each channel, morning and evening, with a computer aided demonstration! That's not fair.
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Postby Lucasausems » Tue Apr 20, 2004 10:33 am

Hey, another SoyuzMissile has been launched in Russia, with on board a Dutch astronaut:D:D:D:D
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Postby Zania Jaarda » Fri May 07, 2004 8:42 am

Since April has ended, I'm removing the sticky, but please feel free to continue the discussion!
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