View Full Version : Sometimes, when we reach for the stars, we fall short

28th Jan 2006, 04:09
Twenty years ago today Challenger blew apart on take off. I remember watching this on TV and being horrified at what I saw.http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/01/27/challenger.at.20.ap/index.html

28th Jan 2006, 07:52
I remember this - I was at home and saw it live on tv.

At first, when Challenger blew like that, my first thought was this can't be happening - literally not believing my eyes.

Then I thought about the crew and oh maybe oh maybe by some miracle they will survive.

As the explosion unfolded - I realized sadly - there was a slim chance for the crew's survival.

Farmer 1
28th Jan 2006, 08:33
"Obviously a major malfunction..."

In a country not noted for understatement, that said it all.

Other than the explosion itself, and the above statement, I remember the puzzled expression on the controller's face as he obviously could not understand the data on his monitor. He looked up at the video screen, and his jaw dropped as he saw the evidence of his own eyes.

And the parents of Sharon Christa McAuliffe, as the proudest day of their lives suddenly became their worst nightmare.


28th Jan 2006, 08:43
Remember it well as a 12 year old school kid.
Had just got home from school and was watching the launch on Newsround, one of those images that will always stay in the mind.

28th Jan 2006, 11:12
I dont remember it, as i was only 1, but it certainly was a tragic event.
Seeing the pictures now still makes your skin crawl.....

28th Jan 2006, 14:52
I remember it very well. It was very early in the morning, and I had specifically set my alarm to get up and watch the launch. It just didn't seem real.

28th Jan 2006, 15:00
I came home and the TV was replaying the lift off over and over. I was struck dumb. This space travel stuff was not an every day thing. Amen to Apollo 1's crew too.



Romeo Delta
28th Jan 2006, 15:32
I was a senior in high school. One of my classmates came in and said Challenger had exploded. I thought he was joking (he was that kind of guy). Within minutes, the school was called to special assembly, told what had happened, and everyone sent home.

Talk about mixed emotions... Day off from school, deaths of 7 astronauts... I watched the liftoff video over and over again that day. Very sad, very tragic. A lot of us were in a haze for quite a few days after that.

28th Jan 2006, 16:06
Very sad day - I can't believe it's been twenty years. It's one of those days like the Kennedy assassination where everyone can remember where they were when it happened.

I remember thinking at the time "this will put the space program back by ten years". Shame I was out by a factor of two. :(

But the important thing when we fall short is to dust ourselves off and get back up there again.

In recent years, we've had spectacular successes - Cassini is in orbit around Saturn, Pathfinder took us back to Mars, and Spirt and Opportunity are still going strong there. We've learned a huge amount about the cosmos from COBE, WMAP, Chandra, XMM-Newton and numerous others, and of course, the daddy of them all - Hubble - has brought spectacular images to inspire and enthuse the public and the next generation of space explorers. :ok:

Manned flight has taken a stumble, as it did again three years ago with Columbia. But Burt Rutan and the Spaceship One team have put some of the excitement, adventure and hope for the future back into our love of space.

We will get back to the Moon, and we will get to Mars. We owe it to the crews of Columbia and Challenger, Apollo 1 and the others to keep going.

Empty Cruise
28th Jan 2006, 17:37
Remember it all too well...

A shame it took another lost Shuttle before NASA got into gear and started delivering a bit of vision. At least the CEV looks like a viable plan to go back to the Moon.

And a greater shame that the Dubya admin think it can be done within the current budget. :mad: Of course, no corners are gonna be cut in order to make the CEV fly, NASA would never accept reduced safety in order to comply with the launch schedule, even if money is tight :rolleyes:

And they say Ryanair has a lamentable safety culture??? :mad:


28th Jan 2006, 17:39
We owe it to the crews of Columbia and Challenger, Apollo 1 and the others to keep going.

Absolutely! Here's to the sons and daughters who will touch the stars that we won't have the chance to do.


28th Jan 2006, 18:16
I was in Auburn's engineering school at the time and was actually working part-time on a shuttle research contract.

We were studying earlier flight data showing frightening assymetries in the thrust of the solid rockets; these had been so bad on previous flights that the main gimbals couldn't overcome them and trajectory was altered.

I of course assumed that this uncommanded yaw must have gotten worse and was the cause of the crash, and I was stunned and sickened by the footage. Turned out to be a bad seal....

28th Jan 2006, 18:29
Not a bad seal - just unapproved take-off ambient (outside limits). IF the t/o had been postponed until the ambient (and soak) had reached the prescribed limits, they would very probably be alive today. Politics (saving face) caused the experts to be over-ruled and the launch 'approved' in unknown (and very doubtful) conditions. There were several experts that were convinced a disaster would ensue. It did.