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"It broke up! The shuttle broke
up!": Remembering Columbia

CBS News, by William Harwood

Original Article

Posted By:JoniTx, 2/1/2013 7:54:54 AM

As some might reckon it, the beginning of the end for NASA´s space shuttle program came 10 years ago Friday, at 8:48:39 a.m. EST on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2003. That´s when strain gauge V12G9921A, a sensor in the shuttle Columbia´s left wing, began registering a small but unusual increase in stress as the spaceplane descended from orbit to close out its 28th mission. Twenty seconds later, a temperature sensor followed suit. Over the next few minutes, a shuttle data recorder captured a cascade of alarming sensor readings and failures on the left side of the spacecraft that clearly indicated


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Reply 1 - Posted by: escaped commieny, 2/1/2013 8:11:07 AM     (No. 9151940)

FTA:Engineers analyzing launch photography clearly saw the foam fall from the tank. But they could not see where it struck. From the tracking camera´s perspective, the debris disappeared below the left wing and emerged as a cloud of white powder. There was no question it had hit the wing. The question was where? And how much damage had it caused?

The question and answer they need to live with: WHY wasn´t the mission aborted the moment they saw the foam break off ? Before every launch there is an emergency runway built in Morocco FOR JUST SUCH an emergency. The reason this foam broke off was because environmental wacko´s forced a change to a ´green´ formula. This ´contingency´ as a disaster is referred to in pinko-speak, was avoidable. spit

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Reply 2 - Posted by: mominNoCA, 2/1/2013 8:16:14 AM     (No. 9151953)

These launches were always covered on t.v. and evoked pride in our nation and amazement at our progress. How horribly different this one was. Christa McAuliffe now has many elementary schools named after her across the country. May all aboard this mission rest in eternal peace.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: escaped commieny, 2/1/2013 8:19:18 AM     (No. 9151959)

excuse second post please, Christie was on the Challenger not the Columbia

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Reply 4 - Posted by: JAN, 2/1/2013 8:25:52 AM     (No. 9151976)

Too bad they didn´t immediately cut the public feed to the launch.

Thousands and thousands of youngsters in school auditoriums across the country were watching the launch live.

No one who ever saw that can forget the horror of the break up.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: mythman, 2/1/2013 8:30:46 AM     (No. 9151991)

#1 is correct. Environmental whackos dictated the tiles/foam specifications. The resultant weaknesses were well known. The disaster was a direct result.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: Judith, 2/1/2013 8:32:21 AM     (No. 9151995)

Last night they did a show on the Israeli on the Columbia. It was very moving. He came from parents who had survived the Holocaust, was working with a professor who survived, had a fascinating resume (fighter pilot)and was loved by many. His story was wonderfully told and took you from the horror of the holocaust to the awe of being in space and helping mankind.
It was with disbelief I watched on tv the report of the shuttle entering our atmosphere, then disintegrating across our country.
If you get a chance, catch the show.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: shurnuff, 2/1/2013 9:34:47 AM     (No. 9152125)

#6 - what station carried that show?

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Reply 8 - Posted by: bpl40, 2/1/2013 9:41:09 AM     (No. 9152138)

It is worse than just environmental whackos. Apparently the decision was forced down NASA´s throat by..Who else but the Princess of Benghazi. I remember saying ten years ago "Some how, sometime it will surface that Hillary has a role.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: joew9, 2/1/2013 10:44:57 AM     (No. 9152311)

For Columbia the foam and the glue was changed to a formulation that had no chlorine emissions in order to save the ozone. An exception was asked for. The EPA denied. The substitute foam and glue were not as structurally strong as the previous formulation. A number of flights were made with the new foam before Columbia disaster. The foam was observed coming off many times but didn´t hit a critical area. Then it did.

On the Challenger the O-ring was sealed with a putty which had more than 50 years of use and experience. It had a very wide operating temperature including below freezing. However, it contained asbestos (which was mostly why it had a wide temperature range.) The EPA forced a change. The new putty did not have as wide a temperature range. It was not malleable at low temperature and was too thin at high temperature. But EPA advocates said it was just as good. It wasn´t.

Both disasters can be linked to the EPA´s uncompromising stance.

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Reply 10 - Posted by: Aunt Agnes, 2/1/2013 11:05:24 AM     (No. 9152378)

True story - I worked in a newsroom at that time & we had live network feeds going at all times in the newsroom. Our executive producer was busy & somebody asked if he was going to watch the shuttle launch. Without looking up, he said offhandedly, "Not unless it blows up." Then it did.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: mominNoCA, 2/1/2013 11:47:59 AM     (No. 9152488)

Thanks, #3.

I was only half-awake posting that (brain was asleep). I didn´t read the article or even the lede; only remembered that the Challenger tragedy happened in late January and away my fingers flew.

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Reply 12 - Posted by: TrueBlueWfan, 2/1/2013 12:48:58 PM     (No. 9152601)

Posters here are confusing the Jan. 1986 Challenger explosion that happened some 76 seconds after takeoff with the Feb. 1, 2003 explosion of the Columbia upon reentry that this story refers to. Columbia´s foam broke off, hit the wing and damaged the heat tiles. There was no problem for the 6 days they were in space, but on re-entry, superheating breached the wing and the Columbia ultimately exploded over Texas.

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Reply 13 - Posted by: escaped commieny, 2/1/2013 3:59:34 PM     (No. 9152873)

EXCUSE ME #12, the ´problem´ existed at launch, the crew and bird could have been saved by aborting the entry to space and landing at the emergency runway. It was a cross your fingers and hope for the best for commericial purposes that it was decided to let them enter space. beyond spit, entering puke

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