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Robb Mann

Posts: 10690

Baltimore, Maryland, US

Ten years ago today the Shuttle Columbia broke up on reentry, killing its crew of 7. Columbia was damaged during launch by a large chunk of insulating foam that seperated from the main fuel tank and penetrated the wing. Despite concerns from some circles, Nasa made no attempt to investigate possible dammage while Columbia was in orbit. Had they done so, some attempt to rescue the crew would have been possible. She broke apart during re-entry when hot gasses entered the hole in the wing.

Feb 01 13 08:56 am Link

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Michael Bots

Posts: 5989

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article … entry.html

"'If it has been damaged it's probably better not to know. I think the crew would rather not know.'
Flight Director Jon Harpold"

Feb 01 13 10:11 am Link

Photographer

Instinct Images

Posts: 22653

San Diego, California, US

I saw Columbia on the launch pad before its fatal flight. Me and a buddy were in Florida and had some extra time so we went to Kennedy Space Center to take the tour and Columbia had been rolled out to the launch pad.

As it turned out my buddy was driving up to Mammoth Mountain in California the morning it broke up and he saw the flaming debris. Of course at the time he had no idea what he was seeing and thought it was just a spectacular meteorite.

As it turns out someone got a picture of it:

http://www.indiana.edu/~pepp/earthquakes/images/shuttle2_1_03/shuttle_21.jpg

It hits a lot harder when you've followed the shuttle program for so long and even seen the shuttle in person.

Hard to believe it's been 10 years already. I remember that day vividly.

RIP

Feb 01 13 01:52 pm Link

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Photographer

Robb Mann

Posts: 10690

Baltimore, Maryland, US

I believe something could have been done to rescue the astronauts if the damage had been discovered. Columbia was too heavy to reach the orbital height of the space station, and launching a rescue shuttle would take a month or two, but, unmanned Soyuz modules could have been launched with supplies to Columbia to keep them going. It could have been another Apollo 13 moment for Nasa.

Feb 01 13 05:43 pm Link