The shuttle break up.....


February 1, 2003, 09:29 AM
News showing pieces coming down right now.

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February 1, 2003, 09:31 AM
You mean spaceshuttle? Nothing in the news overhere.....

February 1, 2003, 09:32 AM
CNN has video of numerous contrails breaking off from a larger one. Supposedly, a piece of insulation fell off the external fuel tank during launch and hit the leading edge of one of the orbiter wings.


February 1, 2003, 09:33 AM
What are you watching? CNN says they've just lost communications.

Greg L
February 1, 2003, 09:34 AM
Turn on the news. It looks like the shuttle broke up on re entry.


February 1, 2003, 09:34 AM
Normal CNN (not Headline News), they keep replaying the video. Fox and MSNBC dont have the video. The insulation thing I read on


February 1, 2003, 09:37 AM
Damn, not again!

Alan Fud
February 1, 2003, 09:37 AM
Nasa just declared a full-scale emergency ... all seven aboard presume dead.

Security tighten due to the fact that there was a crewman from Israel aboard -- sabatoge is being considered.

February 1, 2003, 09:41 AM
I found it. Damn.:(

February 1, 2003, 09:45 AM

Prayers go to the astronauts...

February 1, 2003, 09:50 AM
Turn on CNN right now. May god bless their souls.

Matt G
February 1, 2003, 09:55 AM
I'm in the fall zone. At least one piece of possible wreckage reported in my county.


Folks, I'm going to be merging threads on this. Please don't be offended.

Space travel is hazardous. Very hazardous. The only part of space travel more dangerous than take-off is reentry. These astronauts volunteered to take on that duty, eagerly. I believe I'd jump at the opportunity, myself.

Bless their souls.

February 1, 2003, 10:07 AM
sabatoge is being considered.

No one has raisedd that issue at all!!


February 1, 2003, 10:09 AM
Just finished reading Kings of the High Frontier; Koman and Benford were only off by a couple of years. :(

(WildAlaska, these are no doubt the same knobs who rushed to blame Challenger on the Libyans...)

February 1, 2003, 10:12 AM
CNN is saying that the Shuttle Columbia may have lost one of its
(ceramic) protective tiles during its launch..

This may have been caused by ice falling off the main fuel tank during launch...

My Prayers have just gone out....


February 1, 2003, 10:14 AM
I hope that it was instant and that none of them suffered. May God bless them in their bravery.

February 1, 2003, 10:14 AM
Orbiter Columbia has disintegrated and 7 astronauts have died ~0900 est over SW USA during reentry.

NASA is issuing warnings to stay away from any debris found on the ground due to the potential for toxic materials carried on the orbiter (typically the fuel). If any debris suspected to be from Columbia are found NASA requests that local law enforcement be contacted.

While there is no potential for any "terrorist" cause for the loss due to Columbia's speed and altitude at the time of the accident the question has been asked and the gvt. has said that it is not considering it as a potential cause.

There is NO way to know what happend to cause the accident at this time. Anything from the news media is simple time filling babble.

My prayers go out to their families.

Chris Rhines
February 1, 2003, 10:16 AM
Well, that's it for the manned space program. :(

- Chris

February 1, 2003, 10:25 AM
Chris (and anyone thinking the manned space program just ended),

I don't think that will be the case. Yes, the orbiter fleet will be grounded while an investigation takes place; they will be inspected repeatedly and non-destructive tests will be performed, but they will be flying sooner than some people think is good and after more time than some people think was needed. Rest assured I don't think there is any chance that the orbiters will not fly again, and soon.

The current administration will not allow the US to become the last country on earth to give up a manned space program, especially in the face of the PRC preparing to launch their first manned space flight.

February 1, 2003, 10:28 AM
Fox News has an article on their web site stating that authorities feared a terrorist attempt.,2933,77253,00.html

February 1, 2003, 10:31 AM
Chris Rhines,

I hope you're not serious. Despite what some seem to think, this country is far from weak kneed.

Space travel involves casualties. We've known this from the get-go.

February 1, 2003, 10:32 AM
Although it's too early and little to no information is available to the general public to draw responsible conclusions, due to past performance I'll bet when all is said and done the fault will partially lie with NASA. I don't think it's an act of terrorism, pilot error, or that they were hit by a meteorite while in flight. I think the cause will be determined to be bad luck, poor decision making, and underfunding of the project. I think a good argument has been made for UN-manned space flight. NASA has been running a program that has been underfunded for decades, IMHO all things considered, they have done a pretty good job from a safety stand-point. I suspect the military will take greater control of our space program in the future.

February 1, 2003, 10:36 AM
This is NASA's site where information releases on the accident will be provided (

Let's try to keep the tinfoil hats in the closet and remember that everything said about possible causes is random gossip until the investigation is completed months from now.

Don't forget we have a shuttle launch scheduled to pick up the US crew currently on the Space Station.

February 1, 2003, 10:37 AM
It was reported by NASA that Columbia was at about 200,000 ft. and travelling approx. 12,500 miles per hour when they lost contact... This is direct from NASA..

Pieces of the Shuttle have been found near Nacogdoches,Texas..

This was the 113th. Shuttle mission.. :( :(

February 1, 2003, 10:41 AM
It's amazing that disasters like this haven't happened more often. That is a tribute to the skills of the engineers, who over the years have made a very dangerous undertaking possible.

It is not the end of the manned space program. However, it would not surprise me if this is the beginning of the end of the shuttle program.

My prayers go out to the crew and their families.

February 1, 2003, 10:42 AM
Traveling at 3.3 miles per second, there isn't any chance of much debris let alone survivors. Imagine, the family members were waiting for the crew to arrive in Florida! What a disaster. I've also seen the scroll saying that debris hit the shuttle on blast off and insulation was seen falling away.

God bless the astronauts and their familes.


February 1, 2003, 10:42 AM
This is tragic, just tragic.

God bless them all.:(

February 1, 2003, 10:44 AM
I'm still in a state of shock...

This IS tragic.. :( :(

Politically Incorrect
February 1, 2003, 10:45 AM
I feel the same grief I had as a nine-year-old fourth grader at Murlin Heights Elementary School when the Challenger exploded for these seven astronauts.

Yet, I have questions on whether a nine-year-old today will feel the same way due to the desensitized nature of their generation exposed to so much information about the dangers of the worlds. But that question can wait.

Let's give our thoughts and prayers to the families to these seven astronauts:

Rick Husband
William McCool
Michael Anderson
Kalpana Chawla
David Brown
Laurel Clark
Ilan Ramon

Alan Fud
February 1, 2003, 10:46 AM
posted by "Wildalaska":
sabatoge is being considered. No one has raisedd that issue at all!! Local news in south Florida has mentioned it a couple of times -- just posting what I heard for those that might not be near the news. Fox news (,2933,77253,00.html) is also reporting that it might be an act of terrorism.

Gary H
February 1, 2003, 10:49 AM
I guess that it was a matter of time. I hope that Bush can find the right words and God help the family.

Baba Louie
February 1, 2003, 10:50 AM
So sad.

NPR just announced that the Israeli payload specialist was one of the Israeli pilots that helped carry out the Iraqi Nuclear Reactor attack in 1981, and that initial launch security was, to say the least, heavy.

It does make one wonder, given the current world situation.

Here's hoping that this was only a 26 year old vehicle with some form of heat tile/small meteor impact disruption in lieu of a more sinister cause.

Prayers for family members in order.

So sad.


February 1, 2003, 10:51 AM
Fox news is also reporting that it might be an act of terrorism.Complete nonsense. Not a chance. Lots of chances for technical failure.

May the astronauts rest in peace.

February 1, 2003, 10:55 AM

(Radar loop from National Doppler radar)

Is this signifacant?

Wonder is the red line is the debris?

Tagic, just tragic.


Bob Locke
February 1, 2003, 11:00 AM
And just a few days past the anniversary of the Challenger explosion, too.

Maybe time to reconsider sending up shuttles in the middle of winter, even launched from Florida.

Marko Kloos
February 1, 2003, 11:01 AM it won't be long before Pierre Salinger shows up claiming that the Navy shot it down.

Seriously, folks: the orbiter was at 200,000 feet, over the continental United States, travelling at Mach 6. No fighter or surface-to-air missile in the world can reach up that high.

This is a tragic accident, but let's not indulge in Osama-did-it conspiracy fantasies. Space travel is dangerous; that's why we look up to the astronauts as heroes. I wonder whether this nation has yet been coddled enough to forget its pioneer spirit and clamor for "safer" space travel...or maybe for the cancellation of the space program altogether. It's just what the anti-progress, anti-technology people would love to see.

February 1, 2003, 11:03 AM
That radar loop that was caught by the earlier poster... wow

Here is the original planned flight path.

Alan Fud
February 1, 2003, 11:06 AM
The lost crew ...

Baba Louie
February 1, 2003, 11:08 AM
And what about the people up in the space station, re: supplies, etc.?

Contingency plans?


February 1, 2003, 11:16 AM
NASA just admitted that a piece of debris from the external fuel tank came off during launch (probably ice) and hit the leading edge of the wing. Was a tile damaged?


February 1, 2003, 11:17 AM
WRT the space station crew - The return flight has been on the schedule for months and would not be delayed significantly. Time will be taken to inspect the orbiter that was intended to deliver the new crew and pick up the current crew . Some small delay is to be expected, but the flight will take place and those astronauts will be brought home. It is quite possible that USGov. will decide that flights to the station will be put on hold until the accident investigation is completed in a few months, but there is no chance that a STS flight will not take place very nearly on schedule to retrieve the current space station crew.

As to the possible damage on launch of the Columbia - this has happened before. NASA didn't consider it a problem on this flight after conducting a safety review.

cracked butt
February 1, 2003, 11:19 AM
The loss of the Challenger did not end the manned space flight program, as will neither the loss of the Columbia.

AS for terrorist, sabotage, conspiracy aspect of this tragic accident- get a life. There is no way anyone without extensive background checks and clearances are going to get anywhere near the space shuttle. Unless we are to believe that NASA is training sleeper terrorist agents to be astronauts, sabotage is completely out of the question.

Mechanical things fail all the time. One minute your cruising down the highway and the next your right front tire blows out for no apparant reason. While a space shuttle is much more carefully maintained than anyone's vehicle, stuff still breaks. A crew of a spaceshuttle live on a very razor's edge between a safe landing and quick and sudden death, anything that goes wrong can tip the balance in the wrong direction. Astronauts know these risks just like you know the risks of leaving your house in the morning, jumping in your car and driving to work. You know that there is a risk that you might not make it back home alive but don't think about it although people do die everyday doing such mundane activities.

February 1, 2003, 11:21 AM
If for some reason NASA can't go back, there's a Soyuz capsule at the station as a contingency return vehicle.

February 1, 2003, 11:25 AM
I am not surprised. It was just a matter of time. This particular vehicle, Columbia, is over 20 years old. The shuttle fleet creaks along while NASA has not found a viable replacement. It was a compromised design to begin with. Reentry is the most stressfull part of space flight. The aerodynamics are extremely violent. There is tremendous heat.

So now we have a space station and no way to get to it without Russian help until they figure this out. Clearly NASA and the US have to find a better way to get up and down.

It is a damn shame for the astronauts and their families. But often things like this, because of the nature of human beings to procrastinate, that this tragedy will serve as a wake up call to modernize our space fleet.

America will be back in space in the Shuttle, hopefully soon, and I hope that a replacement for the Shuttle will be found soon as well. If not, then these seven people would have died in vain.

February 1, 2003, 11:28 AM
Thoughts & prayers go out to all those involved today (astronauts, friends, family, ground control etc) in the mishap of the space shuttle Columbia.

February 1, 2003, 11:29 AM
Shuttles have a projected lifespan of 100 flights. This was Columbia's 26th.

February 1, 2003, 11:32 AM
1. God bless them and their families. :(

2. It is safe to assume that this is NOT terrorism, until we hear otherwise. The whole scenario sounds unlikely. I'm quite sure that there will be people working for Uncle Sam who will be going over this with a fine tooth comb and laboring under no such assumption...but they have access to the information that we do not, making their queries an investigation and ours a speculation. Let it rest.

3. Loss of a tile during re-entry is, from my layman's POV, decidedly likely. I dunno if the ice/whatever falling from the fuel tank could do it, but I also recall (IIRC applies) that back in the early days of the program Columbia had multiple problems with tiles falling off...fortunately none of them in critical areas.

4. Columbia is also the oldest of our shuttle fleet. If any orbiter was going to have age-related issues, she's the one.



February 1, 2003, 11:40 AM
As I recall, all tiles are replaced after each mission. So, the age of bird shouldn't have anything to do with tile failures. Most likely scenario now IMO is that either ice/debris during launch or debris impact while in orbit damaged the tiles enough to preclude safe reentry. I doubt anyone knew there was any real damage or danger, or you would not have seen her coming down today.

February 1, 2003, 11:47 AM
NASA plans a midday announcement on the loss of Columbia. We may or may not know more then, but until they tell us no one knows what happened.

February 1, 2003, 11:48 AM
A breakup at Mach 18. I am sure they did not feel anything. According to the news, Columbia had 26 flights and the shuttle was designed to go 100 missions, but that the 100 mission thing was just a number to justify the cost of the shuttle, and we are in unknown territory aerodynamically as to the true flight life of the shuttle. After all, the shuttle is by all rights an X-craft. It is the first and only aircraft that has gone up and down into space over and over. (The Russian Buron only made one flight).

Remember the Comet, the first jet airliner? Engineers didn't really know what they were doing, and suddenly the thing just drops out of the sky. Turned out to be cracks in the fuselage caused by compression and de-compression.

Official NASA statement:


A Space Shuttle contingency has been declared in Mission Control, Houston, as a result of the loss of communication with the Space Shuttle Columbia at approximately 9 a.m. EST Saturday as it descended toward a landing at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. It was scheduled to touchdown at 9:16 a.m. EST.

Communication and tracking of the shuttle was lost at 9 a.m. EST at an altitude of about 203,000 feet in the area above north central Texas. At the time communications were lost. The shuttle was traveling approximately 12,500 miles per hour (Mach 18). No communication and tracking information were received in Mission Control after that time.

Search and rescue teams in the Dallas-Fort Worth and in portions of East Texas have been alerted. Any debris that is located in the area that may be related to the Space Shuttle contingency should be avoided and may be hazardous as a result of toxic propellants used aboard the shuttle. The location of any possible debris should immediately be reported to local authorities.

Flight controllers in Mission Control have secured all information, notes and data pertinent to today's entry and landing by Space Shuttle Columbia and continue to methodically proceed through contingency plans.

News media covering the Space Shuttle should stay tuned to NASA Television, which is broadcast on AMC-2, transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 85 degrees West longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical and audio is monaural at 6.8 MHz. Reporters can also go to any NASA center newsroom to monitor the situation.

New information, including the times and locations of press briefings, will be posted to this page.

February 1, 2003, 11:50 AM
Fox News showed a video of debris trails high in the atmosphere, and interviewed an observer on the ground in Texas who saw what could be seen from that distance as Columbia broke up. It's a day of tragedy, grief, and mourning for the astronauts, their families, Israel, and all of America.

I'm confident that the shuttle program will continue. But today's event is a terrible loss. We may remember it for the rest of our lives, but the families of the astronauts will remember it for generations to come.

February 1, 2003, 11:51 AM
This is very sad. I agree with those who urge we lay off the terrorism speculation (though I'm not attacking those who simply reported what news agencies were saying).

They were 39 miles high going 12,000 mph. Not even Tom Diaz is going to suggest terrorism.

If, indeed, it sustained debris damage during take-off two-weeks ago, I guess that could cause something later would snowball into the catastrophic during the high-stress of reentry -- though I'm just an armchair observer on such matters.

Byron Quick
February 1, 2003, 11:55 AM
They shall not grow old
As we that are left grow old.
Age shall not wither them
Nor time condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning-
We shall remember them.

Rest in peace.

February 1, 2003, 11:56 AM
Agreed that terrorism is not an issue.

Just as a curiosity:

I believe the one of the astronauts was born in India and naturalized as an American citizen. Was she Muslim, perhaps?

Just trying to head off any tinfoil hat speculation early.

February 1, 2003, 11:58 AM
this is firearms related how?

February 1, 2003, 12:00 PM

Ramon was from Israeli :uhoh:

February 1, 2003, 12:01 PM

How 'bout trusting in your moderators?

Moderator wannabees tick me off.

February 1, 2003, 12:03 PM

Not talking about the Isreali pilot. Note that I said "she?"

February 1, 2003, 12:12 PM
I certainly trust in the moderators and I don't envy their job. I just think many people come here for firearms stuff not to whine about the shuttle. My heart is certainly with their families but I don't think this board is all encompassing.

Alan Fud
February 1, 2003, 12:16 PM
ajacobs, the moderators have contained this subject to one thread. Given the size of this board, surely one thread for such a national tragedy is not inappropriate.

Politically Incorrect
February 1, 2003, 12:19 PM
surely one thread for such a national tragedy is not inappropriate

I agree.

Zero tolerance should not be tolerated here. Let's allow members to express their grief for the loss of our astronauts.

February 1, 2003, 12:24 PM
My prayers go out to the family members.

This is such a tragety. Things do happen.:(

So how long before some left wing wacko makes a statement that the shuttle was knocked out of the sky with a .50 cal. sniper rifle?

I say within a week.:cuss:

February 1, 2003, 12:28 PM
The 15th of Jan I was in Melbourne to talk to a big Gov. contractor and maybe cook up a little business. On the 16th I got up, had breakfast, drove over to the beach, got a large cup of coffee & settled down with 1500 or so other folks to watch the Columbia launch. Some little kids, there with what appeared to be grandparents, gave the local group the final countdown, "Four, three, two, one, BLAST-OFF!". About 12 miles North the shuttle rode a needle thin line of incandescent orange upward. Not a sound, just the hiss of the surf on the sand... the goosebumps crawl up your back & down your arms, you look around and everyone has 'em, everyone is rubbing their forearms, and it's not that cold. A little scattered applause, GO Baby Go!

This morning I spent with my neighbor at the NRA HQ range, a little quality time. We get home & my wife says "Did you hear?...".
The goosebumps are back, everybody has 'em. Go Baby Go!

A week from Monday I'll be back in Melbourne. I'm going to get a large cup of coffee, drive over to the beach, listen to the surf...

Alan Fud
February 1, 2003, 12:33 PM
... So how long before some left wing wacko makes a statement that the shuttle was knocked out of the sky with a .50 cal. sniper rifle ... Even a surface-to-air missle could not shoot down something traveling at a speed of Mach 10-15 at 200,000+ feet off the ground.

February 1, 2003, 12:33 PM
The is firearms related how?Very well. Using my powers as Axministrator of this site, I hearby waive the Firearms-related requirement for this one, exceptional, topic. This waiver shall not be construed to extend to other issues, matters, topics or threads, and is subject to override by other Administrators, Moderators, or Forum Founders.

Thank you,


February 1, 2003, 12:38 PM
whine about the shuttle
Talk about insensitive:rolleyes:
Thanks to the moderators, reason prevails.

February 1, 2003, 12:45 PM
Rest in Peace.

We are diminished.


Dave Markowitz
February 1, 2003, 12:48 PM
Almighty Ruler of the all,
Whose Power extends to great and small,
Who guides the stars with steadfast law,
Whose least creation fills with awe,
O grant thy mercy and thy grace,
To those who venture into space.

-Robert A. Heinlein

February 1, 2003, 12:51 PM
Saw the link on to a flag at half mast... clicked and was totally shocked.

My first reaction was to call home and talk to my parents. A good opportunity to remember that we are all mortal.

Al Norris
February 1, 2003, 01:06 PM
In December 1941, Pilot Officer John G. Magee, a 19-year-old American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force in England, was killed when his Spitfire collided with another airplane inside a cloud. Several months before his death, he composed this immortal sonnet High Flight a copy of which he fortunately mailed to his parents in the U.S.A.

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds -- and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of -- wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

February 1, 2003, 01:06 PM
First I thought this was terrorism. Then I realized it probably wasn't (could something have been planted aboard, in spite of all the security?), then I was just sick.

Now I'm numb.

My heart goes out to their families and to our nation.


February 1, 2003, 01:12 PM
Repeatedly, CNN reporters have stated that the shuttle broke up 200,000 MILES above the earth [instead of 200,000 feet].
How can a reporter be so stupid!

Then, they badger some weapons expert about the possibility of a SAM missle hitting the shuttle.

Then, they talk about ejection seats---ejecting at 200,000 ft. [or miles] at mach 6.

These people at CNN are dumber than a bag of hammers.

February 1, 2003, 01:12 PM
It doesn't help much to know how dangerous space flight is, except to say that, sooner or later, the dice go against you. No reason to stop playing, though. If the risk of this is too much for us, then these people will have died for little, and we all lose.

Figure out what happened, fix it (or reduce the probablility of occurence), remember these folks for what they were, and were trying to do, and keep moving on.

February 1, 2003, 01:17 PM
Let's everyone show our support and put your flags at half mast.

We still have people on the space station... Keep them in your prayers...

This shuttle was the oldest in the fleet and on it's 28th launch and landing. Built in the 1980's. We may now need to limit the cycles one of these crafts go through.

Remember the fatigue failure of the Hawaii commuter plane that had the top of the fusalage ripped off in flight. It was deemed to have too many cycles of compression and decompression. This in combination with the tile damage during launch maybe a contribution to this tragic event.


February 1, 2003, 01:28 PM
It's a dark day for the space program, the US and the world.
Just a very, very depressing thing. I haven't felt this bad since 9-11.

February 1, 2003, 01:43 PM
If enough tiles go, it won't matter how old or new the spaceframe is. At orbital descent speeds, friction will go through the gap like a HEAT round.

February 1, 2003, 01:48 PM
Thank you for posting that, Al.

February 1, 2003, 01:54 PM
Originally posted by ajacobs:
whine about the shuttle


Where are you from, dude?

February 1, 2003, 01:58 PM
Certain not to be the only one; having followed the Space Program since one of my first memories at 4 yrs. old was in my father’s arms on a frigid night, eye skyward towards the moon, hoping to see a bit of history in 1969.

I live near the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland where my now passed Father In Law Retired in 85'. One of my most cherished tangible belongings is a U.S. Flag that flew aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia during its third (STS-3) mission in 82'. This was given to me just prior to his passing.

I have seen many spectacular Shuttle launches. The two most memorable were; while in the Navy, I "kind of" assisted in a mission when I was stationed "on guard" (hang out in the middle of the ocean during the launch in case anything went wrong). The other was one of the best vacations I've had of many, which included watching John Glenn go up STS-95 a few years ago.

I still kick myself for not becoming an engineer and working at NASA.

This is a tough blow to America and the Space Program in these times of uncertainty.


February 1, 2003, 02:06 PM
Repeatedly, CNN reporters have stated that the shuttle broke up 200,000 MILES above the earth [instead of 200,000 feet].

Not as bad as MSNBC putting on a phone interview with a "NASA Adminstator" who goes on to say "It was shot down by Jackie Martling because Howard Stern was onboard". This was within the first half hour of the initial report. There has to be some reporters with some smarts out there? Perhaps thay are all at FOX?

February 1, 2003, 02:10 PM
It is a miracle or wonder that this kind of thing has not happened more often.

It is sad that it takes things like this to jar us all from our collective complacity about the saftey of things like space travel.

The men and women who volunteer to go into space are truely heros and explorers on a scale the world has never seen. We all just forget that from time to time.

May God bless all of their families and make their loss easier to bear. I know it is little consolation but if it had to happen I am glad it did on re-entry as every one of those men and women on that shuttle wanted nothing more to touch space and see the world from orbit, they were all blessed by being able to attain that goal.

Funny in a world without heros sometimes you forget how many there really are.

May they all go with God and continue to fly higher and higher for ever more.


February 1, 2003, 02:37 PM
Once upon a time a little kid got to play "astronaut" on a shuttle mockup in Huntsville AL, not even a year after Challenger. Her instructor at the time said somthing to the effect of "I'd have been on her just for the chance at the flight, even knowing what would happen."

Brave souls. :(

I know the reentry angle has to be precise to avoid breakup.... I don't recall the altitude that's critical at (may be higher, not certain), but I'm gonna guess if there was wing damage, then one of the flaps was disabled. If the flap is disabled, you can't control the approach angle properly. If you can't control the approach angle.... poof.


and as far as terrorism... feh. The Fox commentator was a ditz. I'm sure Saddam and ObL would love to take credit, and no doubt are cackling in their little heckholes over it... but peh. No chance they were involved.


Dan Morris
February 1, 2003, 02:43 PM
Any time you skirt the edge of the envelope, you kiss disaster.
The bell tolls seven more times! Rest in eternal peace!

February 1, 2003, 03:01 PM
I have always felt that the soul of this country started to die when the Challenger disaster occured. I hope this isn't the nail in the coffin.

I remember playing with a flight simulation down at Houston Space Center, in Texas, where you could land the space shuttle. It was to show how difficult re-entry was due to the fact you were pretty much a glider. When you took the controls a voice would give you advice on speed and angles but there was very little room for error.

I landed it the first time I tried it, but the last two times I crashed. When I was standing there watching other people NOBODY could do it. I was one out of about 15 people that did it.

February 1, 2003, 03:24 PM
As terribly sad as this is, I'm so glad that they at least
were able to achieve their goal & fullfill their mission.
They made it into orbit, did their jobs, contributed to
the accumulated knowledge of mankind... AND got to
live an experience that many of us would dearly love
to share. I was so heartbroken back in '86 when the
Challenger crew lost their lives before they even got a
taste of what they were after. I hope that that the
families of this crew will take some small comfort in the
same knowledge.

Now, we must stand ready to argue with the same
old leftist arguements... it's better to spend the money
on welfare & new houses for crack-addicts than to waste
it in space. This tragedy never would have happened if we
had our priorities straight, blah blah blah... :banghead:

We must remain strong, hold to our ideals, & continue to
fulfill our heritage of exploration & growth. Free people can
achieve tremendous things if they have the courage to do so.
I remain hopeful for the future, but today has brought such

February 1, 2003, 03:36 PM

February 1, 2003, 03:37 PM
terrible tragedy, our hearts go out to family, friends co-workers and all involved, not much more I can think of to say right now.....tom & katz

February 1, 2003, 03:42 PM

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapours, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers, voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T minus nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged
A humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras,
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick you could cut it with a knife
Technology...high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Like a pillar of cloud
The smoke lingers high in the air
In fascination
With the eyes of the world
We stare...

Copyright 1982, by the group Rush, lyrics by Neil Peart, written to commemorate the first flight of Columbia. The song includes recorded snippets of dialogue from Shuttle Launch Control, Houston, and Astronauts Young and Crippen, the first crew of Columbia. It's still my favorite driving song, and has been cued up on my car's CD changer for the past three days.

Today, driving to lunch, I cried while chanting along with the recorded countdown from Columbia's first flight...

"Roger Columbia, you're clear for LOS. We'll see you over the hill..."

February 1, 2003, 03:50 PM
Sounds like the left wing was where the problem was.

Just listening to the NASA breifing.

They lost temperature sensors in the left wing, progressively invacing the wing, then around the tires, and as the flight crew was acknowledging the tire pressure sensor alarm, that was all she wrote, and the ship probably yawed, then tipped, and was immediately and violently destroyed at Mach 18.

Jim March
February 1, 2003, 04:00 PM
There IS such a critter as an anti-satellite missile, but they have to be launched from high-altitude jets. Some of America's fighters can get high enough to launch such a payload, and it's a dead certainty the Russians and Chinese are working on the same stuff.

If the bird had gone down over China, that'd be a possibility maybe, but over Texas? No way. And an onboard bomb is almost as unlikely, as there's no way a saboteur would set it for that long a delay due to the risk of it being discovered in-flight somehow.

A shuttle can lose a few tiles here and there and get by. I seem to recall loss of eight tiles on one early flight that still landed OK, dunno the record.

Telemetry reported loss of tire pressure early in the "incident" (per NBC). With the gear retracted, that means heat/fire in the belly somewhere, which isn't consistent with the "wing damaged by ice" theory. At those speeds, a wing coming apart would have shredded the whole shuttle in such a small amount of time, there'd be no time for a tire pressure sensor to go active.

An internal fuel line or similar blowing could be an issue here versus basic airframe?

In any, what a loss.

I wonder of those guys with the prototype single-stage-to-orbit things (esp. the Roton) will suddenly get new funding?

Here's a collection of reports on non-NASA SSTOs:

February 1, 2003, 04:19 PM
Sleep peacefully astronauts of the Columbia. Marie and I are deeply sorrowed by your tragedy.

You were a part of great voyage of mankind on the sea of space. Thus, we pray for you in the way navy men have always prayed for those fallen on the seas of earth:

"Eternal Father, Strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid'st the mighty Ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea."

May God Bless and comfort the families of these brave and heroic souls.

February 1, 2003, 04:44 PM
The media may be a bunch of bumbling idiots, but I will give them credit (the air networks, anyway, don't have cable) for not showing the video OVER AND OVER... Challenger went down when I was 4, and I didn't have a good grasp of what was going on, but I saw that tape hundreds of times. I can close my eyes and see it right now. I've only seen this one twice, and I hope that number doesn't climb much more.

February 1, 2003, 04:46 PM
They lost temperature sensors in the left wing, progressively invacing the wing, then around the tires, and as the flight crew was acknowledging the tire pressure sensor alarm, that was all she wrote, and the ship probably yawed, then tipped, and was immediately and violently destroyed at Mach 18.When did you hear that? If true, that sounds like burn through.

Nathaniel Firethorn
February 1, 2003, 04:53 PM
This is too many truly rotten days for our country in too short a stretch.

Saw bits of the NASA press confernce. Press trying to play blame game. Sickening. But the Associated Press are not the ones who will take us to the stars.

We shall learn. We shall overcome. We shall prevail.

- pdmoderator

Nathaniel Firethorn
February 1, 2003, 04:55 PM
When did you hear that? If true, that sounds like burn through.It sounds like the facts aren't all in, much less fit together. I'm going to let the analysts do their jobs.

- pdmoderator

February 1, 2003, 05:14 PM
don't have cable) for not showing the video OVER AND OVER...

The cable channels are doing that very thing.

February 1, 2003, 05:20 PM
I feel extremly bad for there families and there friends. However these individuals new the risks and decieded to take them. They also died doing something that was up until the moment it all went wrong was one of the best expiernaces of there lives(at least one would think so). They died doing something they wanted to do. I only wish they could have made it back to share there expierance with there family.

February 1, 2003, 05:29 PM
If I'd known that the bird was going to break up on re-entry, I'd have still crawled aboard with the biggest, craziest ever grin on my face.

I'd die tomorrow to have seen what they've seen, and done what they've done. This is the ending of heroes, and pioneers. And it is very sad, yes - but what better death could any one of us hope for, ever?

I would that Columbia had come home, and known clear skies again. I would that the seven crewmembers had returned to their families and homes.

It's sad - it's heartbreaking.... but I'd pay that price tomorrow, to see what they've seen, and to have done what they have done.

Ad Astra Per Aspera.

February 1, 2003, 05:45 PM
Nothing is ever gained without risk. I thank God that we have the people who will risk this again for the betterment of mankind.

February 1, 2003, 05:47 PM


Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep,
peaceful sleep.
May the soldier
or sailor,
God keep.
On the land
or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night,
Must thou go,
When the day,
And the night
Need thee so?
All is well.
Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day,
And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well;
Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
'Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.

Jim Watson
February 1, 2003, 06:02 PM
I am very pessimistic.
There are still people in orbit on the Space Station.
I predict that there will be a preliminary investigation of a
length depending on their supplies and endurance. Then a
carefully inspected shuttle with minimum crew will take them
off. The last man out will turn off the lights.

I think it was Jerry Pournelle who said: "I was thrilled to see
the first man on the moon. I never dreamed I would see the
last." I consider it likely that the US manned space program is
over. Unless and until somebody else accomplishes so much we
must resume for prestige and security. There are plenty of
people who will fly anything, but there is not the institutional
courage to pay the money and let them take the risks.

"Noisy" Rhysling was more optimistic:

Let the sweet fresh breezes heal me
As they rove around the girth
Of our lovely mother planet
Of the cool, green hills of Earth.

We rot in the moulds of Venus,
We retch at her tainted breath.
Foul are her flooded jungles,
Crawling with unclean death.

[ --- the harsh bright soil of Luna ---
--- Saturn's rainbow rings ---
--- the frozen night of Titan --- ]

We've tried each spinning space mote
And reckoned its true worth:
Take us back again to the homes of men
On the cool, green hills of Earth.

The arching sky is calling
Spacemen back to their trade.
And the lights below us fade.

Out ride the sons of Terra,
Far drives the thundering jet,
Up leaps a race of Earthmen,
Out, far, and onward yet ---

We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
And the cool, green hills of Earth.

R.A. Heinlein

Art Eatman
February 1, 2003, 06:09 PM
The Russians have a launch scheduled to the space station in the next few days, per something I read somewhere in today's net-browsing...


February 1, 2003, 06:28 PM
The last man out will turn off the lights.The good news is that the one thing that all adventurers and heroes share, is courage.

There will never be a "last" man or woman off our space stations. At least not as long as there is a human race.

There are many people in this world that long for regression, for a diminishing of human capacity. They have many names, but in reality they are no more significant than a small dog nipping at our heels. Those that dare will always win, always.

Special note to the death-cult nuts of the world and their dupe sympathizers. We can and do send men and women of the world out beyond the reach of your understanding. Whether it be to heaven's heights, or the deep of the sea, they go, gladly, in search of the next great thing that humans can do. In doing so, they make even your pathetic, hide-in-a-hole, lives better.

We, especially those worthy of the name American, will never, never, be defeated. We will never be a part of your theocracy, or in the case of the pinko dupes, never be a part of your socialist, collectivist utopia. So, do yourselves a favor, and get it now, and get it right.

On our worst day (and this certainly qualifies as one of them) our way of life, our achievement, our strength, and our faith, eclipses your wildest dreams.

Our heroes go to God lifting up all of humanity, not tearing a hole in humanity's heart.

So cross us. I dare you.

February 1, 2003, 06:33 PM
We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on friendly skies
And the cool, green hills of Earth.

Robert Anson Heinlein, The Green Hills of Earth

February 1, 2003, 06:37 PM
Have you seen this CNN News Article ( ?

If anyone out there has any doubts that Saddam is evil . . . this article should give you the obvious answer.

My prayers go out to the family of our heros who lost their life today in service of our country. May God have mercy on their souls. This event will bring our country together again! And we will move forward.

February 1, 2003, 06:42 PM
I'd die tomorrow to have seen what they've seen, and done what they've done.

I've no deathwish, but if they told me I had a seat on the next launch, it wouldn't matter if I didn't have a nickle to my name; I'd be on I-40E with my thumb stuck out.

This is the ending of heroes, and pioneers. Let's not be melodramatic...there are other things afoot.

President Bush says that this will not be the end of our quest. There's no reason not to believe him.

February 1, 2003, 06:42 PM

Well said, brother.

Calamity Jane
February 1, 2003, 06:53 PM
High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

— John Gillespie Magee, Jr


God bless the souls and the families of the seven heroes humanity lost today.

Ron L
February 1, 2003, 07:17 PM
Basically, words almost escape me. It's hard to explain to my kids why this kind of "science" is necessary. Easiest way to explain it is that perhaps something they discover may one day be used to save their life. It may be used for other important or noble purposes. But we would never know if people like these weren't willing to sacrifice for the sake of mankind.

I was mildly yet pleasantly surprised when Milt, one of the guys from NASA, said during the press conference something to the order that it shouldn't take a tragedy like this to bring the country together. This is verbatim, I was talking with my wife and only caught part of it. If anybody else heard it, I'd be curious to know what the context was.

"....and the Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the souls we mourn today..."
George Bush

February 1, 2003, 07:29 PM
It took me a while to be able to get online today. We live just out from under the debris track and people in towns just north of us and to the east of us are finding pieces all over the place. Including in their homes, through the roofs. The local stations are showing hearses at sites where human remains have been found.
We in Deep East Texas are mostly in a state of shock. Two crew members were Texans. Everywhere we look there are National Guardsmen, police, state troopers, etc. guarding little areas with yellow tape around them. With little pieces of metal, heat shielding or people in them.
There are a lot of tears being shed around here. But NO ONE is suggesting that the space program should be scrapped. We'll be back up there as soon as possible and we will stay up there.

February 1, 2003, 07:31 PM
Extreme sadness. :(

On the earth, in a pleasant climate, absent the extremes of weather and calamity, is safe for us. Everyplace else is fraught with extreme hazards.

Praise be to the intrepid who reach out beyond safe to benefit us all.

February 1, 2003, 07:37 PM
May God have mercy on their souls and comfort and care for all 7 crew members families. :(

February 1, 2003, 07:37 PM
Ilon Ramon: Father of four, mother and grandmother survived Auschwitz, father and grandfather fought in Israeli War of Independence. Colonel in Israeli Air Force who fought in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and in the Lebanon War, he was one of the pilots who took out Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1982 allowing the US to oppose Iraq's invasion of Kuwait without having to deal with Sadaam having nuclear weapons.

William C. McCool: (Willie McCool- can you think of a better name for a Navy test pilot). He was a Commander in the US Navy and a navy test pilot, he was married but I don't know anything about whether he was a father or not. He was second in his graduating class at Annapolis (US Naval Academy).

Michael Anderson: US Air Force Lt. Col. I think it was his second trip on a shuttle and he spent time onboard Mir. He was married but I don't know about children.

Laurel Blair Clark: Commander in the US Navy and an MD (she was a doctor with the Navy's dive program). She was married and the mother of one child.

David Brown: He was a Captain in the US Navy. He joined the navy after finishing his medical residency. He was both a fighter pilot and a flight surgeon. He worked as an acrobat at a circus while in college.

Kalpana Chawla: She was a civilian employee of NASA. This was her second space flight. She immigrated from India in the 1980's.

Rick Douglas Husband: He was a Colonel in the US Air Force and the commander of this flight. It was his second space flight. He was married and had two children.

February 1, 2003, 07:41 PM
I find this article from the Jan 29th Jerusalem Post particularly ironic and sad. For background the Shema is a prayer that all religious Jews say two times everyday but Ramon wasn't religious so he probably said it for symbolic reasons. Well, it was more so than he could have known- it is also a prayer we are to say just before our death. The rest of the article needs no explaination...

I can't even look at this article without tears filling my eyes:

Jan. 29, 2003
Ramon says 'Shema' over Jerusalem

Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, now on his 14th day on board space shuttle Columbia, sent a letter from space to President Moshe Katsav about his experiences and his love for his homeland.

The letter, written on January 26, describes the training period and his joy at finally lifting off, as well as his feelings as he flew over Israel. "This wasn't the first time," wrote Ramon, "but this time was the best of all."

He saw Jerusalem clearly, and while gazing at the capital he recited the words of the Shema: "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One."

Ramon repeated his sentiments that Israel has the best people in the world with the most phenomenal capabilities. "All that's needed is the right leadership to bring the people of Israel to the heights of heaven," he wrote.

The crew on board space shuttle Columbia on Tuesday marked the 17th anniversary of the Challenger accident where seven astronauts were killed due to the decision to ignore recommendations by engineers and launch the space shuttle in freezing conditions.

The astronauts followed the NASA tradition of having 73 seconds of silence at 10:38 am. The time marks the launch of the Challenger on January 28, 1986, and the length of its flight before it exploded. The time is also used to honor the memories of three astronauts killed in a fire on board Apollo 1 as it sat on the launch pad on January 27, 1967.

"We've got an announcement we'd like to make," said Columbia's commander, Rick Husband. "It is today that we remember and honor the crews of Apollo 1 and the Challenger. They made the ultimate sacrifice giving their lives in service to their country and for all mankind."
"Our thoughts and prayers go to their families as well," he said.

At the time of the Challenger accident Ilan Ramon was a student at the University of Tel Aviv. None of the other shuttle crew were with NASA at the time of the accident.

The crews round-the-clock laboratory research mission, featuring more than 80 experiments, is due to end with a landing back at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday.

However, NASA said Wednesday that the landing may be delayed due to weather forecasts predicting cloudy conditions for Saturday.

February 1, 2003, 07:48 PM
This breakdown of the shuttle occurred during a time of maximum heat and dynamic stress as the shuttle S turned to slow down. I suspect there was a structural failure of some kind. There is much adieu about a piece of foam insulation from the booster tank that fell on the left wing, which is the major structure that failed, but there have been many incidents of this kind.

I think eventually they will find that the failure was caused by metal fatigue. The sensors that went offline first, were the ones on the trailing edge of the wing, a place of maximum heat. No doubt some kind of small failure that cascaded into a chaotic failure.

Space travel is a dangerous business.

NASA needs a new orbital vehicle, and it is beyond me why they do not have a strategy that makes sense in this direction. The X-33 and X-37 are not that solution, nor is the so called Orient express.

Un-manned heavy boosters lifting large payloads is no more, probably less expensive than the shuttle.

Manned throw away space capsules still make a lot of sense to send men and women up and down.

Mass-production would make both of these venues cheap.

Remember it costs 1 Billion dollars to launch every shuttle.

Greg L
February 1, 2003, 07:58 PM
Remember it costs 1 Billion dollars to launch every shuttle.

:scrutiny: To launch or to build? I always heard the figure for building one. Launches I would expect to be somewhere in the millions (a million here, a million there and eventually you are talking real money :rolleyes:, yes, yes, I know, for the .gov a million is nothing.)


February 1, 2003, 08:33 PM
At the time of the Challenger disaster, Jerry Pournelle said, IIRC, that NASA estimated that they'd lose one of every 25 crews in the early days. Seems I remember that the Shuttle was supposed to have titanium heat shielding instead of tiles, but a congressional cutback forced NASA to use tiles.

Rest in Peace, Astronaunts

February 1, 2003, 08:48 PM
1 billion to launch. I saw a show on it the other day. When I say launch, I am talking about the entire process, not just lighting the candle. Refurbish the solids, overhaul the orbiter, new tank, extensive mission crew training, etc.

The shuttle is a boondoggle in many ways. And I have always thought, an inherently dangerous aircraft. It is all aluminum inside and relies on the insulating tiles, which are glued on, soft, almost 100% silica (sand) to keep the aluminum structure intact. Aluminum and heat are a deadly combination. Keep in mind, the internal structure and skin of the SR71 was titanium.

I was looking at my shuttle pilot manual and at 16 minutes before touchdown, exactly when Columbia disentegrated, S turn maneuvers are initiated. Just minutes before at maxium heat they started to lose sensors. Something on the left wing broke down, at maximum reentry heat and dynamics, then they made a S turn to the right, which would have put more pressure on the left wing and it's elevons and snap, at Mach 18 (12,500 MPH) you are toast.

They keep launching these things, they will keep losing them. 5 aircraft, a little over 100 flights, 2 destroyed, 14 people killed.

Contrary to what other THR's have said, I wouldn't step foot on the thing.

February 1, 2003, 08:54 PM
... that showed the shuttle very clearly when he zoomed in on it?
He must of had a heck of a tele-photo lens. Unfortunatley he pulled back just as the shuttle failed.

February 1, 2003, 09:08 PM
So long and rest easy. We shall all be along presently.

Their deaths were not in vain. They died in service to their fellow man. They died advancing our knowledge as a species. They died doing their jobs.

Thank you and so long. We shall all be along presently.

February 1, 2003, 09:20 PM
It would figure that the day I get my computer back online, something like this happens. It just goes to show that you should appreciate every waking moment because you just don't know when it will end.

There is no chance that this is a terrorist attack (use logic to consider it, people), and I would chastise any Americans who would think to foster such tripe. Let us spend our time, our words, to instead bolster the heroic image of these brave souls who gave their lives for the advancement of our people.

My condolences go out to the families of these brave men and women. There's was an untimely but noble demise...and that is what we should remember.

Politically Incorrect
February 1, 2003, 09:25 PM
I definitely would go if given a chance. It took me twenty-three years to fly (on an ambulance helicopter no less). And three years after that I flew on my first airplane. In fact, I flew on seven airplanes in a week's time. Hawaii is beautiful!!!

Space holds such a mystery. To leave the safety of our own atmosphere and see the world from a distance has to be amazing. These men and women have risked their lives to further our knowledge in science.

I was nervous when that jet took off down the runway at the Dayton International Airport towards Chicago. In the back of my mind, I thought that there is always a chance that this is my last plane ride. I still couldn't keep looking out of the window thinking that nearly a hundred years ago, they just discovered heavier than air flying. :D The Cessna was another creature altogether.

It's no wonder why people take such risks.

jmbg29 said it right:
There are many people in this world that long for regression, for a diminishing of human capacity.

Shame on them. Too bad many have positions at the UN and even our own government.

February 1, 2003, 09:30 PM
That was pure poetry!

My hat is off to you.


February 1, 2003, 09:52 PM
One of the fundamental problems with the Shuttle (other than being 70's technology) is that it, like so many things is a compromise.

If you go back and look at the evolution of the spacecraft NASA wanted something much smaller and austere. In order to get funding they ended up caving into DOD requirements for a much larger payload capacity. The DOD requirements are what drove the size of the payload bay and therefore the entire vehicle.

It kept getting bigger and bigger and trying to cover more and more tasks beyond a simple "taxi" to orbit.

After Challenger the DOD couldn't get out of the program fast enough and go back to one-time rockets. Leaving NASA with a huge spacecraft and infrastructure that quickly devoured its resources.

The problem in all this is that in order to proceed in space the country needs to make a commitment. A commitment that will take years (actually decades) to see come to fruition.

Fat chance in today’s world. The politicians that control the purse strings don’t give a damn about what happens past the next election. Corporations and stockholders don’t’ give a damn what happens beyond the next quarterly report .

There is no more Soviet Union to provide a challenge to the West.

People who love freedom and see the values in expanding the frontiers of knowledge and the species know that the space program is a vital part of what makes us Human.

Bean counters, investment brokers, CEO’s and politicians ask the same question: When will I get my investment back?

Such pitiful and petty minded people will be the death knell for this civilization and this species.

I’m sorry if this offends anyone. I am rather intoxicated right now. I’ve seen too much of this. A child of the Sixties (born 1957) I grew up with a complete and total fascination for the Space Program. My parents used to pull me out of school to watch launches on TV. I became a civilian pilot because of it (eyes too bad to join NASA or the Military).

I keep imagining the last few minutes of the flight and what was going through their minds. Pilots out there will understand that.

My deepest condolences to the family and friends of the crew. May their commitment to expanding the boundaries of what it means to be Human never be forgotten or diminished by those that would trivialize their courage and commitment.

February 1, 2003, 10:11 PM
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven...

words cannot possibly express our sorrow
for the loss of these fine people and their intrepid craft. Godspeed:mad:

Alan Fud
February 1, 2003, 10:57 PM ... Men report finding possible shuttle victim's remains
Associated Press

HEMPHILL -- Among the chunks of metal littered across eastern Texas following the space shuttle's explosion were some heartbreaking discoveries: an astronaut's charred patch, a helmet, some human remains.

The shuttle Columbia broke apart in flames 200,000 feet over Texas this morning, leaving a 500-mile swath of debris across several counties. All seven astronauts were killed just minutes before they were to glide to a landing in Florida.

Clark Barnett, 32, spotted an object while driving on Farm-to-Market Road 2971 this morning. He didn't give it much thought until he got a call from friend Mike Gibbs, an X-ray technician at Sabine County Hospital, who told him about the shuttle explosion.

Both men met on the two-lane road about 9 a.m. and realized with horror that they apparently were looking at an astronaut's remains: a charred torso, thigh bone and skull with front teeth intact.

"I wouldn't want anybody seeing what I saw," Gibbs, 33, told The Associated Press. "It was pretty gruesome."

Fire trucks arrived shortly and blocked the road as authorities collected evidence. A hearse was seen leaving the area today evening after officials loaded it with a black bag.

Billy Smith, the emergency management coordinator for Jasper, Sabine and Newton counties, confirmed that body parts were found near apparent shuttle debris in Sabine County.

The remains have been turned over to the FBI, officials said.

"We don't know where the remains are being taken," Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox said.

Residents across eastern Texas reported finding chunks of metal and other shuttle parts atop roofs, in yards and on parking lots. A compact car-size piece of debris fell into Toledo Bend lake, said Maddox. A charred astronaut's patch was found in San Augustine County.

A flight helmet landed on James Couch's property near state Highway 103 and F.M. 1751 in San Augustine County, The Lufkin Daily News reported. He kept guard on the helmet.

Authorities were searching a 500-mile swath but said the debris could be spread over a region three times larger.

February 1, 2003, 11:08 PM
Would you believe they are already auctioning "debris" from the shuttle on Ebay?

February 1, 2003, 11:13 PM
Yeah, they were hitting eBay shortly after it happened. Tom Brokaw reported someone was even listing debris from the wreckage on ebay. I did a search, and there was an auction item "removed" by eBay. This must have been what they were talking about. Notice this POS even registered this morning. :fire: :scrutiny:

February 1, 2003, 11:18 PM
Listening to Rush's "Signals" album is going to have a whole new meaning.

February 1, 2003, 11:31 PM
I know what you mean.

Check my post a page or so back... :(

February 1, 2003, 11:37 PM
Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live, and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

Let this be the words you ‘grave for me:
"Here he lies where he longed to be.
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill."

The marker located at the resting place of Robert Louis Stevenson in Tahiti.

Alan Fud
February 1, 2003, 11:45 PM
I just saw the father of Ilon Ramon (the Israeli astronaunt) interviewed on TV and he said that he received an e-mail from his son during this mission saying that he didn't want to return to earth because it was so beautiful up there.

Ironically, he got his wish. Also, if reports are correct, one of the female astronaunts lost her brother on 9/11/01 in the World Trade Center. :(

February 1, 2003, 11:49 PM
Since the day I played hooky from school and watched John Glen orbit the earth three times, I have watched in wonderment at amazing men and women willing to put their fears aside and go aloft to explore "the final frontier." I am heartbroken now but I will get over this just like the men and women of NASA will get over this. They will go on because that is what we Americans do. We go on. To not continue is to give up. We do not give up, not now, not ever.

Peace be with the crew of the Columbia.

February 2, 2003, 12:03 AM

Thanks for posting "Countdown"; I had forgotten about that song.

It was hard to maintain my composure, listening to it just now.

May God bless and keep them, and comfort their families.

February 2, 2003, 12:16 AM
This is the most heartbreaking image to come out of todays events so far:

To the family and friends of those who gave their lives today in pursuit of their dreams, take heart in the fact that they were exactly where they wanted to be by choice, doing things that the rest of us can only dream about.

February 2, 2003, 12:24 AM
It just dawned on me that this was the first space shuttle. I was there back in 1981 when they launched it for the first time. The submarine I was on was doing security off the coast and pulled into the cape the night before the launch, giving us an excellent front row seat. Following the launch, some tugs pulled the two solid rocket boosters to the same pier we were docked at. I took several pictures of them in the water and while they lifted them out.

Kahr carrier
February 2, 2003, 03:23 AM
Yep and It sucks, Prayers and best wishs to the families.:(

Ron L
February 2, 2003, 09:19 AM
Would you believe they are already auctioning "debris" from the shuttle on Ebay?

Ebay pulled the auctions in question. (I've only found other non-debris memorabilia.) They're also reporting the supposed sellers to the authorities. One was even a farce, the IP addy pointed to Germany. That's even more vile, to profit from a tragedy like this is sick, to defraud and profit is unconscienable. :fire: I hope they rot in hell.

February 2, 2003, 01:07 PM
Well, I thought the Ebay thing was vile until I opened up my local rag, the Santa Barbara News Press this morning. There was an article about local reaction to the explosion written mind you, yesterday, the day of the event. Some of the people they interviewed were at the local weekly anti-war rally.

The tone of those interviewed was one of almost annoyance that the explosion took publicity away from them. Not a group to make it a total loss to their goals, they were quick to make political statements out of it, such as (words in italics are mine):

"...wishing this would slow the space program." paraphrased

"...we need the money for health and education."

"They're pouring money into military and space programs for their dominance activities."

"Their intent is not to explore space, it's to monopolize and control as many regions as possible."

"...I expect the tragedy to be turned around by George Bush and manipulated to make Americans rally around the space program." and this statement is not manipulating the tragedy?

They also managed to put in a New York Times story about how crappy our space program is. I'm all for hearing more than one opinion about an event, but in honor of seven brave souls, you'd think these idiots could have waited a while before spouting off. I'm wondering how the above statements are any different than those reported from Iraqi citizens.:fire:

February 2, 2003, 01:30 PM
Just wait until the Chinese put their first Cosmonaut into space. They are probable weeks away from doing it. Bush just signed something about a Mars exploration. My bet is as soon as the Chinese finally launch their Cosmonaut everyone in America is going to get mad and want to see NASA do more.

I hope.

February 2, 2003, 01:36 PM
Godspeed my friends, Godspeed. :(

Even with this accident, I would launch tomorrow for the joy of being in space.

February 2, 2003, 01:54 PM
"...wishing this would slow the space program." Oog stop play fire! Oog! Stop knap flint!. "...we need the money for health and education."Some people can't be educated no matter how much money is spent on them. These people are living proof. They live a better life than any human being has ever known in the history of the world, and for them, that is still not good enough. Rather than seek to make a positive contribution, they :cuss: and whine on the sidelines.

I guess that they must have been completely unaware that the bulk of the 16 day mission was devoted to medical experiments. I suppose that their liberal viewpoint left them unaware that schools all over America were taking part in some of the experiments, recieving reports from the shuttle Astronauts in the hope that the children's imaginations would be captured by the excitement and wonder of having the ability to be in contact with folks performing a feat that is nothing short of miraculous.They're pouring money into military and space programs for their dominance activities.Yeah, that's it. What is the correct term? Oh, "Global hedgemony", yeah, that's what we are up to.

What a curious response though. They seem to think that the best course of action is to adopt the stance of being pathetic, backward-thinking, effete losers. I'm shaking in my boots. How can we ever stop their relentless onslaught? Hey! I actually was able to type that with a straight face! Their intent is not to explore space, it's to monopolize and control as many regions as possible.To tell you the truth, I think that we are really just looking for a planet that will suit the needs of you losers a little better. You folks certainly don't appreciate what we have here, so maybe we can find a hunk of rock up in the sky that hasn't been developed "too fast". Maybe some place that isn't about to slip into "Nuclear Winter" or that isn't suffering from "Global Warming". A place that won't tax the limited capacity of your tiny-little-monkey-minds. :fire: :cuss: :fire: I expect the tragedy to be turned around by George Bush and manipulated to make Americans rally around the space program.Naw, we all decided to go slink off into a hole and die.:rolleyes: They also managed to put in a New York Times story about how crappy our space program is.That isn't a statement against modern Urinalism, is it?;) I'm wondering how the above statements are any different than those reported from Iraqi citizens.The so-called Americans that you are describing speak out of self-hatred. In essence their souls are broken and lost. The Iraqis speak out of fear and ignorance, a result of their being oppressed and marginalized by their fearless socialist pig-:cuss:ing leader. God may be able to forgive each of them, but I won't.

February 2, 2003, 02:09 PM
The Space Program is still our future.
Well at least for my kids it is. :D

Remember, people scoffed at Queen Isabella for funding Christopher Coulmbus.
I guess the Flat Earth Society still has some members. :rolleyes:

February 2, 2003, 03:01 PM
The marker located at the resting place of Robert Louis Stevenson in Tahiti.

Actually, it is in Samoa ... but anyway, thanks for the poem - that is really fitting.

The frontiers change but the pioneer spirit never does.

February 2, 2003, 03:05 PM
I have a dumb question that maybe someone can help me with:

Back in the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo days, they had a several minute radio "blackout" because of the re-entry heat.

Does that not occur with the shuttle? :confused:

They "lost contact" with the Columbia - had they previously had a normal loss of contact followed by regaining contact? - or does the shuttle come in at a different angle somehow so that they never lose radio contact under normal conditions?


Greg L
February 2, 2003, 03:14 PM
I believe that the radio blackout is normal for every re-entry.

February 2, 2003, 03:14 PM
Yes, the shuttle does suffer from loss of communication. Nasa even said they have lost communication with the shuttle for an entire rotation while in orbit . . . 90 minutes.

But in this case, they began to get sensors that stopped working. And they were in unrelated areas. And during a transmission, supposedly communication was cut off . . . around 9:00 am EST.

While blackouts in communication is not abnormal, there were to many things "not right" leading up to the shuttles final loss of communication.

February 2, 2003, 04:09 PM

Calmly, Mission Control tried repeatedly to call Columbia, but received no response

Sunday, February 02, 2003

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) - Again and again and again and again Mission Control called, first on one radio channel and then on another. But from space there was only a silence that stretched on until there was no hope.
Their voices remained calm, professional, despite growing evidence that space shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts were in very great trouble in their long fall from orbit toward a landing at the Kennedy Space Centre.

Observers in California and Texas and Arkansas all reported seeing flashes of light, perhaps from debris burning away, as the winged spacecraft streaked overhead. But the experts in Mission Control at first were seeing only routine data, streaming to Earth as millions of electronic bits. Suddenly, there was a dramatic change in temperature readings. And then silence. No data. No radio voices. No radar tracking. And soon, no hope.

Columbia was travelling at more than 16,400 mph (26,390 kph) as it approached the California coast in a high-speed descent shortly before 9:00 am Eastern time (1400 GMT).

There was no communications from the astronauts at the time. Typically for a return from space, the spacecraft commander, Rich Husband, and pilot, William McCool, would sit in the control seat at the front windshield, surrounded by elaborate controls, including computer screens.

Just behind, at McCool's right shoulder, would be Laurel Blair Salton Clark, a physician. And behind both the pilot and commander was astronaut Kalpana Chawla. In a tight compartment below the cockpit, were the other three astronauts, Michael P Anderson, David M Brown, and Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut.

Public affairs announcer James Hartsfield, speaking to the outside world from a microphone inside Mission Control, calmly ticked through the landing routine, calling off speed and altitude and distance to the landing runway. He told how the spacecraft, flying on autopilot, started the first of a series of banked manoeuvres, designed to slow the craft as it entered the increasingly thick atmosphere.

At 8:53 am (1353 GMT), engineers in Mission Control noticed there was a sudden loss of temperature readings in the hydraulic system in the left wing. Somehow, the temperature sensors were no longer sending data.

Three minutes later, signals dropped from the temperature sensors in the left main landing gear.
Mission Control sent a notice to a cockpit electronic screen about the temperature readings.
Milt Heflin, chief flight director, said the crew acknowledged the signal, but it was thought "there was no problem at that time". Such temperature reading losses have been seen before.

Hartsfield continued with routine landing reports, noting that the speeding craft was streaking across the New Mexico-Texas border at an altitude of 40 miles (64 kilometres) and a speed of 13,200 mph (21,240 kph). Columbia, he said, was only 1,400 miles (2,250 kilometres) and less than 20 minutes from landing.
There was a muffled blurt on the radio from the crew.
Capsule communicator Charlie Hobaugh broke a long silence by calling to the crew.

"Columbia, Houston," he said, "we see your tyre pressure message and we did not copy your last."
"Roger," said Husband. "Uh, buh....."
The communication was cut abruptly, the final word never finished. It was followed by static.

At about the same time, all data signals abruptly stopped. Columbia's computers were no longer talking to Mission Control.

The time was about 9:00 am EST (1400 GMT), said Heflin. "That was when we lost all vehicle data. That's when we began to know that we had a bad day."

Columbia was then moving at more than 18 times the speed of sound and was 207,000 feet (62,100 metres) - about 39 miles (63 kilometres) - above Texas.

Hartsfield calmly said that Mission Control engineers "are continuing to standby to regain communications with the spacecraft".

Hobaugh began a series of plaintive calls, speaking in that professional, no-nonsense voice of an aviation veteran.

"Columbia, Houston," he called. "Com (for communications) check."

Silence from space.

"Columbia, Houston," Hobaugh tried again, this time using another radio channel. "UHF (ultra high frequency) com check."


"Columbia, Houston," Hobaugh persisted. "UHF com check."


Hobaugh tried four times more, but there was only silence.

Hartsfield, still hoping, reported, "Flight controllers are standing by for C-band (radar) tracking data from the Merritt Island tracking station."

Again and again, he told the world that Mission Control was still calling, still looking for Columbia.

But always there was only silence from space.

"There was nothing we could do," a Mission Control official said later. "Just observe."

Within an hour, the flag at the Kennedy Space Centre was lowered to half mast.

February 2, 2003, 05:49 PM
The time was about 9:00 am EST (1400 GMT), said Heflin. "That was when we lost all vehicle data. That's when we began to know that we had a bad day."

Still don't understand ... ? This doesn't sound like a normal expected loss of communication. In the "old" days (back when we stayed glued to the TV for every flight), I seem to remember that they announced "X many minutes/seconds to loss of radio contact"

Never mind, it's not that important.


What I find absolutely amazing is that no one on the ground was injured or killed, and property damage seems minimal. What if ... it had been a weekday, and that "car-sized" fragment had hit a school instead of a lake? <shudder>

I expect that some fragments that fell into wooded areas will go undiscovered for years ...

February 2, 2003, 06:06 PM
Yea, but I'm waiting for some tree-hugging group to start wanting to ban shuttles because of the "toxic" contamination that is spread when this type situation occurs.

Although, you would think 3000 F, 13,000 MPH and a 40 mile drop would burn off any surface contamination on the parts that did hit the ground.

Safety First
February 2, 2003, 06:08 PM
Keep the family and friends in your prayers,it's a tragedy for the country but a ongoing crisis for the families

February 2, 2003, 06:52 PM
Hey guys

This has me a little upset...and well this is the only place that I can vent it.

I definitely fee bad for our Shuttle crew and believe me I think they are all heros....but last week a blackhawk helo went down over in Afganistan and some soldiers died doing what we screamed for them to do after 9.11. These Soldiers put there lives in danger every single moment while they are over there but these guys will not get a bit of press news conference from the President not a bit of again I think our shuttle crew deserves this attention but so do our men and women overseas putting there lives on the line and dying for our freedom.

thanks for letting me vent

February 2, 2003, 07:02 PM
I agree and to add to it.
Each time a soldier gets injured, not necessarily killed, it is big national news.
Cops and firefighters here in the states die and it is not mentioned on the national news.

I personally see the loss of Columbia and her crew as a huge story, since the space program is one of the really good things we have in this country. I love and fully support the continuation of our space program.

I in no way am attempting to minimize the loss of life of any astronaut, soldier, firefighter or cop.

Godspeed to all our dead heroes.

February 2, 2003, 07:03 PM
Still don't understand ... ? This doesn't sound like a normal expected loss of communication. In the "old" days (back when we stayed glued to the TV for every flight), I seem to remember that they announced "X many minutes/seconds to loss of radio contact"I was under the impression that this was no longer the case. Certainly back on the days of Mercury/Gemini/Apollo it was, but I'm not sure if the shuttle ever had communications blackouts on reentry.


February 2, 2003, 07:27 PM
I was under the impression that this was no longer the case. Certainly back on the days of Mercury/Gemini/Apollo it was, but I'm not sure if the shuttle ever had communications blackouts on reentry.

Thanks, Mike.

I just don't keep track of the blow by blow of space flights anymore, so I didn't know this.

I suppose that the shuttle comes in at a flatter angle than the old nose cone type craft that basically fell like a rock. Maybe it doesn't get quite as hot, so radio isn't normally affected.


The loss is really sad, but I know the crew died doing what they wanted to do - you don't even get into that program without a LOT of motivation.

I hope the investigators can figure out what caused this. It looks like a really tough job to me - no close photos, telemetry data most noticeable for it's absence, and the wreckage distorted and melted by heat - and the critical pieces may have been completely destroyed or else not found for months or years.

I bet hunters will be finding pieces of the Colombia every fall for years to come ...

February 2, 2003, 07:33 PM
I heard this on the radio yesterday, so forgive me if it is inaccurate.

It was stated that indeed communication from the shuttle to the ground stations is lost during re-entry. However, the shuttle can still transmit up to orbiting satelites and relay the signal back down to ground control.
An option that was not available during the Apollo program.

Admiral Thrawn
February 2, 2003, 08:42 PM
The orbiter experiences "ionization blackout" for 12 minutes during reentry. This prevents communication.

George Hill
February 2, 2003, 08:58 PM
What is truelly amazing is that this is only the 2nd incedent with these orbiters.
I remember exactly where I was when the first one blew... and I will remember this one.

The shuttle program can still be considered a huge success. Very few other flight progams have as good of a track record.


February 2, 2003, 09:25 PM
I am truly amazed that human remains have been found. I would have thought they would have been vaporized.

Hopefully their passing was fast and painless.

It sure sounds as though this was a burn-through problem. The way they lost one sensor after another suggests that there was something progressive going on, rather than a sudden catastrophic failure.

February 2, 2003, 09:38 PM
The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo's used an ablative (sp?) heat shield. In other words it got white hot and sloughed off carrying th heat with it. This had a lot to do with the radio blackouts. The shuttle uses the tiles which do not slough off but rather act as insulators. That way all tehy have is the ionization problem with the radios. It' still there, but not as bad.

They are all #1 in my book and my heart and prayer go out for them and their families.

I can still remember a cold Feb day in 1962. The principal had a TV set up in the auditorium so the whole HS (my senior year) could watch the launch. I fought my way to the front row. After he had achieved orbit everyone had gone back to their classes.......except me and a friend. We sneaked in to the balcony of the auditorium and watched all day till splashdown.

God ride with them.

Gray Peterson
February 2, 2003, 11:25 PM
I tend to think that the reason why accidents like this occur because of the "lowest bidder" system that Congress demanded of NASA. If they were to fund NASA, I'd rather then spend 15% more on QUALITY parts than cheaply made stuff.

Prayers go to the families of the astronauts of this mission.

February 2, 2003, 11:30 PM
I'd rather then spend 15% more on QUALITY parts than cheaply made stuff.Since they don't use any poor quality materials, you would be getting the same "stuff" for 15% more. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

February 2, 2003, 11:50 PM
Like jmbg29 said, "low bidder" doesn't necessarily mean cheap parts. NASA has specs on everything they use. The lowest bidder is merely the guy that can manufacture that part the cheapest. Even then, NASA has QA inspectors that verify the part does it fact meet the specifications.

This is different than say, soliciting bids for a 24" television and then buying the lowest priced one submitted.

February 2, 2003, 11:55 PM
I agree with Lonnie Wilson.

They might not be "Cheap" parts but they aren't the best thing we could be using on the Shuttle.

NASA was taken under the butcher knife under Klinton. How many fighter planes have we retired since the late 70's?? How come the Space Shuttle is still flying????

Where's the X31 that Lockhead Martin was suppose to build in the early 90's? Congress is to blame for the present financial status of NASA.

February 3, 2003, 12:46 AM

NASA Shuts Down X-33, X-34 Programs…in March 2001.

Also the X-38 project is off.

The X-38 being cut really put the hurt on Alpha. The station was planned around 7 people full time. Without a way to get all 7 off at the same time, they have to rely on a Soyuz which can only hold 3. Hence the whole design of the ISS and the predictions of the science that could be done got flushed because we can't properly man it.

Oh, and the Soyuz only has a lifespan of 6 months attached to Alpha, so they have to be replaced twice a year (and the Russians are having a hell of a time paying for them).

Even before Columbia, the chances of having to evacuate Alpha for at least a year were on the drawing boards. With the Shuttle fleet grounded this will probably happen and, my opinion only, Alpha will probably be unmanned for 2 years or more.

Once again a step forward for mankind has turned into a stumble in the dark thanks to bureaucrats and politicians who can't see beyond their next election campaign.

February 3, 2003, 12:53 AM
The 90-ton shuttle, heavier than other spacecraft in the fleet, was the only one not outfitted to dock with the international space station.

NASA had considered mothballing it in 2001 because of budget constraints, but decided to keep it in service, in part to ensure flying several scheduled missions.

February 3, 2003, 03:59 AM
Anyone else notice the smell? That was disconcerting

I had been on a camping trip all weekend. We stoped at a local gas station to top off the boat and saw the headline on the paper...COLUMBIA LOST, NO SURVIVORS. We almost had a heart attack right there, since COlumbia is our capital city and we had been without any outside contact for 3 days.

a sad time indeed.

February 3, 2003, 04:44 AM
Credit to GlockTalk where I found this posted:

February 3, 2003, 04:50 AM
Not to be crass, I worked at NASA in Huntsville, Al and the windows in the hotel I was in this weekend in Dallas had its' windows shaken by the explosion or sonic boom, BUT the closest thing in this thread to gun related is a reference to Glock Talk and their lax administration in their General Forum is why I don't go there.

THR states:
Meet fellow forum members, find a common ground. Introduce new people to responsible firearm ownership. Posts must be related to firearms.

How about moderating this thread the way it is suppose to be done or changing the rules so this thread is compliant.

February 3, 2003, 05:02 AM
From the middle of page 3, Coronach wroteVery well. Using my powers as Adminitsrator of this site, I hearby waive the Firearms-related requirement for this one, exceptional, topic. This waiver shall not be construed to extend to other issues, matters, topics or threads, and is subject to override by other Administrators, Moderators, or Forum Founders.So I'll see your moderator, and raise you an administrator. Hope you don't find me crass.:rolleyes:

February 3, 2003, 05:20 AM
There are at least two other off topic threads going, in fact there is another on the shuttle. I wasn't going to read through 5 pages of off topic garbage, only the first and last. If I want to read about current events I would go be at CNN not here. If the rules have changed then change the statements on the contents page to:
....... Introduce new people to responsible firearm ownership. Posts must be related to firearms, UNLESS WE CHANGE OUR MINDS AND DECIDE TO ALLOW NON-FIREARMS RELATED POSTS.

If what it says on the contents page isn't true fine, but at least let me know ahead of time it is a lie so I don't waist my time on BS threads. It was my impression that these forums were not suppose to be like my mothers sewing circle. Why don't we start discussing last Thursdays bridge game? BECAUSE IT ISN'T ABOUT GUNS and unless someone shot down the shuttle neither is that topic.

February 3, 2003, 06:46 AM
My prayers go out to all the families.:(

Art Eatman
February 3, 2003, 08:32 AM
Jeff, only you can choose how you "waste your time". Coronach's comment should be clear and sufficient; and adequate even for a Philadelphia Lawyer, much less a shooter.

Hey, even a TV set has an "Off" button, as well as a channel-changer.

:(, Art

February 3, 2003, 08:59 AM
How about moderating this thread the way it is suppose to be done or changing the rules so this thread is compliant.

Hey moderators,

Move the thread to legal and political, which doesn't need to be firearms related, just political Certainly, the shuttle disaster has the seeds of political issues (is the USA too risk averse? what's up with Saddam claiming this is God's will? etc.). Then no one would have any standing whatsoever to complain about this thread's existence, period.

February 3, 2003, 09:52 AM
There are at least two other off topic threads going, in fact there is another on the shuttle. I wasn't going to read through 5 pages of off topic garbage, only the first and last. If I want to read about current events I would go be at CNN not here. If the rules have changed then change the statements on the contents page to:

Are you too cumpulsive not to click on topics you are not interested in reading, obviously you just like to run off at the keyboard because you are bored?

If this is all you have to do, get a life.

BTW: If you read this thread you will clearly see that it does not violate forum rules as they stand now. But you did not read it, did you?:neener:

February 3, 2003, 10:11 AM
I think she was Hindu.

February 3, 2003, 10:14 AM
Gun related ....?

Here you go:

Some people gun be sad for a long time.

There ... :neener:

February 3, 2003, 10:57 AM
To those that are whining about this being off topic.
Don't go away mad, just go away. :D

February 3, 2003, 11:26 AM

I see the idea of zero-tolerance has its adherents, even on TFL/THR. I am going to say this once more, nicely. Do attempt to take the hint. Under normal circumstances this thread would be considered off-topic and would be closed. However, when a Space Shuttle breaks up on re-entry and the seven heroes on board are killed, it is perfectly safe to say that this is not a normal circumstance. Extraordinary measures will be taken to honor our fallen heroes, and allowing a thread on the Shuttle breakup in THR's General Discussion forum is probably about the least of them.

If what it says on the contents page isn't true fine, but at least let me know ahead of time it is a lie so I don't waist my time on BS threads. It was my impression that these forums were not suppose to be like my mothers sewing circle. Why don't we start discussing last Thursdays bridge game? BECAUSE IT ISN'T ABOUT GUNS and unless someone shot down the shuttle neither is that topic.1. No one is clicking links for you. Please take responsibility for your own web-browsing.

2. The reason that we do not allow threads about last Thursday's bridge game, and yet do allow threads about Columbia is that one is a topic of profound national interest and sadness, a truly unique event that people who viewed it will remember for the remainder of their lives, on a par with 9/11, Challenger, the Kennedy assassination and Pearl Harbor. The other is not. If you are unable to see the difference between the two, I feel truly sorry for you.

Allowing this one thread is an exercise in judgement, both on the part of the Admins/Mods and on the part of the membership at THR. I am confident that the overwhelming majoriy of THR's members are up to the task.

Thank you,


Matt G
February 3, 2003, 11:35 AM
On rare occasions we sanction some off-topic discussion. I won't begin to list the topics that this has been found to be acceptable in, but I will point out that national tragedies have been commonly accepted as worthwhile. A good example would be that, back in TFL, on Sept. 11th, we all freely discussed the accounts, which were not then strictly gun-related. It was on all of our minds, and we as staff made the decision to openly talk about it.

Gun-owners are, by and large, fairly tech-oriented, inasmuch as we tend to like the nuts and bolts aspects of things that do their jobs, and do them well. We are also fairly accepting of the concept that there are things worth doing that involve risk. Thus it's not surprising to me that many, if not most gunowners are interested or even fascinated by the space program. In all likelyhood, the majority of the people posting here would leap at the chance to board the next flight of a space shuttle, if it was offered tomorrow. I know I would, even though I'm a father and a husband.

But, to get to the main reason that this topic is allowed to go on: Because Oleg said so.

February 3, 2003, 12:09 PM
My heart goes out to the families of the astronauts, and I am very sorry that they were lost, but I have a perspective on this that surprises more than a few people around me. For the astronauts personally... well, I don't feel all that sorry for them. For one thing, their cares in this world are over, and G-d is looking after them, so there's no need to worry about them anymore. Most people kinda nod their heads in agreement with that one without saying anything. The other thing is that I think it's a pretty good way to go. IIRC, 6 of the 7 were pilots, and 2 of them were test pilots. They went in a huge fireball flying the hottest, sexiest, fastest aircraft ever built. While I would rather have seen them go on to see their great grandkids born in 50 years, if you're gonna go...

February 3, 2003, 12:54 PM
Kalpana Chawla was Hindu. She lived in the SF/San Jose area from around 1989 to 1994 and attended a Hindu temple. `Daughter of India' honored (

Politically Incorrect
February 3, 2003, 01:55 PM
One of my instructors at a local college read an e-mail from astronaut Dave Brown that was forwarded by a friend of his who helped organize tours through the space center in Houston. My instructor remembers Dave Brown from the trips he made there.

He talked about a photograph that was signed three years ago by those people he met that day. It was signed by the astronauts with their mission numbers that they flew on or were assigned to. The only person who did not have a mission number was Dave Brown.

It's amazing to see the tears streak from the eyes of my teacher as he read the letter and talked about his time with those working in the space program.

The end of the e-mail stated that it was not to be released to the media. However, I had a strong sense of appreciation of our very own planet and amazement of its beauty from one of our fallen heros.

The teacher's concern is that through our daily life, we tend to not think of these astronauts as people. And life does go on. Unfortunately, some people won't pause to honor those who take such risks.

But those who take risks in life should be honored. To our astronauts, to our military personnel, and to our beloved United States of America. Let us continue on a path to show the world what we can do in liberty.


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