Space Shuttle Challenger
January 28, 2011 by USA Post
Families and NASA officials met in an outdoor memorial at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday morning. Twenty-five years, the Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff. The seven astronauts who perished included teacher Christa McAuliffe.
One of the speakers was the widow of Challenger commander, June Scobee Rodgers. She was instrumental in establishing the Center for Space Science Education Challenger, now 48 centers of learning.
Rodgers said that the world has seen how the astronauts died. She said the families of the astronauts have begun centers to show the world how the Challenger crew lived and why they risked their lives.
Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Twenty-five years on Friday, the Challenger space shuttle disappeared from the Florida blue sky, leaving only corkscrew of white smoke hung in the air.
Challenger disintegrating 73 seconds after lift-off took the life of schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe and six other astronauts who perished in front of their families, friends and students to look at Cape Canaveral and on TV live across the nation.
Subsequently, President Reagan, in a shocked and grieving nation that the legacy of the accident would not reduce the ambition for the space program, but the achievements that have made the crew of Challenger proud.
“To reach new goals and achievements more and more – is how we commemorate our seven Challenger heroes,” he said.
A quarter century later, however, this promise does not appear sustainable over the smoke of Challenger hovering on the coast of Florida this chilly morning in January 1986. Some experts argue that the loss of Challenger has given America’s manned space program a major boost to its status today dusk.
In the years after Challenger, America’s space program man “limping,” said Joan Johnson-Freese of the Naval War College in Newport, RI, who has written several books on space policy. “There had large projects that have been barely satisfied, if at all. ”
The loss dropped the Challenger shuttle fleet to America from four to three, and forced shuttle missions important to be put on hold or canceled. As requested by President George W. Bush, NASA is about to retire the shuttle this year, even if it has no replacement in the wings. NASA has managed to build a huge space station in orbit, but the proposals by various presidents to send teams of the Moon and Mars have been fruitless.
Challenger heritage is more complex than what Reagan hoped. The accident has taught many NASA on the vulnerability of the shuttle and how to make space travel safer, space experts say.
However, some lessons from the accident were eventually forgotten, with a major consequence being the loss in 2003 of the shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated on re-entry in Texas, killing seven astronauts.
The Challenger accident “was important because it set in train a set of changes to NASA,” said Roger Launius, senior curator in the history of space at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. But finally, “a kind of entropy games”
It hardly seemed possible in 1986, when the accident plunged NASA anguished introspection. Investigators appointed by Reagan, noted that NASA had repeatedly ignored serious technical problems. They criticized what they called the NASA “Silent Safety Program” and “flawed” decision.
Investigators have traced the exact cause of the crash of the shuttle O-rings, rubber seals in thinner than the two engines side of the spacecraft. O-rings failed and allowed hot gases to escape the flames, creating a blowtorch to the ship.
The findings of investigators led NASA to take a series of upgrades to the shuttle, which made the spacecraft safer – if not exactly safe. But other lessons from the accident continue to affect the space agency:
Before Challenger, NASA was looking spaceflight simple and safe – safe enough to allow a teacher to fly on the shuttle. The incident recalled that space exploration, at one time or another has cost lives.
Americans decided they could accept the cost. Public support for NASA and the shuttle program in the months immediately after the loss of the shuttle ran 70% to 80%, Launius said.
The public still overwhelmingly supports the astronaut program. A survey conducted in October by Rasmussen Reports polling firm found 72% of respondents said it was at least somewhat important for the nation to have a space program rights.
After Challenger, the Americans understood that “there is a risk to human spaceflight,” Smith says. “But that was not enough to deter us from continuing our quest for space exploration.”
This tolerance for loss of life is likely to be tested again as long as humans continue to breathe in space, many space experts say.
The problem is that the boats blasting into space are to move from a standstill to 17,000 km / h, the speed necessary to orbit the Earth, “said O’Connor, head of security at NASA. This requires a huge shock and dangerous power. Even private companies now build spaceships cannot avoid the uncomfortable truth.
The ideas for the next generation of manned vehicles continue, in my opinion, high risk, “said O’Connor. “Getting up and back is the hardest thing, and oh, by the way, while you’re there its not so benign is.”
“Spaceflight, such as landing planes on aircraft carriers in the night, is inherently dangerous,” says Terence Finn, a former official of the NASA shuttle. “There will be accidents on the way.”
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