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Previously-Unseen Photos of Challenger Disaster Appear Online 207

Nerval's Lobster writes "Twenty-six photos of the space shuttle Challenger disaster have appeared online. According to io9, "Michael Hindes of West Springfield, MA, was sorting through boxes of his grandparents' old photographs when he happened upon 26 harrowing photos of the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster of 1986. To his knowledge, these photos have never been publicly released." Hindes told the Website that the photographer was "a friend of his grandfather, who worked for NASA as an electrician on the Agency's hulking, spacecraft-schlepping crawler transporters." Someone at Reddit (which also has a lengthy thread devoted to the images) also threw together a GIF of the liftoff and subsequent explosion."
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Previously-Unseen Photos of Challenger Disaster Appear Online

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  • PHB's strike again (Score:5, Informative)

    by alen ( 225700 ) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @03:04PM (#45978495)

    from what i remember the worker bees warned against a launch due to ice and whatever but the bosses said to launch

  • Link to GIF (Score:5, Informative)

    by clinko ( 232501 ) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @03:04PM (#45978501) Journal

    The gif [] is pretty amazing, credit [].

  • The fallen.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @03:18PM (#45978617) Homepage

    Francis R. Scobee, Commander
    Michael J. Smith, Pilot
    Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist
    Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist
    Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist
    Greg Jarvis, Payload Specialist
    Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist

    God speed to all of them....

  • by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @03:44PM (#45978815) Journal

    The freakiest thing was when someone said the crew compartment survived the explosion. It's one thing to die from an explosion--quite another to watch it coming at you in a fall from 48,000 feet.

  • Re:Link to GIF (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @03:59PM (#45978971) Homepage Journal

    Gotta say -- looking at the pics brought back the emotional response I felt at the time. Much more subdued (so may years later), but nonetheless, I felt the shock and dismay and I was back in my parents home watching this unfold on a 19" tube TV.

  • by nharmon ( 97591 ) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:10PM (#45979095)

    There was a great television movie last year about Feynman's involvement in the Rogers Commission. William Hurt plays the part of Feynman and does a magnificent job. []

  • by Ellis D. Tripp ( 755736 ) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:14PM (#45979137) Homepage

    Analysis of the wreckage showed that at least a few of them survived long enough to activate emergency oxygen systems and flip some switches in an attempt to regain control.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:29PM (#45979307)

    Read Wayne Hale's take on it []; he was there:

    The excerpt that sticks with me:

    Jon Harpold was the Director of Mission Operations, my supreme boss as a Flight Director. He had spent his early career in shuttle entry analysis. He knew more about shuttle entry than anybody; the guidance, the navigation, the flight control, the thermal environments and how to control them. After one of the MMTs when possible damage to the orbiter was discussed, he gave me his opinion: "You know, there is nothing we can do about damage to the TPS. If it has been damaged it’s probably better not to know. I think the crew would rather not know. Don’t you think it would be better for them to have a happy successful flight and die unexpectedly during entry than to stay on orbit, knowing that there was nothing to be done, until the air ran out?" I was hard pressed to disagree. That mindset was widespread. Astronauts agreed. So don’t blame an individual; looks for the organizational factors that lead to that kind of a mindset. Don’t let them in your organization.

  • by David Greenberg ( 3502451 ) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:38PM (#45979393)
    Not ice - the warning was that the O rings sealing the joints between sections of the solid rocket boosters would be too stiff in the cold to seal properly and hot combustion gases could leak. That's what happened .
  • by Discopete ( 316823 ) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @05:02PM (#45979609) Homepage

    This is why every mission after Columbia had an 'Abort to ISS' option that would allow the shuttle to dock with ISS and wait for the relief shuttle (which was sitting at a 48 hour to launch stage IIRC) to return them home.

  • by QuantumPion ( 805098 ) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @05:34PM (#45979897)

    The most egregious example of administrator disconnect, as uncovered by Feynman, was the notion that the O-rings had a safety factor of 3 because they were on burned through 1/3 of the way on previous launches:

    Instead of being very concerned that variations of poorly understood conditions might reasonably create a deeper erosion this time, it was asserted, there was "a safety factor of three." This is a strange use of the engineer's term ,"safety factor." If a bridge is built to withstand a certain load without the beams permanently deforming, cracking, or breaking, it may be designed for the materials used to actually stand up under three times the load. This "safety factor" is to allow for uncertain excesses of load, or unknown extra loads, or weaknesses in the material that might have unexpected flaws, etc. If now the expected load comes on to the new bridge and a crack appears in a beam, this is a failure of the design. There was no safety factor at all; even though the bridge did not actually collapse because the crack went only one-third of the way through the beam. The O-rings of the Solid Rocket Boosters were not designed to erode. Erosion was a clue that something was wrong. Erosion was not something from which safety can be inferred.

  • by Talderas ( 1212466 ) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @06:07PM (#45980183)

    February 15th was the date beyond which the survival of the Columbia crew was unlikely due to suffocation.

    A Soyuz has a three person capacity. I don't think Russia had enough lying around waiting to be launched. You're looking at 3, 4, or 7 launches to rescue the entire Columbia crew with Soyuz and they would need to occur in short order. Atmosphere loss from cycling the airlocks would be too great and cause the February 15th survival date to no longer be tenable.

    As for the Atlantis rescue. Me thinks you believe it to be far simpler than it truly was. []

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