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#1 The Macallan

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 01:13 PM

30 years ago today...just remembering

 

 

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."

- RR

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=gEjXjfxoNXM

 

 

 

I was almost 16, living in Queens, hanging outside with friends. Wasn't in school...may have been a snow day or exams or something. Neighbor stuck his head out the window and yelled, 'the space shuttle just exploded'. We all retreated to our homes to watch the coverage.   :(


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#2 Pariah Dawg

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 01:40 PM

I was 13, home sick from school and watching I Dream of Jeannie reruns on TV, when the news cut in.

OP beat me to pasting Reagan's address but it's worth repeating. True leadership that would be lambasted today for the mere mention of God *gasp*.



Ladies and gentlemen, I'd planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans.

Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.

Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we've never lost an astronaut in flight; we've never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.

For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, "Give me a challenge, and I'll meet it with joy." They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us. We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.

I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: "Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it."

There's a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and an historian later said, "He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it." Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete.

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
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#3 Soddy

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 02:34 PM

I walked into ninth grade Spanish class and our teacher told us. I had actually forgotten the launch was that day until I heard the news - I knew it had been postponed previously and figured it would happen again.

 

Where I lived, one of the city's high school science teachers had been shortlisted for the Teacher in Space program. I'm not sure where he ranked but I can only imagine what he was thinking at the time.


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#4 Slim

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 03:16 PM

Doesn't seem so long since the last Challenger thread (not intended as a criticism at all) - I guess that must have been the occasion of the 25th anniversary.

 

I came home from Uni in the late afternoon, and my Mum had the telly on. One of those news events that takes over one of the BBC channels for hours.

 

I'm afraid my predominant memory is of the faces of the parents of the teacher woman, turned upward and straining to see what had happened in the first minute after the explosion, clearly fearing the worst. Horribly intrusive journalism.



#5 Slim

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 03:16 PM

I like that speech by Reagan, but yes the reference to "God" does detract from its dignity somewhat.



#6 GhostWriter

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 03:20 PM

Didn't someone here (or in previous board iterations) use to have a large tribute site to the Challenger that they'd post and update every year?


It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion.

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#7 Always the Winner

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 03:48 PM

I like that speech by Reagan, but yes the reference to "God" does detract from its dignity somewhat.


Does not.

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#8 grep

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 03:52 PM

Not particularly religious myself, but I do like the 'touched the face of god' line. It speaks to those who DO believe, and frankly it sounds very ... what's the right word? Poetic?

 

A reference to God doesn't hurt anyone.


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#9 Slim

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 04:55 PM

No, it didn't hurt anyone. Anyway it's a subjective consideration which has an obvious appeal to some and an obvious objection for others, neither of which we need explore here.



#10 Slim

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 05:01 PM

I'm reminded of the speech that was written for Nixon, to be read in the event that Armstrong and Aldrin were stranded on the Moon, most probably by a failure of the lunar module's ascent engine. The slightly chilling thing about it (I find) is that it would have been delivered while they were still alive.

 

 

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

 

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

 

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

 

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

 

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

 

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

 

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

 

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.



#11 The Macallan

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 05:26 PM

Wow, creepy. 


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#12 Schmoo

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 06:28 PM

I was in a 5th grade class in a private school. We listened to the radio all afternoon. Very memorable.

#13 Hemisfears

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 06:47 PM

I had just arrived home from some morning classes at a local junior college and my Mom was watching the TV in shock.

 

They showed a replay of the failed launch and then the parents of the schoolteacher that died up there.

 

I felt terrible watching that and the memories come back as I type this.


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#14 Slim

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 07:39 PM

A Facebook friend (of this parish, in fact) made the point a few weeks ago that we view death very differently depending on the circumstances.

 

The essential tragedy here is that seven people died. But about 1700 people were killed in road accidents in the UK just last year. The attention surrounding the circumstances and the fact of the tragedy occurring in the glare of the world's media can appear to magnify the sense of loss; make it more personal and therefore somehow more real and more tragic. But of course that's an illusion.



#15 The Macallan

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 08:58 PM

It is unfortunately true…even in the context of the two shuttle disasters. The anniversary of the destruction of shuttle Columbia is in a few days. Seven people also lost their lives, yet this date is far less “celebrated” than Challenger’s date. Challenger’s crew was lost in front of our eyes. Columbia’s crew perished in the atmosphere and by the time the cameras captured the shuttle, it was already in pieces falling back to earth. 


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#16 grep

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 09:53 PM

 Columbia’s crew perished in the atmosphere and by the time the cameras captured the shuttle, it was already in pieces falling back to earth. 

 

Not necc true.  I've read that the crew compartment was intact until it hit the water. They may well have been alive, blacked out perhaps, but alive almost all the way down.


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#17 MrSkeptic

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 10:29 PM

I was sitting in our office area which was a pre-fab room built in a hanger at Wright/Patterson AFB, and all of a sudden the door was flung open, our section chief stuck his head in and nearly shouted, "The space shuttle blew up". We immediately turned on the TV, even though it wasn't supposed to be on except at lunch or during non-duty hours, and watched until we had to go back to work.

 

As we know now, that was just the very beginning of days/weeks of coverage. As for the crew, I'm pretty sure the official report says there were strong indications they were alive until their compartment hit the ocean. But, as already said, the experts don't know if they were conscious or not. Hopefully not.  


They said I could be anything, so I became a disappointment.

 

 


#18 The Macallan

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 10:37 PM

Not necc true.  I've read that the crew compartment was intact until it hit the water. They may well have been alive, blacked out perhaps, but alive almost all the way down.

 

That's just a horrible thought. I guess visually is what I was going for...we didn't see the Columbia shuttle fully disintegrate


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#19 Slim

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 11:29 PM

Wikipedia has this photo, taken by a tracking camera, showing the crew cabin intact in the moments after the disintegration:

 

Challenger_breakup_cabin.jpg

 

At least some of the crew were likely alive and at least briefly conscious after the breakup, as the four recovered Personal Egress Air Packs (PEAPs) on the flight deck were found to have been activated.[26] Investigators found their remaining unused air supply consistent with the expected consumption during the 2 minute 45 second post-breakup trajectory.

 

While analyzing the wreckage, investigators discovered that several electrical system switches on Pilot Mike Smith's right-hand panel had been moved from their usual launch positions. Fellow astronaut Richard Mullane wrote, "These switches were protected with lever locks that required them to be pulled outward against a spring force before they could be moved to a new position." Later tests established that neither force of the explosion nor the impact with the ocean could have moved them, indicating that Smith made the switch changes, presumably in a futile attempt to restore electrical power to the cockpit after the crew cabin detached from the rest of the orbiter.[27]

 

Whether the crew members remained conscious long after the breakup is unknown, and largely depends on whether the detached crew cabin maintained pressure integrity. If it did not, the time of useful consciousness at that altitude is just a few seconds; the PEAPs supplied only unpressurized air, and hence would not have helped the crew to retain consciousness. If, on the other hand, the cabin was not depressurized or only slowly depressurizing, they may have been conscious for the entire fall until impact. Recovery of the cabin found that the middeck floor had not suffered buckling or tearing, as would result from a rapid decompression, thus providing some evidence that the depressurization may have not happened all at once.

 

https://en.wikipedia...lenger_disaster


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#20 Greg

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 02:38 AM

I was 19, almost 20, and had taken this semester off and was working at Dan Patrick's Sports Bar in Houston just before I moved to Austin a few months later.  Was watching it live on an enormous projection screen.  It was a terrible, sinking feeling.  I can see it still in my mind today.  Ugh...






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