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The audacious rescue plan that might have saved space shuttle Columbia

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posted on May, 14 2014 @ 03:11 PM
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I did a title search and didn't find anything. This is an interesting article to read. If you wondered if there might have been a contingency plan to save Columbia, well there could.
Here is a few paragraphs from the article.

"That's the way events actually unfolded. But imagine an alternate timeline for the Columbia mission in which NASA quickly realized just how devastating the foam strike had been. Could the Columbia astronauts have been safely retrieved from orbit?

During the writing of its report, the CAIB had the same question, so it asked NASA to develop a theoretical repair and rescue plan for Columbia "based on the premise that the wing damage events during launch were recognized early during the mission." The result was an absolutely remarkable set of documents, which appear at the end of the report as Appendix D.13. They carry the low-key title "STS-107 In-Flight Options Assessment," but the scenario they outline would have pushed NASA to its absolute limits as it mounted the most dramatic space mission of all time.

NASA planners did have one fortuitous ace in the hole that made the plan possible: while Columbia's STS-107 mission was in progress, Atlantis was already undergoing preparation for flight as STS-114, scheduled for launch on March 1. As Columbia thundered into orbit, the younger shuttle was staged in Orbital Processing Facility 1 (OPF-1) at the Kennedy Space Center. Its three main engines had already been installed, but it didn't yet have a payload or remote manipulator arm in its cargo bay. Two more weeks of refurbishment and prep work remained before it would be wheeled across the space center to the enormous Vehicle Assembly Building and hoisted up for attachment to an external tank and a pair of solid rocket boosters."

arstechnica.com...

What a shame.




posted on May, 14 2014 @ 03:13 PM
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a reply to: liejunkie01

I just turned on the mobile setting on ATS I still have not figured out what icon quotes material from the source. Any advice or suggestions is appreceiated.

Eta... alsoif this article has been posted I apologize. I did a search and it said nomatches found.
edit on 14-5-2014 by liejunkie01 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 14 2014 @ 04:14 PM
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a reply to: liejunkie01
Interesting idea to save a ship from destruction.
However....
Just what if someone on the ship had seen something and was not going to shut up about it?
Wouldn't it be easier to just scrap the whole ship, crew and mission and wrap it in an American flag?
What if everything was not as it seemed?
If there was a "rescue plan", the PTB would have to use it in some cases.
By having no "real" plan, they have...plausible deniability, I think is the phrase?

(Edit)
Since then, just why have we effectively scrapped our space program anyway?
My thought is, we have so much up there that it cannot be compartmentalized.
I sure wish we had a space program again.


edit on 14-5-2014 by g146541 because: we need to boldly go



posted on May, 14 2014 @ 04:16 PM
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a reply to: g146541

Interesting theory.

What information would you be speaking of.



posted on May, 14 2014 @ 04:58 PM
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Well im of the opinion that NASA should have carried on the Gemini capsules as a cheap, reliable crew transport pod like the soyuz, it could have been upgraded over its life styke like the soyuz too keep it modern.

If they had done that they could of had a few resue craft on stanby.


Which is exactly what Russia had planned with there shuttle copy the Buran. If Russia had not gone bankrupt they would of kept the soyuz around and had plans to be able to dock it with the buran.



posted on May, 14 2014 @ 05:20 PM
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a reply to: g146541

Tile damage was not some suddenly-invented excuse for why the shuttle was lost, nor was it shot down by any kind of missile. This was not the first time the shuttle faced potentially catastrophic tile damage, STS-27 took the most tile damage ever seen before prior to Columbia and it survived re-entry despite doubts of the astronauts themselves that they would survive. This helped build a false sense of security, but ultimately it was the failure to recognize that the strike occurred along the leading edge of the wing that doomed the orbiter. Had they inspected the wing using imagery from ground telescopes or spy satellites they would have realized the wound was fatal.

On STS-27 ablative insulating material from one of the SRBs struck the orbiter, severely damaging many tiles along one side. The astronauts inspected the orbiter with the robot arm, and the mission's commander became convinced they were going to die. Because this was a classified DoD mission, there was no television downlink, so mission control had them set up to send an encrypted TV link. The quality wasn't nearly as good as a normal downlink due to the time it took the encryption/decryption process to work, so mission control thought they were just seeing light and shadows. They completely blew the astronauts off. They were VERY lucky to have survived. One of the tiles was completely missing near the nose, but because the metal under that tile was a bit thicker than normal because it served as an anchor point for an antenna, they survived. The metal was partially melted.



"I knew we would start developing a split (between right and left wing elevon positions) if we had excessive drag over on the right side. The automatic system would try to trim it out with the elevons. That is one of the things we always watched on re-entry anyhow, because ... if you had half a degree of trim, something was wrong, you had a bunch of something going on if you had even half a degree. Normally, you wouldn't see even a quarter of a degree of difference on the thing.

"So I knew that that's what I was going to see if it started to go," Gibson said. "And therefore, that told me that I'd have at least 60 seconds to tell mission control what I thought of their analysis."

www.spaceflightnow.com...

I hate to say it, but in hindsight it's not terribly surprising what happened to Columbia, nor was the failure to recognize the seriousness of the problem unique to Columbia's mission. NASA's leadership has a track record of blowing off what they should have recognized as serious concerns, not just with Columbia, not even just with Columbia and Challenger. STS-27 was very nearly an early instance of STS-107. Luck was all that separated the two.



posted on May, 14 2014 @ 06:32 PM
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a reply to: ngchunter
Cool story!
I think none of us can truly know all of the goings on, I mean how do you really examine a lump of slag and charcoal and get the full story.
If I were to fly somewhere, I'd invent something for inspection of the vehicle.
Maybe I'd call it a "pre-flight checklist", then I'd know the vehicle was reasonably safe before going somewhere.
If I could not get out and inspect, I'd use a drone of some sorts.
Especially if the vehicle I was in was worth millions or billions.
Just a cool story is all.



posted on May, 14 2014 @ 06:38 PM
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They knew when ground based radar spotted pieces drifting away from the shuttle in orbit . It was over but that was a one time announcement but we knew.




posted on May, 14 2014 @ 07:00 PM
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The hacker McKinnon showed us that there are other options available to get into space when he found the space corps name list of off-world beings. Others have confirmed that there are black projects to come/go into space and beyond and technology is far advanced from the shuttle and rocket engines.

Of course they could have rescued them from space if they wanted to, but having got the cover of the shuttle program, then they have to use the lower technology to rescue them too. They have backed themselves into a corner until the technology is released in another 20+ years. Sad.

The whole thing is such a farce, it is pathetic really and service men/women & astronauts are the ones who are losing out.



posted on May, 14 2014 @ 08:41 PM
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originally posted by: qmantoo
The hacker McKinnon showed us that there are other options available to get into space when he found the space corps name list of off-world beings.

What makes you think that A) that story is even the truth, B) that we have access to such means of transport (as opposed to an exchange program ala Close Encounters).



posted on May, 14 2014 @ 09:53 PM
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a reply to: ngchunter

In my own personal opinion.

Nasa let those astronauts die.

Just like Challenger. They could have prevented it, but didn't. I honestly think that they knew of the damage and roled the dice. No proof but it is my opinion.



posted on May, 15 2014 @ 12:11 AM
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The shuttle as first planed would have had a Titanium skin on its leading edges with a melting point of 3034 °F
and with the heat tile over that.

Some one at NASA decided that since the tile was so good at taking care of the heat that they could save money by using Aluminum skin with a melting point of 1220.58 °F

This was all long before NASA found out that foam was hitting the shuttle.



posted on May, 15 2014 @ 12:15 PM
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originally posted by: g146541
a reply to: liejunkie01
(Edit)
Since then, just why have we effectively scrapped our space program anyway?


We have not scrapped the space program. Why does this stupid thing keep getting repeated on a site whose motto is "Deny Ignorance"?

The Shuttle does NOT equal the space program.

Manned spaceflight doesn't even equal the space program.

edit on 15-5-2014 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 15 2014 @ 12:21 PM
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originally posted by: JadeStar


Manned spaceflight doesn't even equal the space program.


I think people are just pissed your congress sold your Manned space program out and are now having to rely on a hostile, unpredictable and belligerent nation to play taxi to your astronauts? I would be pissed and would want to know why the freaking hell NASA did not have a shuttle replacement ready in 2011 or better yet why didn't they invest in a cheap Soyuz type craft to do the taxi work leaving the shuttle to do the more delicate complicated work.

Now I know NASA are changing there strategy to do exactly what I said, have a "cheap" taxi capsule like the space X or Boeing designs for orbital taxi work while using the SLS for the heavy work. But its 2 decades to late.

I will go on to say I dont blame NASA itself, but the monkeys in suites in charge. The shuttle alone was a disaster because of meddling outside influences , making unnecessary complex for cold war operations then just dumped on a cut price NASA, like giving a Ferrari to some on on the poverty line, looks good but good luck to them maintaining and running right!
edit on 15-5-2014 by crazyewok because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 15 2014 @ 12:56 PM
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a reply to: ngchunter

I really appreciate the STS-27 insight. I had no idea it was that serious.

My understanding with STS-107 is the DOD offered to let NASA use a spy satellite to check the damage but the request was denied because they determined the strike was not a serious while Columbia was still in orbit.

Growing up on the Spacecoast, I do miss the space shuttle. However I realize how flawed the design was and NASA was extremely lucky to have so many successful missions.



posted on May, 15 2014 @ 02:27 PM
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originally posted by: crazyewok

originally posted by: JadeStar


Manned spaceflight doesn't even equal the space program.


I think people are just pissed your congress sold your Manned space program out and are now having to rely on a hostile, unpredictable and belligerent nation to play taxi to your astronauts? I would be pissed and would want to know why the freaking hell NASA did not have a shuttle replacement ready in 2011 or better yet why didn't they invest in a cheap Soyuz type craft to do the taxi work leaving the shuttle to do the more delicate complicated work.

Now I know NASA are changing there strategy to do exactly what I said, have a "cheap" taxi capsule like the space X or Boeing designs for orbital taxi work while using the SLS for the heavy work. But its 2 decades to late.

I will go on to say I dont blame NASA itself, but the monkeys in suites in charge. The shuttle alone was a disaster because of meddling outside influences , making unnecessary complex for cold war operations then just dumped on a cut price NASA, like giving a Ferrari to some on on the poverty line, looks good but good luck to them maintaining and running right!


I agree. But the future looks bright.

NASA should NEVER have become a spaceline to the ISS. That has nothing to do with exploration or exploitation. Space-X, etc should be doing that and thankfully, they soon will be.



posted on May, 15 2014 @ 02:52 PM
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a reply to: g146541

I believe a rescue mission or attempt would have made for better publicity therefore giving more money to them.

And i also think they should have asked for the public's help, there are a lot of back yard engineers/tinkerers/inventors out in their shed type people out there who could have come up with an idea.


Love and harmony
Whateva



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