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Destruction of Columbia STS-107: A Terrorist Plot, and Cover Up?

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posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 09:51 AM
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The ATS thread located here provoked me to starting a separate thread on the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia.

February 1st, 2008 will be the five-year anniversary of this sad event.

I've always thought that a terrorist plot, never revealed by the USA government, destroyed Columbia STS-107.

I've discussed this several times with a friend at NASA, and he finds my suggestion absurd, and even offensive. However, there are several indicators that lead me to believe that this was actually a terrorist plot, and I will stick to that opinion. My reasons are as follows:

#

#1. Columbia carried the first Israeli passenger, which made this particular mission a highly desirable target. The destruction of Columbia would have been a powerful statement by any Islamic terrorist group.

#2. Within minutes of Columbia crashing, NASA said emphatically that this was not the result of terrorism (and how would they really know at that point?) All discussion of this possibility was summarily dismissed by NASA and the media.

#3. I know for a fact: security is very superficial at Kennedy Space Center. Yeah – you need a badge to get in. But keep in mind, one of the principle things that KSC does is assemble subcontracted components, and one of the principle ways they test components, before they are integrated, is that they weigh them carefully. Pretty superficial.

#

My theory – someone replaced a key component of the landing gear with plastic explosives – maybe something as simple as a bolt or washer. See here for some support of this theory.

This is not a new theory, of course. But I think the topic deserves a lot more due diligence. I hate the fact that NASA hasn’t provided that. The theory of foam insulation, as the root cause for Columbia’s destruction, has never been proven to my satisfaction, and seems very weak.




posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 10:14 AM
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Of course it is entirely possible - and good evidence either way would be very hard to find.

But in my mind the NASA explanation does seem pretty good on this one (I know they are a very clever bunch - and as a whole the great unwashed arn't) but it really was / is a matter of time before that particular ad hoc piece of engineering went wrong. So to me a conspiracy would lie in the corner cutting.



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 10:15 AM
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I am guessing your research did not extend to the security that NASA has in place to prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing things like the shuttle?

You might want to look into that before proceeding with your "theory." You would have to prove that someone (or someones) was alone with the shuttle long enough to take out major components and replace them with explosives with no one noticing them.



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 10:50 AM
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Originally posted by COOL HAND
I am guessing your research did not extend to the security that NASA has in place to prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing things like the shuttle?

Good question, Cool Hand. Let me discuss a bit further why I think my fears about possible sabotage of STS-107 are reasonable.

#

Keep in mind that NASA’s main job at Kennedy Space Center is to assemble the space shuttle from ready-to-integrate parts, shipped to the site by subcontractors. Virtually no manufacturing actually takes place at KSC. A huge amount of the detailed work occurs offsite.

What I know is as follows:

#1. Large components, including major subsystems, are tested at the subcontractor site, under supervision of NASA. This constitutes the major part of the component acceptance procedures.

#2. The components are shipped to KSC, where they are carefully reinspected. I imagine this is also done under extremely tight security, but I don't know the details on this.

#3. Some of this inspection is more rigorous than you would expect, including use of scanning electron microscopes to look for material flaws. As I say -- I know the components are meticulously weighted. Other parts of the inspection seem less rigorous. I imagine that NASA works off a long and painful checklist of items.

#4. Once the components are inspected they are assembled and integrated by trained technicians, and NOBODY is permitted to do that without a very high clearance. At this point, everybody is watching everyone else. All work is done in teams.

#

The weak part of the process appears to be item #1 above. At the subcontractor, security can be more lax. Obviously, the reality is that you can't completely disassemble and reassemble all components during test.

One more note, to boost my credibility here: I have personally worked for a NASA subcontractor (Okay, it was more software than hardware, so it may not apply.) Given that, the security at that subcontractor site was very casual. No security clearance was required by me or anyone else working on the project.

So the bottom line is, I don't think the parts were tampered with while at Kennedy Space Center. It would have to take place at the subcontractor. I think that is a reasonable fear.



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:00 AM
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The insiders at NASA knew the day after launch that the shuttle would never return. They had seen the piece of carbon composite float away on radar. I knew they were doomed from that point on and told several people. Upper management knew it and kept it to themselves and hoped for the best.


mikell



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:00 AM
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Originally posted by Buck DivisionSo the bottom line is, I don't think the parts were tampered with while at Kennedy Space Center. It would have to take place at the subcontractor. I think that is a reasonable fear.


So what piece, specifically, of the orbiter do you think they were able to replace without anyone noticing?

How do you explain the burn through pattern on the leading edge of the wing?



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:06 AM
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Originally posted by mikellmikell
The insiders at NASA knew the day after launch that the shuttle would never return. They had seen the piece of carbon composite float away on radar. I knew they were doomed from that point on and told several people. Upper management knew it and kept it to themselves and hoped for the best.


mikell


What?

They did not even show the video with the foam falling off until a few days later. There was no way to see it live.

Upper management found out about it when they reviewed the tape and saw the piece fall off. They briefed the crew on it and, incorrectly, assumed the piece of foam did not hit a vital area. Almost every previous launch had foam falling off and hitting the shuttle with varying degrees of damage.

Heck the crew even discussed it with reporters a few days before the landing.



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:09 AM
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reply to post by COOL HAND
 


Well I could hypothetically answer that - possibly not with explosives. Instead the bonding of the tiles could of some how of been altered - I'm no chemist... but the tiles receive a hell of a lot of heat energy, but only on re-entry, how hard would it be to make sure the bonding failed at a given temperature? thus accounting for burn through pattern and the subsequent structural failures.

But I'm still of the opinion it was an accident ~ don't terrorist's love to claim there successful attacks, and keep quiet about the unsuccessful ones?

Ed: sp

[edit on 24/1/2008 by Now_Then]



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:29 AM
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Originally posted by COOL HAND
So what piece, specifically, of the orbiter do you think they were able to replace without anyone noticing? How do you explain the burn through pattern on the leading edge of the wing?


Hmm. You want me to commit to some details, eh? Okay, I will go out on a limb here with specifics (all of which is really speculation, but perhaps credible enough.)

Specifically, I think they were able to replace a component in the landing gear, which is an item that is always refurbished after any shuttle launch.

At the subcontractor site, someone might have replaced a washer or a nut, in a replacement part, with explosive material. (This might have permitted a functional test to pass, and might have been very difficult to detect during an inspection, since the tampered part was obscurely buried in a large subsystem component that was replaced as a whole.)

When ST-106 re-entered, the landing gear popped under the heat. This was not a catastrophic explosion, but it was sufficient to knock off tiles and change the aerodynamics of the shuttle. The heat damage from re-entry doomed Columbia after that.

Here is the lead article I mentioned in my OP that suggests to me this is a possible senario:


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- One of three sensors on Columbia's left-hand landing gear possibly indicated the device had begun to deploy 26 seconds before all contact was lost with the shuttle.


See here for the full article.


The main thrust I want to make here is that tampering (whatever it might have been) was unreasonably dismissed by NASA as a possible reason for Columbia's destruction, perhaps because they didn't want to appear sloppy or unsecure -- both of which are big realities, in my opinion.

It sounds (a bit) like you are arguing that NASA is not capable of implementing a cover up? If that is the case, I will argue that vigorously!


(Edit: trying to fix some bad grammer.)

[edit on 24-1-2008 by Buck Division]



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:51 AM
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Originally posted by Now_Then
reply to post by COOL HAND
 

But I'm still of the opinion it was an accident ~ don't terrorist's love to claim there successful attacks, and keep quiet about the unsuccessful ones?

Good point Now_Then. But I would submit that terrorists actually DID claim it was an attack.

The claim was dismissed. There is always a terrorist willing to claim responsibility for any disaster, be it train wreck, bridge collapse, etc.

There would be a real desire to dismiss this because (1) it would be a horrible failure of USA security and (2) it would distract us from the war in Iraq. NASA would be pleased to cooperate with a cover up like that, especially if it was directed from the very top.

Finally, it would be very easy to steer the investigation to something else, such as foam hitting the shuttle, which was already on the existing list of worries. It would be hard to dispute this as a root cause, once NASA made this the "official" explanation.

Why did NASA immediately declare this was not a terrorist attack, moments after the disintegration of Columbia? How could they have possibly known, without an investigation?



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 12:05 PM
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Just one more useful link, to illustrate how susceptible to sabotage NASA actually is:


NASA reported an act of sabotage aiming for the launch of the ISS this fall, as a computer was deliberately damaged by a space program worker, who knew that it was heading for the station via the shuttle Endeavour. ...The worker was not employed directly by the space agency, but for a NASA subcontractor.


Full article is here.

The article goes on to say that there was no real risk, because the damage was "obvious". This leads me to ask what would have happened if the damage was not obvious at all? Might NASA have not discovered this sabotage in time?

Note in the article: the subcontractor also makes gauges that are used in the shuttle’s wings and no signs of further tampering having been found so far. (So it looks like they are double checking for further sabotage -- but isn't that routine? I guess not.)



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 12:18 PM
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hi there,

i have read the other thread and now this one.

interesting theory, you may be interested in this video that show it coming in across the various states, it show footage of it breaking up well before most people think it did.

here is the video:

www.liveleak.com...

it is all real footage apart from a few seconds of animation to show path, it also features original NASA audio linked in with a 3 second delay to the video footage.

hope this helps

snoopyuk



[edit on 24-1-2008 by snoopyuk]



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 05:01 PM
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See the Government Report, dated Feb 28th, 2003, Columbia: Quick Facts and Issues for Congress PDF file, excerpt below:


Because of the threat of terrorism, and the presence of an Israeli astronaut on the mission, questions have arisen as to whether the loss of Columbia could be attributed to terrorism. At this time government officials have stressed that there is no evidence that the tragedy could have been caused by terrorists. They point out, for example, that surface-to-air missiles cannot reach the altitude where the shuttle broke apart.


Of course a ground based SAM isn’t going to be able to reach the space shuttle. That is clearly ridiculous.

But consider: They admit, without qualification, that there existed a threat of terrorism. So why isn’t the possibility of sabotage explicitly mentioned? This seems extraordinarily lame to me.

To me its like saying "Yeah -- we knew this guy was getting death threats, but there was no blood, so we figure he expired of natural causes." Not very thorough -- especially for a report to Congress, huh?

I just don’t get it. It looks like they are ignoring (and redirecting) the question sabotage. In light of my previous article, why was this possibility not investigated?

Or was it investigated and they found something that we haven’t been told?



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 10:56 PM
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Originally posted by COOL HAND
I am guessing your research did not extend to the security that NASA has in place to prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing things like the shuttle?

You might want to look into that before proceeding with your "theory." You would have to prove that someone (or someones) was alone with the shuttle long enough to take out major components and replace them with explosives with no one noticing them.



Uh... Have you ever been there? The Security isn't that strong.



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:10 PM
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Buck i think you hit the nail on the head.

A terrorist plot, perhaps carried out by Leprose introverts.



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:44 PM
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Originally posted by i44ac
Buck i think you hit the nail on the head. A terrorist plot, perhaps carried out by Leprose introverts.

Yeah, Yeah. What can you do? What is this going to accomplish? Bring the Columbia astronauts back to life? Restore America's space exploration program? End terrorism? I know I'm being a troll on this subject. There isn't going to be any satisfaction gained. But I'm dredging it up anyway.

Thanks for the comment. Deny ignorance. Good night.



posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 04:44 AM
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I've always thought that a terrorist plot, never revealed by the USA government, destroyed Columbia STS-107.


A couple of questions:

1. Which terrorist organisation do you think did it? CIA, MI5, Mossad or other?


2. Why do you think the US government would cover up an act of terrorism?

Just curious



posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 10:12 AM
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Originally posted by Quazga
Uh... Have you ever been there? The Security isn't that strong.


Uh...yes.

Have you ever tried to get into the OPF without authorization? Good Luck with that.



posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 11:03 AM
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Originally posted by cornixman
A couple of questions:


#1. Who was responsible?

That is what I would like to know. I don’t think an attack like this could possibly originate from the main offices of some government organization. That doesn't seem possible to me, because too many people watch each other. However, I won’t reject the possibility that rogue members of CIA or Mossad were responsible. (Their obvious motive: to further provoke the USA to expand the war in the Middle East.) It might be Al Qaeda as well, of course. Or perhaps this was caused a small and unknown, perverse domestic USA group? Maybe a single sociopath? My main point: you and I have no possible way of knowing, because we are not being told the full truth.

#2. Why do you think the US government would cover up an act of terrorism?

I think I can answer that with a single word: control! This is the reason that so many lies are told -- lying is an effective control mechanism. The Bush administration (who may very well know the truth right now) would not want to have Americans lose confidence in the President's ability to protect the population. Also, Bush might rationalize that he wanted to prevent the "theatre" of terrorism, which might encourage further attacks. Also, NASA would not want to reveal their poor security and be accused of ineptness. Finally, some people in high government might rationalize it as not wanting to scare the masses, increase violence, and risk further escalation of the Iraqi war.

Good questions!

(Edited to fix quote marks.)

[edit on 25-1-2008 by Buck Division]



posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 11:24 AM
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Originally posted by Quazga
Have you ever been there? The Security isn't that strong.
Originally posted by COOL HAND
Have you ever tried to get into the OPF without authorization? Good Luck with that.


I don't want to imply that NASA is totally negligent with their security. But Cool Hand -- admit that NASA itself is not a military base. And admit that security is more than guards and badges. You have all sorts of opportunities for "man in the middle" attacks, just by the nature of what KSC does.

#1. NASA, and their subcontractors, do not routinely encrypt all communications. You can pick up any phone in any offices and dial anywhere, or browse ATS from your NASA desktop, or send e-mail without checks.

#2. NASA, and their subcontractors, do not routinely use biometrics to identify their employees, and I am not sure how easy it would be to fake a NASA identity card or badges, or impersonate a NASA employee.

#3. NASA security clearances (when they are required) are not as rigourous as military security clearances, and don't require the extensive background checks needed to work on military weapon systems.

#4. No psychological profile is required to work for NASA, or a subcontractor, or any significant background checks of relatives or associates. I am not sure that they require routine drug tests

Please tell me if I am wrong about any of the above points, Cool Hand. I am not 100% sure about the above, and am working a bit from hearsay. I really appreciate your participation in this thread. It sounds like you have some great experience and authority to clarify things



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