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Originally posted by wildespace
People on the ground didn't hear an explosion, for them the sound of the rockets simply stopped.
Seconds prior to the disintegration, strong winds pushed the Shuttle off course, and the main Shuttle engines worked frantically to correct the course. This is often overlooked, but it undoubtly contributed to the disaster. Had there been no such wind shear, the O-ring might have held until SRBs were spent and discarded.
edit on 1-10-2012 by wildespace because: (no reason given)