View Full Version : Discussion: Please Read the Report

2003-Sep-15, 07:59 PM
SUMMARY: Since it was released yesterday, I've had a chance to read most of the Columbia Accident Investigation Report (I'm a little sleepy), not just because I'm supposed to, but because it's a great read. Seriously, this is one of the best written books about the current state of human spaceflight that I've ever seen. It delves into the history of the space shuttle and the culture of NASA. Most of what you read on the web and in print about the shortcomings of human spaceflight is very 1-dimensional, but this report has a very comprehensive discussion about the unfair constraints placed on NASA, shortcomings of the shuttle's design and the agency's own distorted culture.

Don't wait for me to give you an analysis, read the report with your own eyeballs and brain. It gets a little technical in Chapter 3 where it provides evidence on how foam destroyed the shuttle, but even that has been done with the non-technical person in mind. The recommendations in this report are going to have wide-ranging implications about the future of spaceflight, and will likely shake up NASA, the space shuttle program, and many other aspects of space exploration. This report could cause the US to turn its back on space exploration (although, Bush just said it won't), or return to the challenge with renewed energy and vision.

Here's a link to that page that contains the report.

Then, come join me and other Universe Today readers as we discuss this in the forum. I'll warn you up front, though, I'm going to be nagging everyone to read the report. Read it!

Fraser Cain
Universe Today

Comments or questions about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts.

2003-Sep-16, 01:44 AM
Fraser, can you please put a hyperlink in here for the report? ta

2003-Sep-16, 02:32 AM
nevermind .. found it myself ... and here it is for everyone else...


2003-Sep-17, 03:54 AM
Okay, I have a question ... I'm sure this is just terminology I've not encountered before but ...
"Flight Day 7, Wednesday, January 22
Both teams took a half day off. MEIDEX tracked thunder-storms over central Africa and captured images of four sprites and two elves as well as two rare images of meteoroids enter-ing Earth's atmosphere. Payload experiments continued in SPACEHAB, with no further temperature complications."

elves and sprites? what are they? I'm going to assume for now they they aren't really "elves" or "sprites".

2003-Sep-17, 03:59 AM
okay .. nevermind ... i've done a search and found the answer ...

"Sprites and elves are the names given to lightning bolts that extend upward, above the thunderstorm, several miles into space. This phenomenon was one of the many things studied by the astronauts on board the ill-fated Columbia."

cool stuff.

I'm having a lovely conversation here by myself...

2003-Sep-17, 04:01 AM
okay ... here's one i can't find the answer to.

"Flight Day 13, Tuesday, January 28
...The crew, along with ground support personnel, observed a moment of silence to honor the memory of the men and women of Apollo 1 and Challenger..."

Was there a reason for this being done on this mission or is this done on all flights?

2003-Sep-17, 06:34 AM
You sure are... wow. I don't know about that moment of silence. I wonder if they did that on every flight. It would make sense.

2003-Sep-19, 07:25 AM
anyway to find out about that moment of silence? ta

Also, the sensors that failed and the order that they failed in seems odd. The image of their location (sensors 1-4) is a little off putting perhaps in terms of depth but ... sensor 1 was the second to fail. It began reading problematic measurements @ EI+270 and failed @ EI+495. Sensor 4 is the closest sensor to sensor 1 but didn't begin to read any problem unitl EI+425 (about 2.5 minutes later). then failed quickly by comparison @ EI+525. Sensor 1, 2 and 3 failed within 10 seconds of each other while sensor 4 failed about half a minute later in spite of it's proximity to sensor 1. what's more comparitively, sensors 1, 2 and 3 are all realtively far away compared to sensor 1 and 4. odd... any answer to how this could happen would be nice... think that can be tracked down?

2003-Sep-19, 04:26 PM
I'll ask NASA. I've still got a question in about Galileo, but I'll try someone different this time.

2003-Sep-20, 01:21 AM
I'll sit here refreshing the page and wait. Molto grazi!