The Final Flight Of The Space Shuttle Columbia

1080 words - 5 pages

At 9 a.m. on February 1st, 2003, disaster struck the space shuttle program: Columbia had disintegrated upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere just 16 minutes before it was supposed to land at Kennedy Space Center (National Geographic News par 2-3). The shuttle had been damaged by little more than foam from the external tank but it was enough to make it susceptible to the high temperatures it faced as it descended through the atmosphere. The idea that a space shuttle can endure damage that is unforeseen or unavoidable is well within reason. However, in retrospect it was found that foam strikes were present on most shuttle missions and NASA had a history of diminishing their recognized danger ...view middle of the document...

During launch, a piece of foam from the external fuel tank had dislodged and struck Columbia at over 500 miles per hour, tearing an eight inch diameter section of its heat shield from the leading edge of its left wing (CAIB 60-61). This hole had a negligible effect on the craft until re-entry, where the shuttle’s underbelly is subject to temperatures in excess of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The absence of shielding allowed hot plasma to eat away at the exposed structure, leading to the loss of the left wing. This caused a loss of flight stability followed by disintegration of the entire ship because of aerodynamic forces it was not equipped to handle (McDanels 163). This begs the question, what was known about the strike during the mission?
The foam strike was actually discovered one day after launch, well before re-entry at the end of the 17 day mission. Video from the launch was examined by the Intercenter Photo Working Group, as is done for every shuttle mission. It showed a chunk of foam from the left bipod ramp on the external tank detaching and striking somewhere on the left wing of the orbiter at 81.9 seconds after liftoff, but not much more could be seen. The concern of possible damage that could not be detected from the video footage caused them to request an image of the space shuttle while still in orbit and spurred the creation of a Debris Assessment Team to review the extent of the damage further. There were multiple requests to image the damaged left wing from engineers to the program managers, all of which were rejected. Therefore, the Debris Assessment Team could only use computer simulations, though inadequate, to assess the damage to the shuttle. Still, they concluded that “localized heating damage would most likely occur during re-entry,” although this was not enough to convince the program managers that it was a pressing issue (CAIB 38).
Considering the amount of work and technical difficulties involved with sending manned spacecraft with many tons of payload into orbit, the dismissal of any damage during a mission implies such damage has been experienced before and is well understood. In fact, damage from foam...

Other Papers Like The Final Flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia

When the King Took Flight Essay

714 words - 3 pages When The King Took Flight There are many events that happened in history that makes the world how it is today. Many people don’t realize that society has changed dramatically from the 17th century to now. In those days they dealt with a different type of government system, (monarchy) in which the king is in control of the government. Some kings are great in which they run their country well and have the respect of those around them and

The Space Race Essay

705 words - 3 pages HIST101-1304B-10 Modern American History 1950 to the 21st Century The Space Race The Space Race began on October 4, 1957 when the Soviet Union launched a satellite into space named Sputnik. This satellite began its journey attached to a Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Sputnik was the first piece of man made equipment ever sent into orbit around the Earth. The launch of Sputnik showed the United States that they were

The Space Race

878 words - 4 pages John F Kennedy’s speech at Rice University and thus “The Space Race” had begun. In that speech, John F Kennedy stated “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” JFK RICE MOON SPEECH. (n.d.). The space race ignited America’s competitive spirit. The space race between the two world powers changed humanity with breaking the limits of

The Importance Of “FlOw” In The Museum Space

2752 words - 12 pages The Importance of "flOw" in the Museum SpaceIn late 2012, video games took a large leap towards validation as an artistic medium. New York city's Museum of Modern Art chose a collection of video games that exemplified uniquenesses within the medium and exhibited them within the "Applied Design" gallery space for museum patrons. One of these games, "flOw" by artist Jenova Chen of "That Game Company" is a forward thinking, minimalist approach to

Crisis Communication and the Case Study of Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight Mh370

2521 words - 11 pages CRISIS COMMUNICATION AND THE CASE STUDY OF MISSING MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT MH370 I. Literature review In a ‘vulnerable’ society that has been easily affected by many different types of crises such as natural and man-made disasters, in disregard of where you live and what you do, no community or organization is immune from crisis. In order to provide clear definitions and deeper understanding crises of all types, scholars have

Final Project: the Importance of It Certifications

605 words - 3 pages Final Project: The Importance of IT Certifications Carlos C Page Kaplan University CM107-80 The Importance of IT Certifications Certifications are internationally acknowledged means of establishing as well as assessing the required set of qualifications essential for a job. They are hard indication that you are knowledgeable enough to perform the tasks assigned (or could be assigned in the future) to you. At the

Was the Space Race Worth the Cost?

633 words - 3 pages Was the space race worth the cost? The Space Race was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US) for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, the Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national security and symbolic of technological and ideological superiority. The Space Race involved

Space Travel in the Year 2012

582 words - 3 pages Space Travel We have entered the era of space travel. Men who will first land on the moon are already among us. Time is not far off when we will travel to other planets as we travel now to other countries. Gagarin, Titov, Sheppard, and others have already proved that it is possible to cross the limit of the gravity of the earth and travel anywhere in space. In order to escape the gravitational pull of the earth, a speed of at least seven miles

Wood floor or will become the trend of low carbon situation has a better development space

754 words - 4 pages market, the growth of wood plastic composite materials and manufactured goods there is a considerable space, is expected to domestic wood plastic composite materials market in recent years production will be more than one million tons, the output value of more than 10 billion yuan, and the formation of new wood plastic composite products system.[url=]Above ground pool

The Final Verdict

553 words - 3 pages The Final Verdict The end result of the criminal justice system is the punishment handed down to a convicted criminal. Ethics are an important part of the decision making process for those parties involved in prosecuting and punishing suspected criminals. The aforementioned parties include agencies such as local police, federal law enforcement agencies, district attorneys' offices, and judges. Local police and federal agents need to

Requirements for the Final Report

2019 words - 9 pages Requirements for the final report The final report should contain the following structural elements and needs to be organised in a similar fashion: * Cover * Title Page * Preface * Table of Contents * Executive Summary * Explanation of Terms/List of Symbols or Abbreviations (if applicable) * 1 Introduction * 2 Chapter’s title* (your final report may contain more chapters) * 3 Chapter’s title * 4

Related Essays

The History Of Flight Essay

590 words - 3 pages first U.S. satellite.April 12, 1961: Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union becomes the first man in space and the first person to orbit Earth.Feb. 20, 1962: John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit Earth.July 20, 1969: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon.Jan. 21, 1976: The Concorde, the first commercial supersonic jet, takes off.April 12, 1981: NASA launches the space shuttle Columbia. It is the first shuttle to fly into orbit.Dec. 17, 2003: The 100th anniversary of flight. There are approximately 250 airlines, more than 19,000 airports and 55,000 general aviation pilots today in the USA.

Restructuring The Goals Of Education In The District Of Columbia

953 words - 4 pages The District of Columbia faces an issue that has been a plague throughout the United States, a poor education structure. The heart and soul of a community is often centered around children, the majority of whom attend public schools. It is no surprise then that if a school system is failing so too are the neighborhoods around it. Revitalizing anything may take a generation, but it all starts with an adequate education. The questions that need to

Black Holes: The Epic Mystery Of Space

1433 words - 6 pages Professor Bodus Astronomy Matthew Ryan Scott December 6th, 2015 Black Holes: The Epic Mystery of Space Black Holes: The Epic Mystery of Space The one aspect of space that provides a sort of horror element to the universe, to me, has always been the Black Hole. There is a very deep mystery surrounding Black Holes, and that uncertainty is very scary. Last year, my wife and I sat down on a Friday night, with pizza, and began watching the

The Importance Of Human Relations During Flight Operations

1542 words - 7 pages The Importance of Human Relations During Flight Operations William Moore Human Relations in Business MSC-102 Michael Aubry 10 May 2014 Table of Contents Introduction ……………………………………………………………. Page 3 Motivation ……………………………………………………………… Page 3 Communication ………………………………………………………… Page 5 Leadership ……………………………………………………………… Page 6 Conclusion ……………………………………………………………… Page 7 Works Cited …………………………………………………………….. Page 9