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Subject: 30 years ago - Challenger disaster rss

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Alex
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30 years ago, Challenger shuttle was launched and exploded seventy seconds after taking off.

Although I was a bit young, this event has shocked me and still does today.

Here is my humble attempt to pay a tribute to the people who lost their lives in this tragic accident.



edit: resized image
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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I was out cold in a hospital when it happened. I'd been in a bad accident and was lucky to live. My father was away at the time. When he called, my mother asked if he had heard about the accident. He thought she meant the Challenger and just said it was a terrible shame. My mother was not happy with that response and let my father know it.
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Dave Daffin
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The card is a nice tribute.

The accident was the lead item on the news when I got home from work that night in 1986. As a keen follower of the space programme, it came as a great shock. It brought home the fact that the Shuttle was essentially still just a test vehicle at that time, the 25th flight of a shuttle.

I was lucky enough to visit the Arlington cemetery a few years ago, and found the grave of the Challenger astronauts Dick Scobee and Michael Smith, as they were former military personnel.
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Haytil Reivesman
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Nice card. It's actually quite powerful, situationally, in Russian hands - headlining this, followed by a coup and Terrorism can really screw the Americans over if they have "We Will Bury You." Perhaps a slightly more balanced gametext would be "US Space Race attempts never advance on the track during this turn" or "US may only make one Space Race attempt during this turn" - that way, the US doesn't completely lose their safety valve? Of course, I may be overthinking this.

I don't have any Challenger stories, as I was fairly young. But I remember much later when Columbia crashed. I woke up that morning and the first thing my mother said to me was "Did you see the news? A spaceship crashed."

Her use of the word "spaceship" was odd, and so immediately I widened my eyes in shock. My first thought was "Wow, finally - there's no way the government can cover this up now. Public acknowledgement of a crashed UFO and alien life is inevitable!" Sadly, that excitement soon gave way to sobering reality, as she clarified her statement.
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Jim Ransom
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"The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools." -- Thucydides, 5th century BC
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Very nicely done.

The loss of Challenger and her brave crew is another of those events in my life that I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and how I reacted and felt when I learned of it.
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Alex
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haytil wrote:
It's actually quite powerful, situationally, in Russian hands - headlining this, followed by a coup and Terrorism can really screw the Americans over if they have "We Will Bury You." Perhaps a slightly more balanced gametext would be "US Space Race attempts never advance on the track during this turn" or "US may only make one Space Race attempt during this turn" - that way, the US doesn't completely lose their safety valve? Of course, I may be overthinking this.


Historicaly, the Challenger disaster had a very profound effect. NASA was terribly ermbarrassed and suspended its space program for almost 3 years. I wanted to reflect this in the card text.

Would it play well? I do not know...


jpr755 wrote:
The loss of Challenger and her brave crew is another of those events in my life that I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and how I reacted and felt when I learned of it.


Same for me. I was in school back then. Since a teacher was to be on board, our own teacher spent some time talking about it prior to the day of the launch. Needless to say we spent even more time talking about it afterwards.
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Mark Raciborski
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Wow, 30 years, doesn't seem like it. Remember well being home, schools closed, snow storm, couldn't go to work, watching TV.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.

Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But, we've never lost an astronaut in flight; we've never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle; but they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.

For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, 'Give me a challenge and I'll meet it with joy.' They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.

We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.

I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: "Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it."

There's a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, 'He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.' Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete.

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honoured us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'

Thank you.

President Ronald Reagan - January 28, 1986"
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Warren Davis
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I was in the school cafeteria eating lunch when the disaster happened. I am in Jacksonville, so, like many others that day, I was close enough to look out the window and see the twin plumes of smoke as they split apart. The cafeteria went silent, and as this was a Catholic school, we spent a fair amount of time in Mass afterwards. I feel that kick in the gut even now.
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pacemaker 67
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(note: although it may seem to be, this is not a story about me)

I was in an large Electrical Engineering Class in Champaign, Illinois when the news was announced in the huge lecture hall. Lots of muttering and crassness about the screw-up engineers.. blah blah blah. None of us would never cause such a problem.

It wasn't until that fall that I truly understood.

"Fooking Boolsheet."

I was in an upper level EE class, being taught by a visiting professor from somewhere in Eastern Europe. I sat in the back of the class, usually sleeping. I was a cocky Sophomore taking classes with Seniors and grad students. Whenever we got tests back, she'd first post the high and low score and the average. She'd then hand them out at the front of the class as stack with the high score on top. People would grab their test and pass the stack back.

I always got stares, because mine was always on top. 100 each and every test.

3/4 of the way through the semester, I took a test and knew right afterwards that I made a sign error on one of the problems.

When the tests were handed back, mine was not in there. The high was reported as a 79, and the average was 60 (close to usual). In front of the class, the professor asked to speak to me in her office before I could have my test back. Murmurings from the crowd...."I knew it. He must be cheating..."

Fucking bullshit. Where is my test. Who is this bitch to leave me hanging like that?

I went to meet her.

"It is assholes like you that caused the Challenger to explode. It is assholes like you...." as she handed me my test with a 95.

"What the hell? I made a simple sign error and got a 95. What's the big deal?"

"Fooking Boolsheet! God damm boolsheet!" she yelled.

"Those eediots in your classes will never make an error like happened on the Challenger. They will not be allowed close enough to such an important project.

"But you...."

"Don't .... fook ... up ... ever .. again!"

She was talking to me -- I WAS the only person in the room -- but she was speaking to broader engineering community.

To this day, whenever I am doing something which could possibly endanger someone else's well-being, I hear her; I see her. For almost 30 years, I have been re-hearing her voice... her anguish...I never asked if she was involved or if she knew one of the crew. At the time of our conversation I was too pissed off to really get what she was saying. But she got her point across.
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Isaac Marx
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Actually there were multiple engineers who knew the problem and tried to delay the launch, but were overruled by NASA management. The story is not well known but really should be:

http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2012/02/09/rog...

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2009/10/result-would-be-catastr...
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Bart de Groot
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imarx wrote:
Actually there were multiple engineers who knew the problem and tried to delay the launch, but were overruled by NASA management. The story is not well known but really should be:

http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2012/02/09/rog...

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2009/10/result-would-be-catastr...


I am too young to have any notion of the events at the time.

I enjoyed watching this:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2421662/

It's easy to blame everything just on the rotten culture, misunderstandings, ignorance, etc. But of course NASA was also under tremendous pressure to make true their outlandish promise of a launch a month, or more, to not have to compete for funding with a military shuttle program.
 
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Kevin Berent
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pacemaker67 wrote:
(note: although it may seem to be, this is not a story about me)

I was in an large Electrical Engineering Class in Champaign, Illinois when the news was announced in the huge lecture hall. Lots of muttering and crassness about the screw-up engineers.. blah blah blah. None of us would never cause such a problem.

It wasn't until that fall that I truly understood.

"Fooking Boolsheet."

I was in an upper level EE class, being taught by a visiting professor from somewhere in Eastern Europe. I sat in the back of the class, usually sleeping. I was a cocky Sophomore taking classes with Seniors and grad students. Whenever we got tests back, she'd first post the high and low score and the average. She'd then hand them out at the front of the class as stack with the high score on top. People would grab their test and pass the stack back.

I always got stares, because mine was always on top. 100 each and every test.

3/4 of the way through the semester, I took a test and knew right afterwards that I made a sign error on one of the problems.

When the tests were handed back, mine was not in there. The high was reported as a 79, and the average was 60 (close to usual). In front of the class, the professor asked to speak to me in her office before I could have my test back. Murmurings from the crowd...."I knew it. He must be cheating..."

Fucking bullshit. Where is my test. Who is this bitch to leave me hanging like that?

I went to meet her.

"It is assholes like you that caused the Challenger to explode. It is assholes like you...." as she handed me my test with a 95.

"What the hell? I made a simple sign error and got a 95. What's the big deal?"

"Fooking Boolsheet! God damm boolsheet!" she yelled.

"Those eediots in your classes will never make an error like happened on the Challenger. They will not be allowed close enough to such an important project.

"But you...."

"Don't .... fook ... up ... ever .. again!"

She was talking to me -- I WAS the only person in the room -- but she was speaking to broader engineering community.

To this day, whenever I am doing something which could possibly endanger someone else's well-being, I hear her; I see her. For almost 30 years, I have been re-hearing her voice... her anguish...I never asked if she was involved or if she knew one of the crew. At the time of our conversation I was too pissed off to really get what she was saying. But she got her point across.


I got goosebumps reading your response.

For most of my working career, I've been in or around activities that often had people's lives on the line, where lack of attention to detail could have permanent and/or fatal consequences.

Thanks for sharing your story!
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