[TriLUG] OT: shuttle launch & need C-Band digital satellite
rick.denatale at gmail.com
Thu Jun 29 23:00:12 EDT 2006
On 6/29/06, Reginald Reed <reginald.reed at gmail.com> wrote:
> This is something I miss from attending the University of Central Florida in
> Orlando. You could see the shuttle in the middle of the day without
> assist. It was cool to be walking between classes, look up and see the
> shuttle. Too cool.
My only shuttle launch was STS-91 which happened to coincide with a
hobby convention I was attending that week in Orlando. It took a few
trips out to the causeway because of several weather scrubs, but I got
to see a night launch. It was a big week which also included the 30th
anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, and the recovery of the Liberty
Bell 7 Mercury spacecraft.
They were lucky that that particular mission didn't end Columbia's
career two flights early, five seconds after launch an engine shut
down and there was also a hydrogen fuel leak which nearly caused an
abort to orbit. None of us watching from the NASA causeway were aware
of any of this.
Manned orbital spaceflight is still as dangerous as it was in 1961, in
the case of the Shuttle maybe even more so, due to the exposure of the
orbiter to damage from foam/ice/birdstrikes etc during ascent. I was
pondering this as I watched the NASA press conference today. The
decision to launch over the objections of the safety office are
nothing new, there has always been calculated risk, and many of the
near-fatal incidents are unknown or forgotten by the general public.
Most know of Apollo 13, some might have heard of John Glenn's
"separated" heatshield during the first US manned orbital flight. How
many remember Gemini 8 which nearly ended in catastrophe, or Apollo 12
when the crew was given the go for translunar injection, despite the
fact that after a lightning strike during launch it was unknown
whether or not the parachutes would work. Of course they would have
been just as dead without going the moon if they hadn't worked.
The risks are worth it if they produce knowledge.
My hat is off to anyone willing to put their body into a machine which
can hurl them to orbital velocities, whether it's today or in 1961.
IPMS/USA Region 12 Coordinator
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