**REAL LIFE CHOICES** WWYD?: NASA knew Columbia crew could die but chose not to tell them.

Black_SamsonBlack_Samson Can I Fuck It? Im Gonna Fuck It...Posts: 43,567 Regulator
edited February 2013 in For The Grown & Sexy
Shuttle-Columbia-crew-in-2003-via-Wikipedia-615x345.jpg


A NASA flight director has revealed that personnel on the ground knew in 2003 that the Space Shuttle Columbia would not likely survive re-entry, but chose not to inform the vessel’s crew. According to an ABC News report from Thursday, when faced with the choice of letting the astronauts die trying to come home or leaving them to orbit until their air ran out, high-ranking NASA officials chose to let the Columbia crew die in ignorance of what was to befall them.

Wayne Hale, who became a Space Shuttle program manager in the years after the Columbia disaster, wrote on his blog Thursday about the meeting among ground personnel at Johnson Space Center as they grappled with the decision. Video of Columbia’s takeoff showed a briefcase-sized chunk of foam breaking off an engine and colliding with the shuttle’s wing, gouging a hole in the shield designed to protect the craft from the furious heat generated as it crossed from the vacuum of space into the atmosphere.

When it became clear that the orbiter was seriously damaged and likely wouldn’t survive re-entry, Flight Director Jon Harpold said to Hale and others at the meeting, “You know, there is nothing we can do about damage to the TPS (Thermal Protection System). If it has been damaged it’s probably better not to know. I think the crew would rather not know. Don’t you think it would be better for them to have a happy successful flight and die unexpectedly during entry than to stay on orbit, knowing that there was nothing to be done, until the air ran out?”

On Feb. 3, 2003, engineers and managers watched helplessly as the vehicle broke up into a trail of fireballs in the upper atmosphere, killing all 7 astronauts on board. The crew was made up of five men and two women, David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, William McCool and Ilan Ramon.

The surviving children of the astronauts will take part in a commemorative ceremony to be held on the 10th anniversary of the accident on Friday.

UPDATE: [Ed. note: The original headline of the piece reflected more scientific certainty than was available at the time of the explosion and has been updated to better reflect the scientific uncertainty with which scientists and engineers struggled. The complete quote from Hale's journal of the incident is as follows,

Jon Harpold was the Director of Mission Operations, my supreme boss as a Flight Director. He had spent his early career in shuttle entry analysis. He knew more about shuttle entry than anybody; the guidance, the navigation, the flight control, the thermal environments and how to control them. After one of the MMTs when possible damage to the orbiter was discussed, he gave me his opinion: “You know, there is nothing we can do about damage to the TPS. If it has been damaged it’s probably better not to know. I think the crew would rather not know. Don’t you think it would be better for them to have a happy successful flight and die unexpectedly during entry than to stay on orbit, knowing that there was nothing to be done, until the air ran out?”

I was hard pressed to disagree. That mindset was widespread. Astronauts agreed. So don’t blame an individual; looks for the organizational factors that lead to that kind of a mindset. Don’t let them in your organization.

After the accident, when we were reconstituting the Mission Management Team, my words to them were “We are never ever going to say that there is nothing we can do.” That is hindsight.

From Hale's blog post and a 2003 interview with ABC by engineer Rodney Rocha, it appears that while some people thought the uncertainty of the damage could be put to rest before a decision about reentry needed to be made, the bureaucracy at NASA reportedly stifled the ability of engineers to make a concrete determination.]



[image via Wikimedia Commons]

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Replies

  • Black_SamsonBlack_Samson Can I Fuck It? Im Gonna Fuck It... Posts: 43,567 Regulator
  • I think they should have told them and left the decision up to them. I'd personally want to know if I was going to die.
    Black_Samsonunspoken_respectYoung StefCashmoneyDux
  • Black_SamsonBlack_Samson Can I Fuck It? Im Gonna Fuck It... Posts: 43,567 Regulator
    I think they should have told them and left the decision up to them. I'd personally want to know if I was going to die.

    word.
    give them a chance to make peace and say their goodbyes.

    bet this gon chap some ass to know that they coulda said good bye that whole damn time...
    i'd sue.
    you saw the shit fall off but aint tell them to drop payload and come back home before they reached orbit? the fuck man...
    unspoken_respectiron man1Already Home_17CashmoneyDux
  • Billy_PonchoBilly_Poncho I am a rooster Posts: 16,354 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'd tell em, they have a right to know if you do. I hope they hauntin the shit outta the staff who decided not to tell em...
    unspoken_respectBlack_Samsoniron man1CashmoneyDux
  • Gold_CertificateGold_Certificate Posts: 13,332 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2013
    If they told them, it would've made for one of those GOAT scenes when the movie came out.

    The moment they realize they're all going to die, them getting last chances to say good bye to their loved ones, some of the astronauts breaking under the pressure; shit would be great.

    And then they'd decide to reenter anyway, and get blown the fuck up.

    It'd be a great movie with a great ending; but nah, they fucked that up, not nearly as entertaining this way.
    Black_SamsonCashmoneyDux
  • Gold_CertificateGold_Certificate Posts: 13,332 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2013
    Oh, but from a non-GOAT movie standpoint, I don't see an issue with letting them die in ignorance.
    Kat
  • Black_SamsonBlack_Samson Can I Fuck It? Im Gonna Fuck It... Posts: 43,567 Regulator
    That's a tough call.

    I don't understand why people want attention so much that they bring shit like this back up. Their families and friends don't want to hear that shit.

    These confession type stories only create conspiracy theories, if there wasn't any already.

    i mean it's quite simple really...
    if your name aint Aldrin or Armstrong then it's fuck you.

    can't nobody tell a story like them.

    these dudes could make a story about a fucking rubber fuel line sound like the greatest shit in the damn world.
    unspoken_respectYoung Stef
  • unspoken_respectunspoken_respect I smell tittys Posts: 8,969 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think they should have told them and left the decision up to them. I'd personally want to know if I was going to die.

    word.
    give them a chance to make peace and say their goodbyes.

    bet this gon chap some ass to know that they coulda said good bye that whole damn time...
    i'd sue.
    you saw the shit fall off but aint tell them to drop payload and come back home before they reached orbit? the fuck man...

    They always bring in some ”expert” to deny they knew anything of the sort.



    Black_Samson
  • mryounggunmryounggun Posts: 9,747 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Niggas act like they knew before they left the ground. Reading the article, shit seems pretty evident that they were fucked either way. I'd have let them know so they can say their goodbyes and whatnot. But that's me. Not telling them, i can also understand.
  • Black_SamsonBlack_Samson Can I Fuck It? Im Gonna Fuck It... Posts: 43,567 Regulator
    I think they should have told them and left the decision up to them. I'd personally want to know if I was going to die.

    word.
    give them a chance to make peace and say their goodbyes.

    bet this gon chap some ass to know that they coulda said good bye that whole damn time...
    i'd sue.
    you saw the shit fall off but aint tell them to drop payload and come back home before they reached orbit? the fuck man...

    They always bring in some ”expert” to deny they knew anything of the sort.



    thats true.
    or the muhfukin whistleblower wind up dead from a heart attack.
    unspoken_respect
  • Black_SamsonBlack_Samson Can I Fuck It? Im Gonna Fuck It... Posts: 43,567 Regulator
    mryounggun wrote: »
    Niggas act like they knew before they left the ground. Reading the article, shit seems pretty evident that they were fucked either way. I'd have let them know so they can say their goodbyes and whatnot. But that's me. Not telling them, i can also understand.
    ah, we are dealing with nasa... nasa is funded by the government... mission is top priority... fuck everything else.
  • mryounggunmryounggun Posts: 9,747 ✭✭✭✭✭
    mryounggun wrote: »
    Niggas act like they knew before they left the ground. Reading the article, shit seems pretty evident that they were fucked either way. I'd have let them know so they can say their goodbyes and whatnot. But that's me. Not telling them, i can also understand.
    ah, we are dealing with nasa... nasa is funded by the government... mission is top priority... fuck everything else.

    Meaning what? You implying that they knew before the shit left the ground?
  • Black_SamsonBlack_Samson Can I Fuck It? Im Gonna Fuck It... Posts: 43,567 Regulator
    mryounggun wrote: »
    mryounggun wrote: »
    Niggas act like they knew before they left the ground. Reading the article, shit seems pretty evident that they were fucked either way. I'd have let them know so they can say their goodbyes and whatnot. But that's me. Not telling them, i can also understand.
    ah, we are dealing with nasa... nasa is funded by the government... mission is top priority... fuck everything else.

    Meaning what? You implying that they knew before the shit left the ground?

    im saying that plausible deny-ability is not out of the question.
    it's obvious that they had eye's on. yet determining when they had eye's on is the issue.
    i've seen these launches on HD if i can see suds that build up from the fuel fall off then i KNOW they got better tech and more eye's on.

    may not make sense now, but wait till you work for them.

    MISSION IS ALWAYS TOP PRIORITY.
  • Gold_CertificateGold_Certificate Posts: 13,332 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2013
    I think they should have told them and left the decision up to them. I'd personally want to know if I was going to die.

    word.
    give them a chance to make peace and say their goodbyes.

    bet this gon chap some ass to know that they coulda said good bye that whole damn time...
    i'd sue.
    you saw the shit fall off but aint tell them to drop payload and come back home before they reached orbit? the fuck man...
    I assume they only noticed that shit after carefully reviewing the video.

    This part of the movie would show the NASA niggas celebrating the successful launch, drinking, dancing, etc. Then one of the characters gets a call from a technician or some shit saying "John, you need to come to the control room. Now.". John seems puzzled but excuses himself from the festivities. When he reaches the control room he's greeted by two of his other colleagues with serious expressions. John immediately loses his cheery mood; "What's going on guys?". "Just show him." says the one who called him. John leans close to the monitor and watches the video which is slowed down and zooms in on the wing. John then realizes the gravity (PUN) of the situation, he backs away from the monitor wide-eyed, raises his right hand to wipe his mouth, turns and silently looks at both technicians; then he looks back at the screen which has had the frame showing the damages wing frozen, before bolting from the room. A few minutes later, John returns with several of his other colleagues; soon after showing all of them the video, the described discussion from the article occurs.


    It'd be a great movie with a great ending; but nah, they fucked that up.
    Black_Samson1of1CincoSleepwalkingInJapan
  • Black_SamsonBlack_Samson Can I Fuck It? Im Gonna Fuck It... Posts: 43,567 Regulator
    I think they should have told them and left the decision up to them. I'd personally want to know if I was going to die.

    word.
    give them a chance to make peace and say their goodbyes.

    bet this gon chap some ass to know that they coulda said good bye that whole damn time...
    i'd sue.
    you saw the shit fall off but aint tell them to drop payload and come back home before they reached orbit? the fuck man...
    I assume they only noticed that shit after carefully reviewing the video.

    This part of the movie would show the NASA niggas celebrating the successful launch, drinking, dancing, etc. Then one of the characters gets a call from a technician or some shit saying "John, you need to come to the control room. Now.". John seems puzzled but excuses himself from the festivities. When he reaches the control room he's greeted by two of his other colleagues with serious expressions. John immediately loses his cheery mood; "What's going on guys?". "Just show him." says the one who called him. John leans close to the monitor and watches the video which is slowed down and zooms in on the wing. John then realizes the gravity (PUN) of the situation, he backs away from the monitor wide-eyed, raises his right hand to wipe his mouth, turns and silently looks at both technicians; then he looks back at the screen which has had the frame showing the damages wing frozen, before bolting from the room. A few minutes later, John returns with several of his other colleagues; soon after showing all of them the video, the described discussion from the article occurs.


    It'd be a great movie with a great ending; but nah, they fucked that up.

    my way would involve mulder and scully, no black goo, a car chase, a whole lotta mp7's with silencer's and a knife fight.
    Gold_Certificate
  • Gold_CertificateGold_Certificate Posts: 13,332 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think they should have told them and left the decision up to them. I'd personally want to know if I was going to die.

    word.
    give them a chance to make peace and say their goodbyes.

    bet this gon chap some ass to know that they coulda said good bye that whole damn time...
    i'd sue.
    you saw the shit fall off but aint tell them to drop payload and come back home before they reached orbit? the fuck man...
    I assume they only noticed that shit after carefully reviewing the video.

    This part of the movie would show the NASA niggas celebrating the successful launch, drinking, dancing, etc. Then one of the characters gets a call from a technician or some shit saying "John, you need to come to the control room. Now.". John seems puzzled but excuses himself from the festivities. When he reaches the control room he's greeted by two of his other colleagues with serious expressions. John immediately loses his cheery mood; "What's going on guys?". "Just show him." says the one who called him. John leans close to the monitor and watches the video which is slowed down and zooms in on the wing. John then realizes the gravity (PUN) of the situation, he backs away from the monitor wide-eyed, raises his right hand to wipe his mouth, turns and silently looks at both technicians; then he looks back at the screen which has had the frame showing the damages wing frozen, before bolting from the room. A few minutes later, John returns with several of his other colleagues; soon after showing all of them the video, the described discussion from the article occurs.


    It'd be a great movie with a great ending; but nah, they fucked that up.

    my way would involve mulder and scully, no black goo, a car chase, a whole lotta mp7's with silencer's and a knife fight.
    Top it off with some polonium 210 and shit would be GOAT.

    But they fucked it up.
    Black_SamsonCashmoneyDux
  • Black_SamsonBlack_Samson Can I Fuck It? Im Gonna Fuck It... Posts: 43,567 Regulator
    I think they should have told them and left the decision up to them. I'd personally want to know if I was going to die.

    word.
    give them a chance to make peace and say their goodbyes.

    bet this gon chap some ass to know that they coulda said good bye that whole damn time...
    i'd sue.
    you saw the shit fall off but aint tell them to drop payload and come back home before they reached orbit? the fuck man...
    I assume they only noticed that shit after carefully reviewing the video.

    This part of the movie would show the NASA niggas celebrating the successful launch, drinking, dancing, etc. Then one of the characters gets a call from a technician or some shit saying "John, you need to come to the control room. Now.". John seems puzzled but excuses himself from the festivities. When he reaches the control room he's greeted by two of his other colleagues with serious expressions. John immediately loses his cheery mood; "What's going on guys?". "Just show him." says the one who called him. John leans close to the monitor and watches the video which is slowed down and zooms in on the wing. John then realizes the gravity (PUN) of the situation, he backs away from the monitor wide-eyed, raises his right hand to wipe his mouth, turns and silently looks at both technicians; then he looks back at the screen which has had the frame showing the damages wing frozen, before bolting from the room. A few minutes later, John returns with several of his other colleagues; soon after showing all of them the video, the described discussion from the article occurs.


    It'd be a great movie with a great ending; but nah, they fucked that up.

    my way would involve mulder and scully, no black goo, a car chase, a whole lotta mp7's with silencer's and a knife fight.
    Top it off with some polonium 210 and shit would be GOAT.

    But they fucked it up.

    yeah.... they'd do some dumb shit like cast biel as scully and the sparkly fag boy vampire boy as muller...
    Gold_Certificateunspoken_respect
  • mryounggunmryounggun Posts: 9,747 ✭✭✭✭✭
    mryounggun wrote: »
    mryounggun wrote: »
    Niggas act like they knew before they left the ground. Reading the article, shit seems pretty evident that they were fucked either way. I'd have let them know so they can say their goodbyes and whatnot. But that's me. Not telling them, i can also understand.
    ah, we are dealing with nasa... nasa is funded by the government... mission is top priority... fuck everything else.

    Meaning what? You implying that they knew before the shit left the ground?

    im saying that plausible deny-ability is not out of the question.
    it's obvious that they had eye's on. yet determining when they had eye's on is the issue.
    i've seen these launches on HD if i can see suds that build up from the fuel fall off then i KNOW they got better tech and more eye's on.

    may not make sense now, but wait till you work for them.

    MISSION IS ALWAYS TOP PRIORITY.

    Agreed. But what do we KNOW? We know that once they were in the air, shit happened that compromised the shuttle and mission control knew they likely wouldn't survive re-entry. That's it.

    Could they very well have known before the shit ever launched? Yes (though I highly doubt it). But taking the article at face value, my position stands. I would have told them so they could say their goodbyes but I understand why they didn't.
  • Gold_CertificateGold_Certificate Posts: 13,332 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think they should have told them and left the decision up to them. I'd personally want to know if I was going to die.

    word.
    give them a chance to make peace and say their goodbyes.

    bet this gon chap some ass to know that they coulda said good bye that whole damn time...
    i'd sue.
    you saw the shit fall off but aint tell them to drop payload and come back home before they reached orbit? the fuck man...
    I assume they only noticed that shit after carefully reviewing the video.

    This part of the movie would show the NASA niggas celebrating the successful launch, drinking, dancing, etc. Then one of the characters gets a call from a technician or some shit saying "John, you need to come to the control room. Now.". John seems puzzled but excuses himself from the festivities. When he reaches the control room he's greeted by two of his other colleagues with serious expressions. John immediately loses his cheery mood; "What's going on guys?". "Just show him." says the one who called him. John leans close to the monitor and watches the video which is slowed down and zooms in on the wing. John then realizes the gravity (PUN) of the situation, he backs away from the monitor wide-eyed, raises his right hand to wipe his mouth, turns and silently looks at both technicians; then he looks back at the screen which has had the frame showing the damages wing frozen, before bolting from the room. A few minutes later, John returns with several of his other colleagues; soon after showing all of them the video, the described discussion from the article occurs.


    It'd be a great movie with a great ending; but nah, they fucked that up.

    my way would involve mulder and scully, no black goo, a car chase, a whole lotta mp7's with silencer's and a knife fight.
    Top it off with some polonium 210 and shit would be GOAT.

    But they fucked it up.

    yeah.... they'd do some dumb shit like cast biel as scully and the sparkly fag boy vampire boy as muller...
    That'd be terrible.
  • 1of11of1 Posts: 37,423 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Let them know. They knew the risks.

    I'd rather get in position like I'm gonna dodge the million and a half degree heat than just get hit with that shit outta nowhere.
  • Rubato GarciaRubato Garcia Posts: 3,575 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2013
    I think they should have told them and left the decision up to them. I'd personally want to know if I was going to die.

    word.
    give them a chance to make peace and say their goodbyes.

    bet this gon chap some ass to know that they coulda said good bye that whole damn time...
    i'd sue.
    you saw the shit fall off but aint tell them to drop payload and come back home before they reached orbit? the fuck man...
    I assume they only noticed that shit after carefully reviewing the video.

    This part of the movie would show the NASA niggas celebrating the successful launch, drinking, dancing, etc. Then one of the characters gets a call from a technician or some shit saying "John, you need to come to the control room. Now.". John seems puzzled but excuses himself from the festivities. When he reaches the control room he's greeted by two of his other colleagues with serious expressions. John immediately loses his cheery mood; "What's going on guys?". "Just show him." says the one who called him. John leans close to the monitor and watches the video which is slowed down and zooms in on the wing. John then realizes the gravity (PUN) of the situation, he backs away from the monitor wide-eyed, raises his right hand to wipe his mouth, turns and silently looks at both technicians; then he looks back at the screen which has had the frame showing the damages wing frozen, before bolting from the room. A few minutes later, John returns with several of his other colleagues; soon after showing all of them the video, the described discussion from the article occurs.


    It'd be a great movie with a great ending; but nah, they fucked that up.

    Later the astronauts on board, after being informed of their fate, start to descend into madness. Amidst frenzied discussion they start to turn on each other and ultimately hatch a desperate plan. One astronaut is killed and stuffed into his space suit. His lifeless body is then strapped to the outside of the vessel in a deranged attempt to plug the gaping hole in the insulation.

    Everybody dies anyway.

    Ok, I'm starting to understand why they didn't tell them.
    CashmoneyDux
  • playmaker88playmaker88 You over did it holmes, you in the danger zone, you shouldn't be alone Posts: 48,456 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Fuckin shame.. let them know.. its easy for some suited up crackers to make these fly by decisions on the ground.. when they not in the field..thats some bullshit.
  • Rubato GarciaRubato Garcia Posts: 3,575 ✭✭✭✭✭
    But seriously, they couldn't have linked up with the ISS and had NASA send a rescue mission?
  • Recaptimus_Prime360Recaptimus_Prime360 Phat Bootyologist Posts: 37,985 ✭✭✭✭✭
    But seriously, they couldn't have linked up with the ISS and had NASA send a rescue mission?

    Thank you. Isn't there a space station in orbit right now? They could've chilled there, and have another shuttle scoop them up.
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