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Author Topic: oh f*ck, space shuttle explodes?
Lex
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Icon 1 posted February 01, 2003 14:49      Profile for Lex   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, there is the diffraction thing.

However, I can't see tracking to be a problem. A group that can fund a giant laser weapon project can probably fund a nice rig to do the math, yes?

As for location, bad guys could hit it going over the pacific. Who do we know near there? North Korea? All they would need would be, I dunno, an island or battleship or something. Work on it as it goes by, weaken the heat shields or something. Then the weakened craft breaks up from friction a few minutes later.

But diffraction probably would rule it out anyway.

Oh well. If it were terrorists, we probably would have heard about it by now. Glad it wasn't. Then we would have to go to war with iraq... oh wait, we're going to do that anyway.

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Your conviction that there is a monster under the bed would be a mere eccentricity if you weren't so heavily armed and it was your own bed.

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted February 01, 2003 15:09      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think you mean refraction. Diffraction is a fringing effect caused by interference, e.g., the rings around the moon on a foggy night. Refraction is the bending of a light beam's path when it encounters a medium of differing refractive index (governed largely by density and chemical composition when you're considering the atmosphere). If you have a good knowledge of the temperature gradient in the atmosphere, this can be accounted for. However, I think this possibility is certainly far-fetched (there is the difficulty of beam-divergence for a start) - you would need an x-ray beam, and the pump powers required for these devices are very large indeed - it would be quite a big installation, and it would definitely be very easy to spot.

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Janeway
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Icon 9 posted February 01, 2003 15:55      Profile for Janeway   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's a sad, sad thing. All they can do is literally pick up the pieces and move on. The orbitors are supposed to be good for 100 flights each; Columbia still had about 72 potential flights left. Right now they're concentrating on the left wing, since some debris from the fuel tank fell on it and later it was the sensors there that went out. I don't see how a chunk of foam could hurt something that's built to withstand the kinds of abuse that the shuttle endures during a flight but I suppose you never know. One interesting coincidence I saw (and I may have the dates switched around)--we lost Apollo 1 on January 27, Challenger on January 28, and now Columbia on February 1, all within a time period of a week and all about the same time period apart.

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Janeway--
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Mindzeye5
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Icon 9 posted February 01, 2003 15:55      Profile for Mindzeye5   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
it's especially hard to try and cope when there's no clear answer
it's all too senseless

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raydreams
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Mister Boo

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Icon 1 posted February 01, 2003 17:07      Profile for Mister Boo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I watched the coverage in sadness this morning while waiting for my wife to dress to go out to breakfast. [Frown]
And after breakfast, we spent the day looking at stuff in baby stores and listened to radio coverage while driving around. At least the thought of a possible child within the next year was enough to keep my thoughts on the fact that life goes on.

In sadness and mouning for our fallen heroes,
Bill (Who feels a much smaller part of the world right now)

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Lex
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Icon 1 posted February 01, 2003 17:37      Profile for Lex   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Janeway:
I don't see how a chunk of foam could hurt something that's built to withstand the kinds of abuse that the shuttle endures during a flight but I suppose you never know.

I heard some speculation that the object was about the size of a door, but even foam padding shouldn't do any damage at that size. But there was also a possibility that it wasn't a foam pad, but a sheet of ice that hit the wing. I don't know how much damage a door sized sheet of ice could do.

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Your conviction that there is a monster under the bed would be a mere eccentricity if you weren't so heavily armed and it was your own bed.

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Snaggy

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Icon 1 posted February 01, 2003 20:41      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I herard the tiles are actually very delicate things... one geek described them as "solid smoke". Apparently they don't even like to fly the shuttle through rain as the rain can damage them.
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macmcseboy

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Icon 1 posted February 02, 2003 00:48      Profile for macmcseboy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
[Frown] As you all know, today there was a great loss. Although I hail from the west coast in Canada I heard the news at 7 AM, I was awaked by a phone call from one of my military friends. Today I grieve that loss and I know I am not alone. The US is on the verge of war with Iraq and the wold is not in peaceful harmony.

Since I was boy in the 1980ís I have been a fan of the space program. I sincerely hope that the days events will not hinder it. This morning like everyone else I watched in horror as seven valiant and brave souls perished for the betterment of our world. May god have mercy on their souls and may they rest in peace.

I know that NASA has faced numerous budget cuts over the years, and I know that Challenger was a huge blow in 1986. We must go on and let the dream of space exploration propagate. It would take years and billions of dollars to construct a new orbiter. The new orbiter must be developed and completed within the next 10-15 years,

I offer a proposal, in order to complete the ISS in time or with minimal delay the commissioning and rebirth of OV-101 the Enterprise.

I know that Enterprise is in the Smithsonian and that on occasion NASA has borrowed her or parts of her for studies. It is well known that her spaceframe is virgin as she was only used for Earth based entry and landing tests. Enterprise is screaming to serve yet she is forgotten most of the time, All the parts that are nesscesary for her to become fully operational are available now in spare parts inventory.

Can anyone tell me otherwise?

Enterprise is waiting.

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Live long and prosper.

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Lex
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Icon 1 posted February 02, 2003 07:05      Profile for Lex   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I believe we also sold the russians a shuttle frame, but to my knowledge they have never used it. It might be somewhat smaller then the others, but might we buy it back if needed? Or perhaps russia could do some of the cargo missions with it.

I doubt we're getting a new shuttle fleet in 15 years, though. Most of these shuttles have only performed a third of their contracted flights. They're like cars with 30k miles. But I would like to see a new fleet.

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Your conviction that there is a monster under the bed would be a mere eccentricity if you weren't so heavily armed and it was your own bed.

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Zwilnik

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Icon 1 posted February 02, 2003 16:19      Profile for Zwilnik   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Russians developed their own 'version' of the shuttle called 'Buran'

http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/rsa/buran.html

unfortunately, it only completed one unmanned test flight in space before the project was mothballed.

The US should consider putting a *lot* of money into the space program (not just shuttles, although they've proved their worth by far) and also sponsoring the Russian space program to keep its momentum going (they should never have allowed MIR to be de-orbited).

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The Universe is entirely made up of elements.
The most important of which is the element of surprise.

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raydreams
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Zwilnik

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Icon 1 posted February 02, 2003 17:00      Profile for Zwilnik   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by raydreams:
But the Chinese are within a year of launching a manned flight if they don't have any set backs. A US-Russia-Chinese space program (plus the numerous other countries already invovled) would help tremendously.

hmm, 2010 [Smile]

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The Universe is entirely made up of elements.
The most important of which is the element of surprise.

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evilbibo
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Icon 1 posted February 02, 2003 17:30            Edit/Delete Post 
Another great song is on the Kate Bush album "Hounds of Love" is "Hello Earth" the intro which is on the last 10 seconds of the song "Jig of Life" on the CD it has chatter from Columbia too.

quote:
Originally posted by Erbo:
Coverage on Electric Minds here.

[Frown] [Frown] [Frown] [Frown]

On Rush's album Signals (1982), the last track is called "Countdown," and it's about the first flight of the Columbia; it features excerpts from the air-to-ground chatter during the launch. If you have that album, or an MP3 of that track, PLAY IT LOUD today, to commemorate our fallen heroes: Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon.

Per aspera ad astra (A rough road leads to the stars).

[Frown] [Frown] [Frown] [Frown]


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Lex
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Icon 1 posted February 02, 2003 17:49      Profile for Lex   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by raydreams:
MIR was falling apart and a liability. It simple wasn't worth the cost of keeping it in orbit and risking the crew's lives. It didn't help of course they crashed a Soyuz capsule into it, though I think the expectation to dock it manually was rediculous.

And let's not forget the fire and the space fungus.

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Your conviction that there is a monster under the bed would be a mere eccentricity if you weren't so heavily armed and it was your own bed.

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Evilbunny
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Icon 1 posted February 02, 2003 17:57      Profile for Evilbunny   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was on a debate trip when I first heard about it. My boyfriend had just seen it on the news and told me about it on the bus. What a way to start the morning, huh? I couldn't win any of my debates for the rest of the day.

This is just now fair! What's going to happen to Nasa's funding now? It was bad enough before!!!!

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raydreams
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Tech Angel
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Icon 9 posted February 02, 2003 21:10      Profile for Tech Angel     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It is my understanding that the Enterprise orbiter was never intended to fly in space and so was built differently from the other orbiters. As such, its underlying structure is such that it cannot be readily modified to serve as a replacement vehicle.

On a different subject...

Not to promote paranoia, but here's an interesting thought regarding the terrorism angle: one of the reasons we are vulnerable to attacks like 9/11 is that our defenses are designed on the philosophy that our enemies will attempt to defeat us by overpowering us with greater strength, whether it's to get past our defenses or to compromise our security systems. If you want to bring down, say, the World Trade Center Towers, you use a powerful bomb, shoot them with a missile...that sort of thing. So we make our security systems tighter, defenses stronger, etc.

What we discovered to our dismay is that they are adept at thinking "inside the box": don't try to sneak something past a hefty security system (a bomb) -- employ something that is already inside the security net (commandeer a plane full of fuel). Don't attempt to spread biological weapons (Anthrax) via some high-tech delivery system -- use your enemy's own complex infrastructure (the U.S. Postal System) to do the job for you. Not to be frivolous, but the Republic used a similar tactic in the original Star Wars film: don't try to destroy the Death Star from the outside (where all of its formidible defenses were) -- sneak something inside and have it reek havoc from within (the Death Star's own central reactor). In short, turn your enemy's own powerful resources against them.

So think about it... If you wanted to destroy a shuttle in flight, would it be easier to "attack" from the outside with some weapon (missile, laser, etc.) when your adversary was protecting against just that sort of move ... or would it be easier to plant, say, a small radio-controlled explosive in some innocuous location on the vehicle (wheel well, or inside a tire perhaps?) well before the flight (weeks or even months) when there would be little suspicion? Even a relatively small explosive, almost harmless if detonated at any other time, could create the kind of catastrophic event we saw yesterday if triggered during re-entry -- just weaken or knock loose a few tiles, that's all it takes. (I recall a sci-fi book from the 60's -- "Operation: Countdown" -- where just such a ploy was used. In that story, a tiny six-cubic-inch explosive was discovered to have been installed aboard the Apollo-like spacecraft by a contractor during the manufacturing process. It was located adjacent to the fuel line for the liquid retro rocket fuel. When detonated during the retro burn, it would cause the retro fuel to burn out of control, slowing down the craft too abruptly, and causing it to burn up on re-entry. The explosive itself was not powerful enough to do significant damage, but when used in conjunction with the onboard fuel.....)

Now PUH-LEASE, before attempting to muster a counterargument or see this as wild irresponsible conjecture, please know that I am NOT proposing this as a possible cause. Rather, I am describing a not-that-farfetched scenario to illustrate that the kind of terrorism we are up against is insidious. In the wake of 9/11, if you recall, plans were discovered by federal agents where al Queda sympathizers would rent apartments or hotel rooms and plant explosives designed to be detonated (and evoke terror) months after the fact. (All tenants at my former apartment complex were provided copies of a letter from the FBI warning of such possibilities and advising us to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.) Similar sort of terrorism could be in play here, and we would never know it.

I hope that this is not the case. I hope that NASA, et al, positively identify the cause of the disaster as some 1-in-100,000 chance event, no one's fault or negligence, and something which can be avoided or protected against in the future. I hope that it is not something which gives us one more reason to put up higher walls, foster more mistrust, and cower in even greater fear. For that would truly be a tragedy.

- TA

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We must be the change we want to see in the world. -Mahatma Ghandi

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SupportGoddess

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Icon 1 posted February 03, 2003 01:58      Profile for SupportGoddess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't know about anyone else, but I am getting a little tired of the whole terrorism angle being applied to everything. All the time.

What happened over a year ago was a terrible tragedy caused by demented sickos. What happened now was an accident or a mistake, until someone can prove otherwise. I find it far more likely that a small technical failure caused an accident in a system as complex as the space shuttle. Attributing blame to nameless faceless boogeymen known only as "The Terrorist Threat" shooting the shuttle out of the sky or sneaking bombs onboard or whatever is just a bit far fetched for me.

America is being turned into a nation of cowering children by warmongering drum beating politicians. The saddest thing of all is that while eliminating terrorism and fear would be a Good Thing (TM) it is just being used as misdirection. Everyone is paying attention to oil wars and hunting for terrorists while our elected leaders are trying to pass bills that would take away our civil liberties. All in the name of security. The more attention I pay, the more afraid I am that the serious threats to ideals like freedom aren't in some middle eastern desert, but instead sitting in D.C. wearing suits and looking concerned for television cameras.

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GraphicPower.com
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Icon 8 posted February 03, 2003 05:43      Profile for GraphicPower.com   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There is virtually no possibility that the Shuttle was destroyed by terrorists. It was really spooky, but minutes before it was known that the Shuttle was lost, I said, "I am surprised that no Shuttle has been destroyed on re-entry."

The World's biggest terrorist is George W. Bush. He is WAAAY too stupid to be President. Iraq is his weapon of mass distraction. He must distract America from that fact that the US military failed miserably at getting Osama bin Laden. He said, "We're gonna git'im, deader-a-live."

What a hick!

He must distract America from that fact that the US economy is in the toilet and that his Reaganonmic policies are once again bankrupting our Global economy. After unprecedented growth and prosperity, it has only taken him only 2 years to dump us into an economic down spiral that our children will be paying for decades later.

Another 10 years of budget surpluses, and we could could have had some really significant tax relief. Instead, our progress during the previous Presidency was squandered and plundered for the few rich.

This is the only President that we have ever had that World leaders referred to as "a moron" or "an idiot." I hope that it is the last.

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The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live. -George Carlin
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conspiracyFreak
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Icon 1 posted February 03, 2003 05:51      Profile for conspiracyFreak   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just to settle the laser discussion:
Airborn Laser
Check out this article too!

I also heard Columbia had picked up a chinese satelite that may have had acceleration detonated explosives built in.

Whatever happened, it is horrible. [Frown]

What's with an Israeli warrior on board?

Why are warriors doing our research? [Mad]

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...don't believe me? Check out http://bushcrimefamily.tripod.com

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GMx

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Icon 1 posted February 03, 2003 06:25      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by conspiracyFreak:
What's with an Israeli warrior on board?

Why are warriors doing our research? [Mad]

I didn't know that NASA was an Austrailian funded organization. [Razz]
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supaboy
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Icon 9 posted February 03, 2003 06:27      Profile for supaboy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I believe in Star Trek. I want that future.

If NASA needed someone to fly on a shuttle mission, I would go. Today.

-supa, "I'm leaving on a jet plane. I don't know when I'll be back again..."

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Tech Angel
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Icon 1 posted February 03, 2003 07:08      Profile for Tech Angel     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by SupportGoddess:
America is being turned into a nation of cowering children by warmongering drum beating politicians. The saddest thing of all is that while eliminating terrorism and fear would be a Good Thing (TM) it is just being used as misdirection. Everyone is paying attention to oil wars and hunting for terrorists while our elected leaders are trying to pass bills that would take away our civil liberties. All in the name of security. The more attention I pay, the more afraid I am that the serious threats to ideals like freedom aren't in some middle eastern desert, but instead sitting in D.C. wearing suits and looking concerned for television cameras.

Exactly!! The whole point behind "terror-ism" is to spread terror -- fear -- and let it do its dirty work. As you have pointed out, it already is. The cowering children, the rise of warmongering politicians "offering" to remove civil liberties to alleviate the fears of those children. And if that happens, then the facelsss "They" have won. The terrorism worked -- it destroyed our best from within.

So recognizing where the real threat now lies, what do we do about it? I'm usually not cynical, but I have serious doubts about relying solely on our elective process to effect the necessary change.

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Tech Angel
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Icon 1 posted February 03, 2003 07:27      Profile for Tech Angel     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"As I was walking up the stair,
I saw a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today;
I wish, I wish he'd go away."

That little ditty from a child's book was titled "Fear". It does a pretty good job of describing the emotional state of our post-terrorism society, too.

Posts: 330 | From: the Great State of Confusion | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged


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