February 01, 2018

Columbia Falls

It was a Saturday morning.  I remember that very clearly.  I slept in until 10am, dragged myself into Pond Central's kitchen, grabbed a can of caffeine, and made my way to the computer desk.  Connected to AoL via dialup.  And there, on the front page, was news that made this Shuttle geek's blood run cold.  Columbia had broken up upon re-entry, taking the crew of seven souls with her.  I remember calling Momzerduck and telling her what had happened and her being... not so very interested, which annoyed me.  CNN was on all day, and I couldn't believe it had happened again.  Unsurprisingly, information as to what exactly had happened was sketchy, but there was video a-plenty.  Enough, in fact, that a fan of space flight and talented video editor gathered it all together and put together the best "video timeline" of the event I've seen... ever.

I remember downloading this from... kazaa, maybe?... and wondering why the networks never did something like it.  To this day, it astonishes me... both the video itself and that it was never duplicated.

Fifteen years.  Go read Brickmuppet's tribute... he does a much better job than I ever could.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:50 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 I remember this vividly, for a variety of reasons.  Columbia was much more personal to me than Challenger.  Mainly because I was older; the Challenger explosion invoked more confusion than anything.  And then of course, learning much later that the problem was a possibly-avoidable, but still largely coincidental accident.

I never considered Enterprise "the first shuttle", even though a lot of people wanted to view it that way.  I guess it's not 100% accurate to say Enterprise wasn't even capable of being an operating spacecraft, but it was never meant to be and never *built* to be that.  So, to me, Columbia was the first shuttle, at an age where all I saw was that the shuttle program was the first step toward real spaceships, instead of the un-aborted boondoggle that the program was, and that the people in charge largely *knew* it was even in the early 80's.  I was always more excited when Columbia flew, especially after the updated models were put into service and were intended to take over all missions.

And then, of course, learning that the Columbia tragedy was likely *completely* avoidable, makes it all worse.  Beyond the loss of life that could have been prevented.  I think that goes without saying, really.

Posted by: Ben at February 02, 2018 08:13 AM (h8yX6)

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