Mike Hodel's Hour 25

Links Relating to the Loss
of Space Shuttle Columbia

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The Columbia Accident - On-Going News

      The Columbia Accident Report
  • You can read the Report of the Columbia Accident Investigation on-line or download it by going here. {You will also find a link there in case you want to order a hard copy.}

          The Smoking Gun
  • Ongoing testing by NASA seems to have found the "smoking gun" in the Columbia accident. {At least as far as the technical problems go. For information about NASA's management problems, see the news item below.} Tests found that a foam impact on the leading edge of the Shuttle's wing would blow a 16 inch hole in that structure as well as cracking and damaging other parts of the Shuttle's wing. For more information check out these stories from the Orlando Sentinel, Florida Today, Reuters, Spaceflight Now and The Houston Chronicle.

          The Management Problem
  • Be sure to read this story from the Orlando Sentinel which discusses previous Shuttle missions where foam from the ET damaged the Shuttle's TPS and NASA's approach to dealing with this problem in the future.
  • During the Apollo 13 accident the words of Flight Director Gene Krantz, "Failure is not an option", set the tone for what NASA would do and went a long way toward getting the crew safely back to Earth. But during the flight of the Columbia things were quite different. Linda Ham, the head of the Mission Management Team, was not interested in getting better data about the result of the foam impact or coming up with a crash program to rescue the Columbia astronauts because, as she said, "I don't think there is much we can do". Read more about this shocking revelation at this report from the Washington Post and at this story from the Florida Today Web Site .
  • Be sure to check out this story from the Florida Today Web Site which details a long history of unresolved safety issues affecting the Shuttle.

         Concerning Future Developments
  • For an interesting assessment of the Orbital Space Plane project, be sure to read this report by Jeffrey F. Bell. You might or might not agree with him, but his calculations certainly give you something to think about.
  • More information about the Orbital Space Plane (OSP) can be found here, another view about the OSP can be found here and another opinion about this project can be found here.

         On-Going Coverage and Reference Sources
  • The Columbia Accident Investigation Board Web Site is a good source for information about the results of the on-going investigation into the loss of the Columbia.
  • NASA has a Web Site with information about the loss of the Columbia, the on-going investigation into this accident, the crew and other related subjects.
  • CAD Digest has a very good compilation of information about the Columbia accident.
  • Florida Today has a Web Site with updated coverage of the loss of the Columbia.
  • This NASA Web Page contains pictures of the crew of the Columbia along with other pictures from their mission. {Audio files from STS-107 can be found here and video files can be found here.}
  • You can find the Press Kit from the STS-107 mission here.

    For On-Going Updates on Other Space News

  • The Reusable Launch & Space Vehicle News Web Site Web Page that is part of the Hobby Space Web Site is a really good place to watch for news about, well... Reusable Launch Vehicles and related subjects. I check it out just about every day and often find news there that doesn't show up anywhere else. Give it a look. {And while you're there be sure to check out some of the site's other pages. Wow! Is there a lot of information there.}
  • The Space Today Web Site is a great place to find space news from all over the 'net.
  • The Spaceflight Now Web Site carries real time information about current space missions and presents a lot of space and astronomy news. This is the place I go to when I want up to the minute information about current space missions. Do I need to say more?
  • The NASA Watch Web Site is another great place for getting information about current space missions. Check there also for news about other 'goings on' within NASA. Highly recommended.

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