When Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds into its flight on the morning of 28 January 1986, it represented one of the most shocking events in the history of American spaceflight. A Presidential Commission was immediately convened to explore what had gone wrong, but with the vast complexity of the space shuttle and so many vested interests involved in the investigation, discovering the truth presented an almost impossible challenge. A truly independent member of the investigation was Richard Feynman. One of the most accomplished scientists of his generation, he worked on the Manhattan Project building the first atom bomb and won the Nobel Prize for his breakthroughs in quantum physics. Feynman deployed exceptional integrity, charm and relentless scientific logic to investigate the secrets of the Shuttle disaster and in doing so, helped make the US Space Programme safer. Written by
The reason Challenger's solid rocket booster didn't immediately begin extruding the flame which, at 73 seconds caused it to burn through its attachment and strike the fuel tank, was because aluminum oxide (a relatively recently added fuel-efficiency measure) present in the SRB created a 'slag' which fortuitously plugged the hole in the now burned-through O-Ring. It was only because Challenger, at 58 seconds, was struck by the strongest wind gust in the history of any launch that the 'plug' was dislodged - causing the now infamous blowtorch-like flame to spout from the SRB precipitating the shuttle's destruction. Challenger required little over a minute after the moment of its break-up to reach the point where the SRB's fuel would have been exhausted and they could have safely detached from the shuttle - thus allowing the Challenger, and its crew, to safely reach space. See more »
Each orbiter shuttle was built differently. In the beginning stock launch footage used to represent the telecast for the STS-51L launch (the loss of Challenger) particularly at the moment of main engine start is clearly that of a different vehicle. The tail does not match that of OV-099 Challenger, but rather one of the newer vehicles that used fewer black silica tiles (most likely OV-104 Atlantis). See more »
What is science? Science is a way to teach how something gets to be known, in as much as anything can be known because nothing is known absolutely.
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i remember what I was doing when the Challenger blew up,, I was eating breakfast laying in bed,, home for school.. first time we got off for MLK day,, back when it was a federally mandated holiday,, William Hurt did an awesome job with this,, very good acting,, totally credible,, it was amazing to see just how much of a cover up there really was going on at NASA,,after all those accidents there for awhile,, people were saying that NASA stood for not another shuttle accident.. I know it's cruel,, but there was more than just that accident... also the company that NASA dealt with Morton Tyicol I believe they too were at fault and tried to cover the whole thing up,,, I enjoyed the movie very much, as was glad to see that the Challenger Disaster was finally put to the screen.
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