Gut-wrenching way Columbia astronauts learnt they were about to die as shuttle fell to Earth

By RockedBuzz 5 Min Read

Twenty years in the past, seven astronauts aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia died tragically when the craft returned to Earth after a 16-day mission in area

The seven astronauts who died on Space Shuttle Columbia wearing their orange space suits

The seven astronauts who died on Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003

NASA’s management room knew Space Shuttle Columbia could be in bother – however the crew on board had no thought till the final minute.

On February 1, 2003, seven astronauts were making ready to return to Earth after a 16-day mission in area. They were informed {that a} piece of froth insulation had damaged from the outer tank, hitting the orbiter’s port wing on takeoff, however they were certain the injury was restricted. The folks on the bottom believed that their warmth defend would nonetheless be intact.

This, nonetheless, turned out to be unsuitable. With the defend compromised, it was unlikely that the shuttle would survive re-entry into Earth’s ambiance, main to sure dying for all on board. The doomed astronauts were commander Rick Husband, pilot Willie McCool, mission specialists Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, Michael Anderson, David Brown and Ilan Ramon, the primary Israeli astronaut.

Columbia space shuttle and elevators

Space Shuttle Columbia and its crew of seven took off on January 16, 2003

The shuttle was too removed from the International Space Station to name for assist and had no robotic arm with which they might make repairs. By the time they might have reached one other shuttle, it will be too late. However, the astronauts were certain that they had nothing to fear about, little did they know that they solely had a minute to stay.

Having obtained a 10-minute warning of their descent, these aboard the shuttle had no cause to imagine they wouldn’t quickly be warmly welcomed house. The doomed colleagues placed on their fits and security gloves as the shuttle headed again to the US over the Pacific Ocean, making ready for what they believed to be a routine touchdown.

Final footage of those heartbreaking moments reveals them wanting serene as they look forward to the top of their epic journey, typically laughing and smiling at one another. At one level, they even marveled on the ‘superb’ pink glow seen outdoors their cockpit home windows.

Their colleagues on the bottom might solely watch in horror as irregular readings confirmed lacking temperature readings from sensors on the left wing, and tire stress readings were gone. Just earlier than 9am EST, Husband spoke to Mission Control for the final time, saying ‘Roger’ adopted by one other half-finished phrase earlier than interrupting the transmission.

Something on the floor in the shape of a burnt helmet

A burnt helmet discovered on the ground in Texas after the accident in February 2003

A 2008 NASA crew survival report discovered that the astronauts seemingly survived the shuttle’s preliminary breakup earlier than they realized how determined their scenario was and misplaced consciousness seconds after the cabin misplaced stress. The report cited excessive altitude and blunt trauma as the reason for their deaths.

Debris rained over jap Texas and western Louisiana in nightmarish scenes for these watching the skies beneath. After an intensive search, the our bodies of all seven astronauts were discovered. One crew member was not sporting a stress go well with helmet and three were not sporting gloves.

But the report didn’t discover that astronaut error contributed to the lack of the craft and said that it was not a salvage occasion. NASA’s Wayne Hale, who went on to turn into supervisor of the area shuttle program, opened up on his weblog about the agonizing determination the staff confronted that day.

He wrote: “If it was broken it is in all probability higher not to know. I feel the crew would moderately not know. Don’t suppose it will be higher to have a profitable flight and die to obtain unexpectedly throughout entry or wait. in orbit, understanding there was nothing to do, till the air ran out?”

A brand new three-part documentary The Space Shuttle That Fell to Earth examines the errors made by NASA that led to the dying of the crew. The third a part of the sequence might be broadcast tonight and may be streamed on iPlayer.

The Space Shuttle That Fell to Earth continues on BBC2 at 9pm tonight.

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