MAIN ARTICLE: "NASA reports graphic details of Columbia deaths."
Poll Results: Yesterday's poll was scratched.
Star Trek: In the News. Hollywood is counting on Star Trek to boost falling numbers. Scroll down to read the latest.
Yesterday's Comments: "Gimme my damn space news NOW" - Rodger Fox
Today's Poll: Space Shuttle: keep flying past 2010 or be retired as planned.
A new, chilling, 400 page document by:
NASA reports graphic details of Columbia deaths
"WASHINGTON – Seat restraints, pressure suits and helmets of the doomed crew of the space shuttle Columbia didn't work well, leading to "lethal trauma" as the out-of-control ship lost pressure and broke apart, killing all seven astronauts, a new NASA report says. At least one crew member was alive and pushing buttons for half a minute after a first loud alarm sounded, as he futilely tried to right Columbia during that disastrous day Feb. 1, 2003.
In fact, by that time, there was nothing anyone could have done to survive as the fatally damaged shuttle streaked across Texas to a landing in Florida what would never take place.
But NASA scrutinizes the final minutes of the shuttle tragedy in a new 400-page report released Tuesday. The agency hopes to help engineers design a new shuttle replacement capsule more capable of surviving an accident. An internal NASA team recommends 30 changes based on Columbia, many of them aimed at pressurization suits, helmets and seatbelts.
As was already known, the astronauts died either from lack of oxygen during depressurization or from hitting something as the spacecraft spun violently out of control. The report said it wasn't clear which of those events killed them.
And in the case of the helmets and other gear, three crew members weren't wearing gloves, which provide crucial protection from depressurization. One wasn't in the seat, one wasn't wearing a helmet and several were not fully strapped in. The gloves were off because they are too bulky to do certain tasks and there is too little time to prepare for re-entry, the report notes.
Had all those procedures been followed, the astronauts might have lived longer and been able to take more actions, but they still wouldn't have survived, the report says.
The new report comes five years after an independent investigation panel issued its own exhaustive analysis on Columbia, but it focused heavily on the cause of the accident and the culture of NASA."
You can find a link to the full PDF file here: NASA Reports
Yesterday's poll was scratched. Due to a "technical" difficulty. I technically screwed it up. My apologies and will be more careful.
It will be rerun tomorrow.
STAR TREK: In the News.
"Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Hollywood studios are looking to big-budget sequels, including "Star Trek" and "Harry Potter," to reverse this year’s decline in movie attendance and ticket sales."
Can one movie save hollywood? Maybe if it has James Kirk in it, we will find out this summer.
Bill White provided a link to a recent New York Times article that gives a detailed run down on the Ares I.
"Extended NASA transition article in NYT
Continue to fly the shuttle orbiter?
Pressure has grown to keep the shuttles flying. In July, former Senator John Glenn of Ohio said in testimony before the House Science and Technology Committee that he favored flying the shuttles until the Constellation craft were ready to fly. "I never thought I would see the day when the world’s richest, most powerful, most accomplished spacefaring nation would have to buy tickets from Russia to get up to our station," said Mr. Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth.
Continuing shuttle flights has also been proposed by the New Democracy Project, a group with strong ties to John D. Podesta, a co-chairman of the Obama transition team.
To Mr. Griffin, though, such proposals threaten to scuttle the new space program by hijacking billions of dollars that could go to Constellation development. He also argues that the shuttle’s considerable risks make it unsafe to continue flying it. In an interview in November, Mr. Griffin defended the program he has put in place."
As part of President Bush's Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) it calls for the retirement of the aging space shuttle in 2010. If it flys past that date it would have to be recertified, a long and costly process. After the Shuttle completes the International Space Station it was supposed to stop flying but President Elect Obama already stated he would like to see it fly one more time to bring a very expensive experiment to the space station. Should we keep flying it until the new system is built and working or free up the funding for something else.