THE tragedy was witnessed by millions of Americans who watched on live television for the Challenger to make history. But why did the space shuttle break apart, and how many people died? Here's what we know about the 73-second doomed flight. When was the Challenger disaster? The NASA shuttle orbiter broke apart just 73 seconds into its flight on January 28, 1986, at 11.39am local time. It was the tenth flight the Space Shuttle Challenger had taken. The spacecraft fell apart off the coast of Cape Canaveral in Florida. The crew compartment ascended to an altitude of 12.3 miles before free-falling into the Atlantic Ocean. Why did the space shuttle break apart? The vehicle began disintegrating after a join in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. This was down to the unusually cold weather that the O-ring seals were not designed to handle. As the shuttle ascended, one of the seals opened enough to allow a plume of exhaust to leak out. Hot gases than bathed the cold … [Read more...] about When was the Challenger disaster, why did the space shuttle break apart and how many people died?
The space shuttle challenger
The South African-born engineer and entrepreneur Elon Musk made his billions with an internet payments company that merged with PayPal; Jeff Bezos, meanwhile, founded Amazon. But both had long wanted to make their own spaceships, and boldly go. Now Musk has SpaceX, as well as his electric car company, Tesla Motors, and Bezos has Blue Origin. They build rockets, not all of which blow up on the launch pad. Indeed, SpaceX has become a thriving concern, blasting commercial and military satellites into orbit, and resupplying the ISS. Blue Origin has hitherto been more secretive, financed primarily by fantastic injections of Bezos's own cash, but it now has commercial missions lined up for 2020. As The Space Barons relates, our two plutocrats have intriguingly different motivations for getting humanity back into space travel. For Musk, founding a colony on Mars is a necessary Plan B to avoid the extinction of the human race by some catastrophic event, such as the collision with Earth of a … [Read more...] about The Space Barons: the Silicon Valley heavyweights in a new space race
NASA has cleared the way for Boeing (NYSE: BA) to deliver an astronaut to the International Space Station during what was supposed to be a manned test of its Starliner spacecraft, showing faith in the aerospace giant and its transport vessel to solve the growing problem of how to get American astronauts into orbit. On April 5, the space agency said it had updated its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract with Boeing to allow the test voyage to take up to six months, up from two weeks, and carry a third astronaut instead of just the previously agreed-upon two-person crew. The changes would in effect make the Starliner test flight a normal mission. Although Boeing bills itself as a jack-of-all-trades with operations spanning commercial aerospace, defense, and space, in recent years the commercial segment has been the growth engine. Space and defense generated just 22% of total revenue in 2017. If Boeing is to counter that trend, it is going to need multiple project wins on … [Read more...] about NASA Hopes to Have Boeing Delivering Astronauts to the Space Station Sooner Than Planned
Tragic US astronaut Christa McAuliffe’s lost school lessons are finally going to be taught in space. Thirty-two years after the teacher died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, a pair of teachers turned astronauts on the International Space Station will pay tribute to Ms McAuliffe by carrying out her science classes. As Nasa’s first designated teacher in space, McAuliffe was going to experiment with fluids in orbit and demonstrate Newton’s laws of motion for schoolchildren. She and six crewmates were killed after an explosion during lift-off on January 28 1986. Astronauts Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold will perform some of Ms McAuliffe’s lessons over the next several months. Mr Acaba will share the news during a TV link-up with students at Ms McAuliffe’s alma mater, Framingham State University near Boston. He will return to Earth at the end of February, while Mr Arnold heads into space up in March. … [Read more...] about Challenger victim’s lost school lessons to be taught in space
John Young, NASA’s longest-serving astronaut, who flew in space six times, walked on the moon and commanded the first space shuttle flight, has died aged 87. NASA said Young passed away at his home in Houston, Texas on Friday night (Jan. 5) following complications from pneumonia. In a career spanning three generations and as many NASA space programs, Young flew twice to the Moon, walked on its surface and flew the first Space Shuttle mission. “Today, NASA and the world have lost a pioneer," NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement, calling him the US space agency’s most experienced astronaut. Throughout his 42-year career, Young flew six times into space: twice during NASA's Gemini program in the 1960s, twice on the Apollo lunar missions and twice on space shuttles in the 1980s. He was the only person to fly on all three programs, and the ninth man to walk on the moon. He was also known for pulling out a corned beef sandwich … [Read more...] about John Young, US astronaut and space shuttle commander, dies