Monday, September 28, 2015

History of the Challenger Disaster (Updated)

History of the Challenger Disaster

On January 28 1986 the NASA association sent a space shuttle called the Challenger (OV-099) which was designated to land at Kennedy Space Center but blew up 73 seconds into it's flight.      

Francis R. Scobee, Commander
Michael J. Smith, Pilot
Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist
Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist
Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist
Greg Jarvis, Payload Specialist
Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist   

Original (3000 × 2400)

On the day of the catastrophic disaster it was unusually cold and extremely icy. At 11:38 am EST (European Standard Time), the Challenger started the liftoff sequence but 73 seconds into it's flight disaster struck.
Weather Conditions
Air temperature - 28℉                                                                  
Very cold conditions and ice was in abundance.
Clear sky.

At approximately half-way through the tragic incident, the right solid rocket booster was leaking harmful plumes of pressurized burning gas which led to the structural integrity of the craft to be ripped apart by aerodynamic forces. With the hot gas flowing through a growing hole in the SRB (Solid Rocket Booster). The force of the wind shear shattered the temporary oxide seal although had it not been for the wind shear the oxide seal might have held through the booster burnout. Within a second the burning gas intensified leading to the internal pressure of the SRB  dropping because of the rapidly enlarging hole in the failed joint and there was visual evidence of flame burning on the joint and impinging on the external fuel tank.

Space Shuttle Challenger was

At approximately 60 seconds into the tragic flight, the right SRB pulled away from the aft strut attaching it to the external fuel tank. Then afterwards the aft dome of the liquid hydrogen tank failed producing a propulsive force that rammed the hydrogen tank into the liquid oxygen tank in the forward part of the external fuel tank. At the exact same time the right SRB rotated around the forward attach strut and struck the intertank structure. The external fuel tank was in a complete state of structural failure and the LH2 and LOX tanks mixed and ignited causing a fireball to cloak the craft leading to the explosion that took the life of all 7 crew members.

After the catastrophic incident known as the Challenger disaster had drawn to a close, the renown Space Shuttle program was put on hold for 2 years and upgrades to the structural safety of the shuttles was enhanced greatly. There wasn't any other incidents such as previously stated, until the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated when coming into the lower atmosphere of the earth.      

The Challenger disaster was arguably the worst catastrophe in American history which could've been easily prevented if political priorities were not of higher importance than public safety. Also if they had postponed the launch until at least February 2nd and repaired the damaged O-ring and the hole in the right-hand SRB there may not have been a disaster in the first place.
                       By Nathan 

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