Disaster "Challenger": 30 years later
• The disaster "Challenger" 30 years later
January 28, 1986 at the 73 th second after the start there was a destruction of the shuttle "Challenger." Was the cause of the accident damage the sealing ring solid booster. Leakage of hot gases allowed to burn accelerator and right body burn through its connection to the fuel tank. accelerator housing hit the top of the fuel tank, destroying it and causing the explosion of liquid hydrogen.
The capsule with seven astronauts survived the collapse of the orbiter. The investigation revealed that some members of the crew activated the air supply devices, it has also been switched several tumblers. It is believed that only the astronauts killed when the capsule hit the surface of the ocean. It is hoped that the cabin depressurized and they quickly lost consciousness. Fall from a height of 15 kilometers of counting the seconds until death - I do not want to imagine it. The shuttle had no means of emergency rescue crew.
The disaster "Challenger" was a huge blow for the entire program the shuttle. In the 1980s, in the best traditions of the Stakhanovite, NASA has sought to increase the maximum intensity of their runs. In 1985, the shuttles flew into space a record 9 times. January 12, 1986 went into space shuttle "Columbia", "Challenger" was launched just 16 days after its launch.
A team of "Challenger". 30 years ago she embarked on her last journey.
In total that year shuttles were supposed to go into space about 15 times. According to the plan, the spacing between some of launches had to be only a few days. After a disaster, "Challenger" all this had to forget. Shuttles remained on the ground for almost three years, and when he finally returned to space, is due to the revision of safety standards will never fly with such intensity. After the "Challenger" you can finally forget about the self-sufficiency program. The idea to completely abandon the use of disposable rockets shuttles also safely sunk into oblivion. But this is only part of the consequences.
The shuttles will never be used to output on commercial satellites into orbit. After a disaster, "Challenger" shuttle performed a scientific mission to fly or on request of the Pentagon. No more paid by insurance companies missions, such as to fly in space, collect bred on the wrong orbit satellites and return them to Earth. Always stay on the ground to move the installation in open space MMU. According to the new safety standards, the use of space of motorcycles was considered too dangerous.
Most headaches received military who have invested billions of dollars in the construction of launching complex SLC-6 at Vandenberg. From there, the shuttle had to display goods on polar and sun-synchronous orbit. The first launch was scheduled for the summer of 1986. Shortly after the "Challenger" disaster from idea to run shuttles from the west coast refused.
The disaster "Challenger" indirectly lead to another catastrophe. Because the shuttle standing at the factory laid PEPCON, for solid fuel produces accelerators were large inventory of unused ammonium perchlorate. May 4, 1988 where there was a fire, which led to detoninatsy series, leveling the entire production. Capacity of the largest of the explosions was about a kiloton.
The big blow was struck, and the scientific program. After the revision of safety standards, NASA abandoned the use of powerful acceleration Centaur-G units that could provide research apparatuses flight to other planets in a straight trajectory without gravity maneuvers. This has a negative impact on the mission of "Galileo" and "Ulysses." Their launch was scheduled for 1986, but they went into space, respectively, only in the years 1989 and 1990, and their flight to the target because of the refusal of the Centaur-G lasted much longer than was originally planned.
For the "Galileo" in general all almost ended very sad way. Due to the change of the trajectory, and the inclusion of Venus spans, it was decided not to deploy its antenna while the unit will not depart to a safe distance from the sun. As a result, the antenna is not opened at all. So that throughout the mission station was in contact with Earth through the auxiliary antenna.
Another postponed due to the termination of shuttle flights became a research mission "Magellan." But there is a delay was just over a year. Where essential for astronomers became downtime space telescope "Hubble". He had to go into space in September 1986, but eventually flew only in the spring of 1990.
And this is only part of the consequences of the disaster "Challenger" was truly a huge impact on the entire development of the American space program. Was it possible to avoid it? Probably. It would have changed something? I think no. Given the numerous design and organizational failures, a huge underestimation of the risk (the probability of the disaster was estimated by NASA in a fantastic 1 100 000), and then, with what intensity were to fly shuttles, something like this would inevitably happen. Simply, we would probably know it as a catastrophe "Discovery" or say "Atlantis."
The destruction of the space shuttle "Challenger."
The legendary Richard Feynman, a member of a commission to investigate the disaster "Challenger" and tell the general public about its reasons, summed up the whole story with the following phrase: "The successful development of technology reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature can not be fooled."