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  1. #1
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    Challenger - where were you?

    This morning I heard on the radio a story on the Challenger disaster, 20 years later. It's hard to believe that will have happened 20 years ago tomorrow. Hearing those sound bites still just wrenches me...

    "Go with throttle up."

    "Obviously a major malfunction..."

    20 years ago I was producing news at the NBC affiliate in Huntsville, AL, the home of Marshall Space Flight Center and the focus of the investigation into what happened. The space program was such a huge part of the history of that town, and almost everybody it seemed had some ties there. We had all met those astronauts because, as you'll remember, this was the first time a civilian - a school teacher - was going to go up on a NASA flight.

    We already had a full news day that day - a double murderer had shot his way out of a state prison a few miles out of town, and a massive manhunt was under way. A few of us had one eye on the monitor while the launch was happening, but otherwise we weren't paying a bunch of attention. We had a lot going on.

    But then.

    At 10:36AM our news director walked out of his office, shell shocked, and drew a slow line through the assignment board. The day had changed.

    I remember walking into the next door grocery store after the last newscast, looking for beer and solace. The place was dead silent. Everybody was mourning.
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  2. #2
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    I was sitting in the parking lot with others in my HS journalism group. Cameras set up on tripods with big zooms. From the Gulf Coast in FL, we knew that if the sky was clear we would at least be able to see the contrails, and the shine of sunlight relecting from the Challenger. With the zooms we were hoping to get a clear enough glimpse of the shuttle for that weeks' paper..

    We were watching as the contrail became contrails...

  3. #3
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    i was in my college dorm room brushing my teeth getting ready to go to class watching the T.V. of the shuttle launch.

    i remember standing there right when it happened i thought it was some rocket separation stuff it wasn't about 10 seconds later that i realized what just happened.

    it was kinda creepy because i didn't know what to do so i went to class anyway and once i got there everyone was watching the news on a T.V. in the hallway.

    i can recall exactly what i was doing when the other space shuttle blew up and on 9/11 and when Ronald Reagan was shot

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kept man
    ps - you guys are old.
    I didn't realize that you were so fresh out of diapers...

    I do envy you though, I wish that I was still young enough that I didn't have to shave

    now go sell some books before heading to the customs office..

  5. #5
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    I was in grade 3 -

    They had been taping the launch to show us right after recess, but the bell rang early.

    It was a tiny school - two classrooms - and only a couple of teachers and a few staff. Everyone was really somber, and we knew something was up.

    We just stood there in the classroom, and watched. Everyone was pretty upset, but I was devestated.

    Two entire walls of our basement (my fave part of the haus) had been wallpapered with a giant photo of the Columbia flying over Cape Canaveral. It was the coolest. I had a giant inflatable Challenger that hung from the ceiling, and a big model that I'd built flew alongside (yes, they were both right next to the Enterprise). I was space crazy, as were my mom and sister, and it was just awful.

    It's sad to remember, but nice at the same time. Good thread, Mtngirl.



    ps - you guys are old.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingirl1961
    This morning I heard on the radio a story on the Challenger disaster, 20 years later. The place was dead silent. Everybody was mourning.
    I was teaching special ed. at South Bakersfield High School. Right before first period started a kid named, Earl walked in and said, "Hey, that spaceship just blew up!" I immediately ran to the classroom TV and turned it on. I was just in time to catch the first replay. My first reaction was, "Holy sh!t, they're all dead!"

  7. #7
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    I was in 7th Grade (I think). Had a snow day that day so my friends and I were sled riding when it happened. Didn't find out about it 'till like 4 hrs after the fact.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kept man



    ps - you guys are old.
    When Kennedy was shot, I was in 8th grade. I was in my English class when the principal turned on the school intercom. It just kind came on and a news commentator said, "it's been confirmed, the president has been shot in Dallas"

    Then a few minutes later the commentator said, "John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States is dead."

    My teacher, Mrs. Galich, burst into tears and ran out of the room. All of us kids were stunned and we just stared at each other in disbelief.

    Mr. Olsen, our homeroom teacher, came and got me and another kid (because we were both Boy Scouts) out of class to lower the school flag to half mast.

    Nov. 22, 1963, it was cloudy and overcast in Gridley that day...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sportsman
    I didn't realize that you were so fresh out of diapers...
    Hey, I sometimes still break 'em out for weekends.

    Quote Originally Posted by sportsman
    I do envy you though, I wish that I was still young enough that I didn't have to shave
    Man, nothing would make me happier than to NOT shave. I hate shaving. I'm a scruffy-looking bastard today, and have been all week ... the heat is broken in the office, so I've been wearing fleece and toques and mitts since Monday. And what scraggly facial warmth I can manage.

    Quote Originally Posted by sportsman
    now go sell some books before heading to the customs office..
    Eh, the selling starts on Sunday when I drive to North Bay. Today is getting together the wares, printing the note templates I'll leave for profs who are away, getting out my travel-sized stapler, making sure all my reservation confirmation sheets are in order, faculty lists by department, all the catalogues I need,

    Oh, and packing up the snowboard since I'm meeting up with my sister and bro-in-law at our place in Collingwood for Thurs and Fri.

    I didn't make it as an astronaut, but ah well ...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kept man
    ps - you guys are old.
    It'd be that whole 1961 thing, you goof.
    Don't ask me a question unless you really want to hear what I think.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingirl1961

    I remember walking into the next door grocery store after the last newscast, looking for beer and solace. The place was dead silent. Everybody was mourning.
    I was at work - huge defense contractor designing and building nuclear subs. Since we were a bunch of geeks designing risky tin cans stuffed with people, we went pretty quickly from stunned to "what went wrong", "how could that have happened" - the whole o-ring thing.

    They had been launching like clockwork for years so it caught everyone off guard when it went wrong. Still sucks to think about it.

  12. #12
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    and I was thinking...

    hmmmm.... an older babe that enjoys the great outdoors.....hmmmmm

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingirl1961
    It'd be that whole 1961 thing, you goof.
    hmmm...a young babe....hmmmm

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingirl1961
    It'd be that whole 1961 thing, you goof.
    Y'know, it's just one thing to see it on a page,

    but another to realize you were working ... and I was getting straight A's and leading my soccer and floor hockey teams to victory as a goalie. That's all.






    Crash! Nuclear sub design!!! Holy moly ... what is it you do now? Hardcore, my friend.

  15. #15
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    working as a researcher for Silverstein & Mullens, a DC tax law firm. I watched the replay of the explosion in the employee break/coffee room.

    follow-up Q:

    where were you when you learned that the explosion was caused by Morton Thiokol going cheap on the o-ring seals in order to maximize their profit?

  16. #16
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    I was on the management team that over ruled the technical people at Morton Thiokol. I told them to "put your management hats on".

    They dutiful complied. Even though they knew that the O-ring wouldn't seat, that the exhaust gases would bypass the seal and burn a hole through the rocket casing and destroy the aircraft.

    But, when money and public relations are more important than the possibility of mass destruction, I think we should err on the side of cash.

    I did send flowers to Christa Macullifes grave through. I got a coupon and a special deal. Only cost me $4.99. I felt lucky to not be charged with murder, which I know I did commit, but when you wear a suite and are an executive, it is amazing what crap you can get away with.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingirl1961
    This morning I heard on the radio a story on the Challenger disaster, 20 years later. It's hard to believe that will have happened 20 years ago tomorrow. Hearing those sound bites still just wrenches me...
    When it happened and I saw all the outpouring of grief, the shock, and the mourning, I was pissed and thought, "who the fock cares about the Challenger & crew, where's the grief and the 24-hour coverage over the Arrow Airlines tragedy?"

    A month earlier than the Challenger, 256 US troops from the 101st were killed when their chartered aircraft blew up on takeoff. These troops had just relieved us from our mission in the Sinai. Arrow Airlines was a lowball bidder for troop transport to the ME and they'd not pulled maintenance on their aircraft. There was no outpouring of grief for those 256 troops, it hardly even made the news. Even today, every time I think about the Challenger, I think about how the media can control the mindless population and tell them what to think, what to feel, how to act. It's all about the drama.

    Where were you when Flight 1285 went down? Who even remembers?
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kept man
    Man, nothing would make me happier than to NOT shave. I hate shaving.
    I hate shaving with a passion. That was one of the reasons why I was so happy to finally leave BYU. The ironic thing is that I shave my head (going bald sucks).

    Anyway, I was in 8th grade but was home sick. All the channels were showing the launch and then it happened.

    I was also home sick on 9/11 too. I missed the first plane in the building but was in front of the tv to watch the 2nd one live.
    Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWF

    Where were you when Flight 1285 went down? Who even remembers?
    That's an interesting post. Since I wasn't hit over the head with the story back then, I don't think I ever heard it until now. I guess the army doesn't have the gee whiz factor that the space program does, so it doesn't make for good press. Can see how this would get under your skin.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wasatch Walt
    I was on the management team that over ruled the technical people at Morton Thiokol. I told them to "put your management hats on".

    They dutiful complied. Even though they knew that the O-ring wouldn't seat, that the exhaust gases would bypass the seal and burn a hole through the rocket casing and destroy the aircraft.

    But, when money and public relations are more important than the possibility of mass destruction, I think we should err on the side of cash.

    I did send flowers to Christa Macullifes grave through. I got a coupon and a special deal. Only cost me $4.99. I felt lucky to not be charged with murder, which I know I did commit, but when you wear a suite and are an executive, it is amazing what crap you can get away with.

    you should have called my secretary. the flowers could have been not only free, but also earned you an income tax deduction of $250 per flower in a 40-flower bunch.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashtoomuch
    I guess the army doesn't have the gee whiz factor that the space program does,
    I submit that the "gee whiz" factor is better described as mouthbreathing gapers who don't know science and are "just plum impressed" with space travel.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruinane

    Anyway, I was in 8th grade but was home sick. ...
    I was also home sick on 9/11 too. .
    Maybe you should call the NSA when you feel ill.

    9-11 seems more traumatic to me. Partly because it wasn't an accident. Partly because of the barrage of media. Didn't have 250 channels, CNN or streaming video on a PC in my face when the Challenger blew.

  23. #23
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    I actually have pretty vivid memories of this as well. My dad had served in the 101st, and I was there getting ready for school (had just came back from my morning run) when he received a phone call letting him know that some friends had died.

    I didn't and don't know their names..

  24. #24
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    Good job!

    I heard the original flag was just recently recovered from the ocean floor and returned to the Boy Scout troop that gave it to the shuttle crew.
    R.I.P.
    I have one firm belief about the American political system, God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat P.J. O'Rourke





  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashtoomuch
    Maybe you should call the NSA when you feel ill.

    9-11 seems more traumatic to me. Partly because it wasn't an accident. Partly because of the barrage of media. Didn't have 250 channels, CNN or streaming video on a PC in my face when the Challenger blew.
    uh,

    Challenger wasn't an ACCIDENT either. Morton Thiokol knew the o-rings were faultily designed.

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