Survivors of the Shuttle Incident... Jul 6, 2005 15:46:56 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 6, 2005 15:46:56 GMT -6
Men with ties to Columbia disaster deal with shuttle's return
SPACE CENTER, Houston (AP) -- Each man had an intimate tie to the Columbia disaster. Two were in Mission Control trying to save the shuttle and its crew, and two were 900 miles away at the Florida landing strip waiting for a spacecraft that would never come.
For more than two years, these four NASA employees at Johnson Space Center have struggled with grief and guilt and dealt in their own way with the shuttle's return to flight.
One will repeat his role as launch and entry flight director when Discovery blasts off soon. Two others will take part in the mission as well. The fourth, robbed of a wife when Columbia crashed, has dedicated his career to making future spacecraft safer.
Flight director LeRoy Cain dashed all hope for Columbia and its crew when he issued this chilling command to his Mission Control team: "Lock the doors."
With those three words came a lockdown of Mission Control and a lengthy, gut-wrenching investigation into Columbia's destruction as it headed home on February 1, 2003...
Charles Hobaugh's deep, calming voice from Mission Control was the last one that the Columbia astronauts heard from the outside before they died.
He was the capcom, or capsule communicator for Columbia's re-entry, a space shuttle pilot assigned to the normally coveted job of speaking to astronauts in flight.
Charles Hobaugh will serve as capsule communicator during a segment of Discovery's mission.On that Saturday morning in February 2003, though, no one replied. Hobaugh kept asking for a communication check with Columbia. "Comm check." "Comm check." "Comm check." There was no reply, only silence...
Wayne Hale will give the final "go" for Discovery's launch and make all key decisions during the flight.To Wayne Hale's "everlasting shame," his name appears prominently in the Columbia accident investigation report -- the chapter on NASA's woeful decision-making during the doomed flight.
Hale had just taken a new launch job in Cape Canaveral, Florida at the beginning of 2003, after years as a flight director in Houston. Worried engineers approached him the day after Columbia's liftoff, asking him to request spy satellite pictures of Columbia's left wing. Five days passed before he put in a request -- to the wrong Defense Department representative
Dr. Jon Clark
Dr. Jon Clark plans to join other family members of the Columbia astronauts for Discovery's July launch.Dr. Jon Clark thinks every day about quitting his job as a NASA neurologist. But he doesn't.
"I've got my very, very, very, very dedicated reason" for staying at Johnson Space Center: spacecraft survival.
Clark's astronaut wife, Laurel, died aboard Columbia...
Read about the entire accounts here: www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/07/04/ties.to.columbia.ap/index.html
It's a rough ordeal.