Monday, January 28, 2019


Hard to believe it was so long ago. I was actually on the roof of our berthing barge getting inspected by COMDESRON 5 when we heard the news from below. We went below and watched the news. Very little work got done that day.
The Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger lifts off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, Jan. 28, 1986, in a cloud of smoke with a crew of seven aboard. The shuttle exploded after this photo, taken from atop the Vehicular Assembly Building, was made. (AP Photo/Thom Baur)


  1. I was observing the first several shuttle missions from KSC from an ec121 some few miles out to sea while doing airborne surveillance for the shots. we were never directly under the launch flight path and had excellent radar on many of the launches we observed. several times during many of the launches, we found aircraft and boat traffic infringing on the cleared one time a GA cessna directly overflew the launch pad. wild times. they tracked the plane with a O2 out of patrick afb and had words.
    when the challenger blew up, I was on a ramp repairing a customers bit of kit. they came out and told me what was happening. It was a depressing day. when the technical results of the investigation for cause came out, I was indignant that nasa management was not held accountable. and EVERY loss of the shuttle program can be traced initially to a nasa management failure. Apollo one and thirteen are included in my personal assessment of nasa's failed management culture. their failures continued in later years into the unmanned exploration programs where in the simplest of things cause losses of space craft and instruments. I give you the Hubble telescope and the lost mars exploration programs where they used Km instead or Mi in their orbital calculations.
    I understand fully that in order to learn anything, one has to make mistakes. the job of management is to think first and minimize the damage and this they did not do enough of.
    something I learned long ago was to not trust my own theories in the face of conflicting facts and to never disregard facts that conflict with my own theories. It wasn't too hard for me to learn that. I see the results of that advice not being followed every day be it collisions at sea, crashed airplanes and cars, or political ineptness. at my level in the pecking order of MFWHICH all I can do is shake my head...

    1. It was when I first heard of Feynman and watched him during the analysis. Fascinating man. Would very much have enjoyed meeting him or just hearing him play his bongo drums.
      I always wanted to see a shuttle launch and even camped out at KSC for a week but that was for a counterdrug mission and there were no launches until a couple of days after we were deployed home. Back in San Diego I always that I could get up to Vandenberg and watch a launch or recovery but that wasn't how my life worked back then.