Challenger Disaster – Did the Challenger Crew survive?


What if…

Capricorn One (1978) – Launching Scene



Divers from the USS Preserver located what they believed to be the crew cabin on the ocean floor on March 7, 1986. A dive the following day confirmed that it was the cabin and that the remains of the crew were inside. No official investigation into the Challenger disaster has determined the cause of death of the astronauts; it is almost certain that the disintegration itself did not kill the entire crew as 3 of the 4 Personal Egress Air Packs (PEAPs) that were recovered had been manually activated. This would only be done during an emergency or loss of cabin pressure. PEAPs do not provide a pressurized air flow and would still have resulted in the astronauts losing consciousness within several seconds. There were media reports alleging that NASA had a tape recording of the crew panicking and on-board conversation following the disintegration during the 2 minute 45 second free fall before hitting the sea east of Florida. This was likely fabricated and no recording exists, as the crew may have been unconscious from loss of cabin pressure and the astronauts did not wear individual voice recorders.

Prospect of crew escape

Unlike other spacecraft, crew escape was not possible during powered flight of the Space Shuttle. Launch escape systems had been considered during the Space Shuttle’s development, but NASA’s conclusion was that the Space Shuttle’s expected high reliability would preclude the need for one. Modified SR-71 Blackbird ejection seats and full pressure suits were used for the two-person crews on the first four Space Shuttle orbital test flights, but they were disabled and later removed for the operational flights.  Escape options for the operational flights were considered, but a decision was made not to implement them because of their complexity, high cost, and heavy weight. After the disaster, a system was implemented to allow the crew to escape in gliding flight, but this system would not have been usable to escape an explosion during ascent.

Funeral ceremonies

On April 29, 1986, the astronauts’ remains were transferred on a C-141 Starlifter aircraft from Kennedy Space Center to the military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Their caskets were each draped with an American flag and carried past an honor guard and followed by an astronaut escort. After the remains arrived at Dover Air Force Base, they were transferred to the families of the crew members. Scobee and Smith were buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Onizuka was buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. McNair was buried in Rest Lawn Memorial Park in Lake City, South Carolina, but his remains were later moved within the town to the Dr. Ronald E. McNair Memorial Park. McAuliffe was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Concord, New Hampshire. Jarvis was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean. Unidentified crew remains were buried at the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial in Arlington on May 20, 1986.

Source: Wikipedia

…the crew was not onboard?

It could be just a coincidence?



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