US Space Disasters

Just thinking about it, all three space tragedies for the US, are around the same date:

Apolo 1.

Gus Grissom, Edward White II, Roger Chafee.

Fire during launch simulation.

January 27, 1967.

Challenger STS51-L.

Greg Jarvis,  Christa McAuliffe, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee.

Explosion in rocket booster during lauch, due to O-Ring failure because of cold temperatures.

January 28, 1986.

Columbia STS-107.

Rick D. Husband, Willam McCool, Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Lauriel B. Clark, Ilan Ramon.

Disintegration of orbital vehicle due to failure in thermal protection on the left wing. The thermal protection system was compromised during launch when a piece of frozen foam insulation broke off the main fuel tank.

February 1st, 2003



Today I visited Diefenbunker. Creepy cool and very interesting. All the clichés from Nuclear Disaster movies of the 80s become real.

As part of the exhibit, there were a couple of big maps of Ottawa depicting the radius of nuclear explosions and listing calculations of casualties and damages.  One was (obviously) centered on Parliament Hill, and in such scenario, my house around the airport in the south, would have survived the initial blast from a 1 KT bomb. There was other one centering the explosion at CFB Leitrim, a crypto-radar installation, and it’s less than a couple of kilometers from my house, which would have been instantly turned to ashes.

It was fun to see how a mini government would have been protected here. Diefenbunker was the site assigned to protect the Prime Minister, Secretariat Office (PMO?), since it was a military base until decommissioned in 1994 top brass from National Defense would also be there, and there are offices for the major ministries, Foreign Affairs, and Public Works, but it was surprising to see an office for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, what for? Also, there were no provisions for the Members of Parliament, at least not in Diefenbunker. I guess there were also alternate arrangements for the Governor General. There was a network of around 60 of these sites in Canada, Diefenbunker being the last one of them preserved as a National Monument and a museum.

“One nuclear bomb could ruin your day.” (Quote from  a t-shirt on the store)