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First Shuttle launch Columbia 1981

by Bob Parker • 362,965 views

Network coverage of first shuttle launch April 12, 1981.

Space Shuttle Launches with the unfortunate exceptions of Challenger and Colombia have become routine overtime. A generation far removed from the moon mission needs something to inspire them again Orion will do just that.
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+Randy Sager Yes, and damaged tiles were not the issue either. The foam punched a hole in the wings leading edge which contains not even one tile.
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Oy duh thank you.  I'm not being sarcastic I had an old blond moment. 
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I love how excited the truly were watching the shuttle lift off for the very first time. So sad it ended.
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+Th3uNn3rV3d Even the reporters sounded patriotic that day...you'd probably not be able to catch one dead being patriotic these days, except maybe at Fox News, and then they'd be accused of doing nothing but spewing propaganda. :/
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+Th3uNn3rV3d Just on to something better.
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Great technological triumph that ultimately was a retreat. An overly complicated and dangerous method of getting to LEO. Now with the successful test launch of Orion, let's hope it leads to NASA getting back out there to do some real space exploration that captures the public's imagination again. All depending on funding of course.....
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While I agree with the sentiment, we also need to see it in the context of the time. It was not, as you know, a choice of 'STS or something else', it was a choice of 'STS or nothing'.
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Yes, very true... Unfortunately...
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'American Thunder in the Sky'!!...... respect from England! 
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+Steve Ward Worst by what measure? He's pretty bad, but compared to Bush, he's the best President in our young history. Christ that guy (bush) was a nightmare.
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beautiful, why are there no more!!!???
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+Zara Lockwood I ask myself that same question all the time. I'm excited for Orion and Commercial Crew, but they should have kept the Shuttle operational until something was ready to go to replace it!!
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Who announces the take off process anyway and why? That's been bugging me for a while
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Lol fuckin dewayne, cmon dewayne...
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+TheNw1218 In the early days of the shuttle program, the pre-launch commentator (the guy who said "We've gone for main engine start..." etc) was a man named Hugh Harris. I think the post-liftoff commentator (the one who said things like "The altitude is now too high for ejection seat use..." etc) was Jack King. The other voices were the controllers, capcom, flight crew and reporters talking over everyone else. At least since the Gemini days, NASA has provided a Public Address Officer to narrate what is going on during missions.
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Does SRB ignition happen at the same time as main engine ignition?
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+Theodore Barkley +Andrew Ruckel That "twang" is actually why they waited 6.6 seconds after engine start to light the SRBs--the original plan was to fire them after three seconds, when the shuttle "stack" rocked back to vertical after the towards-the-ET "kick" from the SSME start, but at that point the orbiter was actually moving downward (towards the ground) on the rebound from the initial twang. The engineers decided lifting off at that point would put too much strain on the Orbiter/ET attach mounts, so they added another three seconds to the countdown to let the stack rock fully towards-the-orbiter and have the orbiter rebounding upwards at the moment of liftoff. That's why, on this flight, they lit the SSMEs at T-3 seconds, and actually lifted off at T+3 seconds, with Mission Elapsed Time resetting to zero at actual time of liftoff--the decision to wait six seconds was made too late in the game to modify the STS-1 countdown. And given that at least two of the five on-the-pad RSLS aborts happened with less than T-3 seconds before liftoff, they may have unknowingly dodged a couple of future RTLS aborts by making that change!!
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When did the ET get orange insulation? I'd never seen it white before!
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+etothepi STS-1 and STS-2 had white paint on their ETs. Starting with STS-3 it was left unpainted to save about 600 pounds in weight!!
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Dang I thought this was the one that exploded. I am disappoint.
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I remember that launch. I was about ready to freak before the shuttle rose out of that cloud on the launchpad.  REmembering the liquid fuel only launches of the apollo days, they were a lot less drama. 
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George Bush speaking at 3:20 ?!  lol, the guy has got almost the same voice of former US president, isn't ?
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+MatteoTN I think it was Apollo veteran Gene Cernan. It did sound like HW though!!
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Eject, seriously? I thought there were no ejection seats whatsoever on any shuttle. Guess the reporter had no idea.
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There were ejection seats on the first test flights!
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Initially the shuttle did have ejection seats, however they determined it was not feasible so they removed them.
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"American Thunder in the Skies." Love it!
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Brings back good memories when I was a boy watching with jaw dropped.
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Watch the movie Evacuate Earth. If we are ever in the situation where we know a neutron star is going to hit Earth, we'll be happy we have a space program.
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That's awesome.  I used to live in Mulberry, FL, which is 30 east of Tampa, and I got to see several shuttles go up.  Mulberry was probably about 120 miles from the Cape, but you could still see the shuttle.  I the first shuttle I got to witness live was Space Shuttle Discovery in 1988.  I was in 9th grade and the entire school got to go to the bleachers and watch it.  Our bleachers faced east, so it was the perfect seat.  It was first shuttle that had been launched since the challenger disaster.  Then in 89 or 90 I got to witness a night launch, that was breath taking.  It lite up the entire night sky.
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Back when America had something to be proud of.
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Mike Bledsoe Shared on Google+ · 4 months ago
First Space Shuttle Launch 1981
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If only science received as much funding as sport...
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"And it seems as if NASA is just one giant acronym." Good observation, NASA is indeed an acronym. Giant? I can't say.
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The shuttle was a good concept, derailed by budget cuts. The initial plan was a fully reusable system, of a spaceplane type booster, which would fly back and return. But the idiots in Washington would rather spend money on B-1 and B-2 Bombers than give NASA a proper budget to work with. It's like building a bridge out of balsa wood because you can't afford steel. 
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We need both moon and Mars colonies, in huge bio domes with plant life. Maybe even start the first phase's of terraforming another world. Think of all of the jobs it would create. Not to mention the science we would discover, it would spill over into other industries, bettering our society. Our future lies beyond the stars for earth will not last forever, we must continue to explore!
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how do we "need a mars colony?" the moon, perhaps. and the. i wouldn't even necessarily consider that a "need"
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+alitlweird We don't "need" a Mars colony, but then again, we didn't "need" computers, or cars, or planes, or basically anything we as humans have created. Life was doing just fine without it. So, it may not seem like a need, but nothing else was either. Nowadays, all of those are considered needs, so maybe colonization on another planet is a "need" too, we just haven't realized it yet.
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I think VIP was so lux at that time. We are on a vip center, we are waiting at vip place, people are so happy here in VIP center..lol :D
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John Young has The Right Stuff !
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wow! i'd have DIED if I had been there!
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2:12, Fck her right in the Psy
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4:50 Is where the actual launch is.
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Sadly the Space Shuttle showed just how backwards the space program has been since the early 70's  We went from going to the moon to using a space vehicle that didn't even break earth orbit and used that technology for over 30 years when we should have made it to Mars by now.
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Yes and no. The shuttle was part of a much larger and more ambitious post Apollo space program that was supposed to include a massive space station, a base on the moon, and a Mars landing program. The shuttle was supposed to build the station from which deep space missions would be staged, and would be used to ferry the crews and equipment to the station when it was completed. The Nixon administration cut everything BUT the shuttle, leaving us with a space truck with nothing to haul, at least untill the ISS finally came along.
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Going to Mars will be a difficult thing to do. And that does not count trying to fund the program.  I would like to see it happen also.
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Ah, I watched this as a kid back then. It was a huge deal at the time. Then people lost interest, and they even stopped broadcasting the launches.
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This is like Topgun but for astronauts.
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What was this ejection process he mentioned. I dont think there was one.
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Apparently they used to have modified SR-71 ejection seats in Columbia until the 5th Shuttle launch. They decided to remove them because of speculations on how effective they would be.
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Unbelievably awesome! I was a sophmore in high school when this shuttle was launched in 1981! Great historic memories!
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I remember watching this launch on TV at school one day in 5th grade :)
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+MilitantAntiTheist i remember this to, i was -9 years old
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I remember whaching this to, i was in 7th grade
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Basically a plane put on the side of a rocket. Probably the most crazy Space Craft ever built....awesome :D
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In March, 1987, I had a job interview at Rocketdyne at the fuel pump division. I got to see the engine test stand and some other exotic stuff. It was the Disneyland of engineering. :-)
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Woah that's like a dream
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Challenger and Columbia had wonderful "ejection" seats?
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Frank Reynolds and Jules Bergman had co-anchored ABC's space coverage from the start oif Apollo through the early Shuttle era. Bergman had anchored and/or co-anchored ABC space coverage all the way back to the Mercury 7 days.
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Is that Gene Cernan commenting on the launch?
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I miss these days..
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we never sent a man to the moon. space shuttle is a lie also. why ?
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Such an admirable thing.... just shows the ingenuity of the human spirit and its resolve.
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Anybody know why the external tank was white for the first two launches only? I do.
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Unbelievable to imagine this system was un-tested in flight except for a "glide" test of the orbiter. What's even more outstanding is it worked perfectly. God- damn if the United States doesn't have some engineering know-how !
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I was a teenager when this amazing event took place. I remember watching it on TV and I grabbed my cassette recorder and threw it up to my TV and recorded what I could. I still have the tape. How awesome was this???
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Watching this live was terrifying. This was the first time any Shuttle was launched and many wondered how such a big ship could be launched. Also note the color of the external tank being White 
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"It seems like NASA is just one giant acronym" Wel.... it kind of is...
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I was part of it. yep. I was at NASA GSFC at that time and I was 19
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Never realized how amazing the shuttle program was until it was no more. While I believe going to Mars is stupid at this point and frankly impossible I do believe we should return to the Moon. I believe we should set up some type of space station around the moon and from there a station on the Moon its self. 
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Whatever we say about USA, we got to admit that they helped humanity to expand our knowledge of the Universe... Thank you :)
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Guys can we please hold off on political/religious hate comments this is a video about the immense beauty of space exploration and discovering new things.
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This happened when Americans were still thankful and proud to be Americans.
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+Reflex Point The Moon missions greatly improved our knowledge of living in micro/zero gravity environment, and also gave us experience in EVAs on the surface of another celestial body. The rockets used (Saturn) greatly affected our current technologies, and so did the capsule; it's not a coincidense that the new Orion capsule looks similar to the Apollo capsule.
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That is 100% correct. It was when Americans didn't wave EBT cards proudly, or wear pajamas to Walmart or have to compete with illegal immigrants for jobs. We were a proud people but that pride has gone by the wayside. Now I hate to bring up politics but when the First Lady says "for the first time in my life I'm proud of my country" that is telling.
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THIS IS THE AMERICA I REMEMBER WHEN IT WAS OK TO BE JUST AN AMERICAN AND WANTED TO BE BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE ON THE PLANET...NOW AMERICA IS AN EMBARRASMENT THANKS TO OBAMAS WORLD BOW TOUR HIS FIRST TERM AND THE LACK OF PRIDE FROM OUR KIDS...THE X GEN ME GEN HAS FUCKED UP AND CREATED THE ENTITLEMENT GEN THAT WILL MAKE US THIRD WORLD BEFORE TRICENT!  SAD!
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That was probably the least reassuring news intro ever.
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A prayer will help, lol. SCIENCE!!!
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how many people watched this happen live???
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Was RTLS actually possible? With everything I've read, I just don't see it happening. I've heard it called an unnatural act of physics. Sounds about right.
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It could up until a certain point (You'll hear them call a few different marks in the video). The shuttle would disconnect from anything still attached and glide like a plane back to the airport at the space center, the same way it does during re-entry. After the point of no return there are other bases around the world where they could land in an emergency.
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Yeah. RTLS is possible up to the "no return" call. I still can't imagine how they'd do that. Everything I've read about it sounds like they're thinking "well, I guess it's worth a shot." Fly til the SRBs burn out (there's nothing they can do til that), flip over, burn the engines retrograde to negate downrange speed, then start flying back to KSC. Drop the tank, glide, and hope for the best.
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Man, what happened to our sense of exploration?
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Matt, I know a lot of things that most folks do not, which is now the exact reason why my beliefs have changed etc. . . now, what I can tell you for certain is this... When you go on vacation and you see the sites you wanted to see, you've done all you can do, do you feel the strong urge to keep going back? It's the same with them and space.  My point is this, NASA is NOT a private / public agent. They ARE governed by other entities. Things that I know, and believe now, are that NASA, as well as a select few of other people, know SO MUCH MORE about the solar system and universe than we will ever know. They know way more about Mars than what they're telling us, way more about the moon even. I know they are hiding tons of secrets from us and pretty much everything you see Nasa doing today isn't exactly what they're telling us.  There are very good, and very real reasons why we do not go back to the moon (by man), one of the reasons being that they already know about the moon and what it has to offer. We have a military presence in space. It has been there a while and is growing exponentially. Why? Because of the things they discovered in the last 40 years.  Essentially, my answer to you is this, as far as "We the people" go... we have no business being in space. We're not ready. We know it, "they" know it... but the elitest in this world DO NOT know it... They do not waste billions of money now to explore as much as we used to, simply because they now know the things they wanted to know prior. 
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"Man, what happened to our sense of exploration?" Some of it is on Mars(rovers), aint it?
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first launch  my Birthday  April 12th    
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alot of the audio from mission control was used in Rush's song Countdown off their Signals album.
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I have an audio tape of this with me and my grandmother watching!  I taped 20 minutes before and then another 20 after (120 minute tape).  Brings back memories of being a kid and my amazing gram!
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I remember watching this on my dad's 14inch black and white TV when I was 12 years old. 
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Space Shuttle Forever!!!!!!!!!!
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how many of this shuttles got blown up two or three?
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0. Challenger disintegrated due to extreme g-forces on the stack when the solid propellant burning through the SRB o-ring destroyed the SRB lower support, causing the SRB to begin rotating around it's upper support. This simultaneously caused massive shift in thrust and caused the top of the SRB to collide with the main tank, resulting in rupture of the main tank, igniting the liquid propellants at near explosive velocity, which contributed to the growing g-forces impacting upon the stack. However, by this time the Challenger was already disintegrating. There was no explosion. Technically ;-)
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The Challenger experienced an O Ring failure due to inclement weather (They shouldn't have launched at 36 degrees F) and it caused a stream of ignited solid rocket propellant from the right aft field joint to hit directly onto the external tank near the base of the liquid hydrogen compartment. 58 seconds into flight telemetry states they started veering off course due to erratic movements in the SRB also caused by the same stream of ignited propellant. Pressure changes were also visible then. 73 seconds into the flight the external tank blew up and the crew cabin, (left i think) wing and forward cargo bay were visible after break up. The crew cabin did survive but all 7 Astronauts died. Their time of death is unknown. After searching 50% of the entire launch vehicle was recovered. Including the bodies.
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those guys have guts!!!
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that guy finds it very hard to count down from 15..
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I remember this; I was 5 years old and knew how special this was. I think my mom kept me home from school that day, if I'm not mistaken.
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If they would have put the rockets on the bottom of the shuttle both accidents would have not happened.
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It runs a shiver down my spine when he says, "now of course the only way they could get out in the event of some difficulty is to eject"... assuming that, of course, there would be some such facility on such a vehicle... and the second of hesitation in his voice. There would be such a facility... wouldn't there?
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I saw a night launch in January 1996 when I was in Florida.  Freakin amazing, it lit the sky up like the sunrise.
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When the shuttles engines fired, Someone said: Come on baby...
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+Roblox Rulez. An Apollo astronaut. One of a handful of people to walk on the moon.
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I was there at the time. We slept overnight in an outside area at KSC because we knew someone with VIP passes. All night long the loudspeakers kept going off with "Stay close to this area, because there are alligators and snakes in the surrounding area." Luckily, no one had an encounter before the launch.
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I was 9 when this was going on, I remember every tv had every one round it. And every one was welcome to get a view. Epic day USA weldone
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recall watching the launch and landing of the first shuttle so well...
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This shuttle should have been retired in 2001 before its advanced age could become a problem. 
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Jenny M, The main reason why the accidents happened was just because of NASA's arrogance by thinking it would perform perfect all the time.
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+Chris Thompson The manufacturer (Thiokol) warned NASA about a possibility that the O-rings would fail if it was subjected to very cold temperatures, NASA ignored the notes, even the former CEO warned them about the situation.
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+MK3424 Okay...this has forced me to go back and do some reading.  I think we're both right to a certain extent (though you more than me, maybe).  The infamous conference call between Thiokol and NASA ended with Thiokol conceding that the flaws in the O rings were within acceptable limits and approved the go ahead.  But now I see that this issue goes back almost 10 years prior to the accident.  It looks like Thiokol knew of design flaws in their O rings but did not publish the data.  Later, NASA staffers had concerns about the designs but management did not forward those concerns up the chain nor to Thiokol. During that conference call, Thiokol did express concerns about the O rings but NASA opposed the delay.  The NASA guys on the call did not know 1) Thiokol's earlier research, or 2) internal concerns about the rings.  The Thiokol guys gave in to NASA because they didn't know about NASA's internal concerns about the rings.  Also, both sides agreed that if the primary O ring did fail then it's backup would kick in.  However, NASA regulations stated that if a system or part is deemed "critically 1" then relying on backups was not acceptable.  It looked like the O ring was re-designated critically 1 5 years earlier.  What a freaking mess.  Thanks for the correction and making me learn.
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The crew was be John Young & Robert Crippen
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Me and a couple of buddies cut class to see this live on TV and I'm glad I did now. It was less then 2 months before graduation from high school and sometimes ya gotta say WTF. Told Dad some months later and he was cool with it, after all it was the fricking first shuttle launch.
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How did the STS missions cost that much? The whole thing was completely re-usable was it not? It's not as if fuel was extremely expensive
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+Kevin Doyle You're nothing more than a typical keyboard douchebag. If you have nothing positive to contribute, why bother at all? Your hole is beckoning you. Jerk. 
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Thanks to Reagan, the Space Shuttle program was FINALLY able to get off the ground. Due to liberals during the Ford and Carter Administrations, this program was delayed considerably for some years, as liberals don't believe in America, the Constitution or technological progress.
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The future is private companies and private space exploration (to a significant extent, at least).
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Love this! Gene Cernan's excitement was fantastic. I'd forgotten how he was almost a cheerleader that morning.
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Totally agree.  He made this clip a 15 out of 10.  Really great emotion.
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Well. Neither blew up in effect. Challenger was destroyed when gases escaped from a booster and ruptured the external tank, which exploded, destroying Challenger. In fact the crew compartment with the crew hit the ocean intact. Columbia (as said earlier) was destroyed on re-entry was hot gas got into the wing from a hole created when a piece of foam hit the wing leading edge on lift off. The very, very sad part of this is that both disasters could have been avoided in terms of saving the crews.
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This, I just toured ATK and they learned a LOT from this.  I met the director of Space Shuttle operations and they had many late nights
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When its successful, it is the most impressive thing mankind can do
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The slow lift-off is a dead give-away of HOAX.
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+Gordon Freeman "you can't deny that" What first-hand-knowledge do you have?  What have you seen with your own eyes (LIVE) ?
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+Schpankme Verimuch You watched the shuttle lift-off in this video, and there are many other videos. I whish I could've seen the space ehuttle lift-off with my own eyes. Why say this is a hoax?. What's the next thing you're going to say, that satellites are fake?.
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#Teachers: My science teacher in 5th grade; Mr. Mestler (Mt. Holly, New Jersey 1981) made us watch this launch in school ~ made us stay in for recess so we didn't miss it. We weren't pleased and I recall being "bored" UNTIL I saw the engines fire up. That was something I never forgot. I never got to thank him. I went back (many) years later but he had passed away many years prior. I wish I could have told him how much his inspiration and enthusiasm for science influenced me. Thank You Mr. Mestler First Shuttle launch Columbia 1981
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I had a typing teacher that everyone considered a hard ass but looking back he was probably one of the best teachers I've ever had.  He taught me discipline and practice practice practice.
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All of the space shuttles were retired in 2011 after completion of the International Space Station. We can only hope the lessons learned will be applied to a new vehicle.
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no, i wasn't trying to be a dick dude. i was honestly trying to understand wtf you were saying. i could care less about your grammer. i honestly thought you meant to use periods. but yea it seems to make sense now. lol
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They should have only had 3 launches (after semi-refurbishment was shown) and then they should have gone back to Saturn 1B or Gemini after is was clear Shuttle was never going to remotely come close to what was promised.
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lmao, some internet troll saying "we" thinking he speaks for everyone
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One of the greatest ships to ever set sail on the new ocean. Crippen And Young were some ballsy pioneers
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