13:52:05 GMT First Clear Indication of Off-Nominal Aero Increments
February 1, 2014 7:34 AM Subscribe
Eleven years ago, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over the skies of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana. It was the result of an incident that had taken place at take-off fifteen days earlier that saw a large piece of foam being hit by the leading edge of the orbiter wing at roughly 970 feet per second (630 MPH or 1013 km/hr). It took some time to convince engineers that a foam impact could have had such monumental effect. For that reason, Scott Hubbard and the rest of the CAIB ordered a test at the Southwest Research Institute to recreate the conditions of the strike. The first test on June 16th did not yield much interesting insight. The results of the second impact test on July 7th did. A loud gasp could be heard from the crowd attending the test. Here is the leading edge of tested orbiter wing before and after the July 7th impact.
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