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Paper Topic:

Space Shuttle Columbia Accident

Space Shuttle Columbia

Introduction

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration ) is considered to be a

symbol of the United States ' pride and national identity . By taking up the challenges of

space exploration , the institution has been a driving force for putting the U .S . in the space

world . It has been through the efforts of the crew , scientists engineers and administration

of NASA that the U .S . has been able to send space shuttles deep into space to discover

new organisms , setting foot on the moon and collaborate

with other nations to set up the

ISS (International Space Station . Despite many successes , NASA has also witnessed a

series of failures . Space accidents like Apollo 1 , Apollo 13 , the Challenger and Columbia

have dotted the history of NASA 's missions . Evidence suggests that the cost of lives and

money involved in each of these so-called accidents do not justify for the large chunk of

the national budget that the government allocates for NASA every year The government

and those working within NASA need to reconsider the causes of these tragedies and take

initiatives in reorganizing the institution 's system . Opponents of NASA feel that the

institution has not really benefited the country as such , and instead incurred costs to the

public . Proponents , on the other hand , offer the view that NASA has been critical for the

US progress and future , and that accidents do happen . However , events of the Columbia

disaster , just one of the many tragedies experienced by NASA , indicate little efforts have

been made in improving the standards of shuttles and its administration which have been

the major causes for accidents in the past

On February 1 , 2003 the Space Shuttle Columbia started what was expected to be

a normal re-entry into the Earth 's atmosphere after a successful mission . The re-entry

process started at 8AM (EST . At 8 .57 AM the last transmission was received from the

Columbia and within a few minutes (at 9 .05 , residents of a small Texas town reported

hearing a large boom in the sky (Starbuck , 2005 . Within minutes it became clear that the

Columbia had in deed broken up in re-entry and a multi-agency /jurisdictional response to

the disaster was put into effect (Starbuck , 2005

Response to Accident

The response to this disaster can be evaluated in many ways as a rippling effect

The first response was within NASA itself , specifically Mission Control for this specific

space shuttle mission , but then spread throughout various branches of government , from

local police forces within the debris field to the national government Within five

minutes of widespread reports of the shuttle breaking up in the skies of Texas , the NASA

flight director declared a contingency (meaning events had led to the loss of a vehicle

and alerted search /rescue teams within the general area of the breakup (Cabbage , 2004

The flight director also ed the ground controller to lock the doors ' - meaning that

no-one could enter or leave mission control , and all data had...

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