Category Archives: History

Romney’s Concession Speech

November 6, 2012  4:34 PM EDT

I know the polls have not closed in…well, anywhere, but the results of this election are obvious, even to a multi-millionaire like myself. We’ve lost…again.

Many complained that we lied and deceived the voters in an attempt to be elected. What were we supposed to do? Our choice was to acknowledge that President Obama did a great job in tackling the mess we created and began rebuilding the country, OR lie. We were not going to win any elections by telling the truth!

This campaign was built on the idea that we could fool people long enough to be elected President. As I said in May, 47% of Americans are too smart to be tricked by our twisting of facts, and we knew that 30% of Americans would vote for me no matter how bad we ran our campaign. So this campaign came down to sucking in less than 23% of the electorate. Unfortunately for us most of the citizens of this country are not as stupid as we had hoped. 

But you have to credit us for our bravado in our attempt to buy and lie our way into the White House:

GOP Success: Stopping America’s Recovery

  • The Economy:  Our fault, but that didn’t stop us from blaming President Obama. We almost convinced America that President Obama failed because he didn’t create full employment, didn’t pave streets in gold, nor had honey flow out of our taps in four years. 
  • Unemployment:  This one is funny, You’ll laugh. We told people that the wealthy are …ready for this..THE job creators! I know, I know. How stupid do you have to be to know that private business loves high employment. Low unemployment means employees can demand better pay, better benefits, better working schedules and all those other headaches that come when too many people have a good job. Employers now have employees by the short hairs and we’re never letting go.
  • The Recovery:  It was remarkable under the circumstances, and conservatives fought hard to keep it from happening. There are no liberals in Big Oil and they worked with us to keep prices high this year. Still, no joy.
  • The Debt:  The truth is that the Bush-era tax cuts cut knees out of the federal budget. That and two mega-wars, plus the devastation caused when my conservative banking friends wrecked the economy. Sure the stimulus and bailouts increased the nation’s debt, but none of that would have been necessary if conservative policies hadn’t put all the ingredients together for an economic disaster.
  • Big Government:  We made it sound like President Obama made massive increases in government, and yet it was George Bush that created the TSA, and other massive increases in the size of federal government. Still, we just have to say ‘big government’ to stupid people and they start to sweat. It’s kind of fun.
  • Obamacare:  We were blessed to have a major Democratic lead program that wouldn’t be effective until 2014. We could paint it to be anything we wanted and we wanted it to be evil. Who could argue with me?
  • Foreign Policy:  Conservatives are warmongers. We love a good fight. We love a bad fight. We love it anytime we can send our young adults and technology to overseas to beat somebody up. I thought we had President Obama beat on foreign policy, but I sort of screwed it up in London…and Israel….and Poland. If you don’t like my foreign policy you can kiss my ass!

We also did a good job of ignoring what we didn’t want to talk about.

  • The Past:   We had a Republican National Convention and we didn’t even invite either of the Bush’s. We didn’t need to highlight the past and good riddance to both of them.
  • Taxes:   We didn’t want to talk about my taxes. As Ann said, if we let people see our taxes, “they will attack us!” Sure a President should have a thick skin, but who needs that when we can deny and  hide? Richard Nixon taught me that.
  • Family History:  I don’t want to discuss this, even now.
  • My First Name:  Seriously, who would vote for someone named Willard?
  • Women:  We probably should have been more sensitive to women’s issues, but really, who cares? Right Ann?
  • Education:  Smart people don’t vote for idiots. Why did you think we didn’t want to talk about education?
  • Crime:  We conservatives have always pushed a ‘lock’em up and throw away the key’ policy on crime. The problem is that it cost $30,000/year to house one inmate, and after they reach 55 years old, inmate costs go up to $60,000/year because of increasing medical issues. More inmates, higher costs. Who knew?

I know my mouth got this campaign into a lot of trouble, but honestly how can you only blame me for failed policies that are the very definition of being a conservative. Like everything else, it was the fault of the Democrats that I didn’t get elected as President.

Well, I guess I should end this before I say something stupid. I hope all of you feel better now that you won’t have Ann and I to kick around anymore. 

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Netanyahu Pushes America To Another War, Romney Eager To Oblige

Netanyahu to US: “Isn’t it time for another Middle East war?”

On Tuesday Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goaded the United States into a war with Iran. Demanding that the United States set conditions for war by establishing a ‘red line’ for which the United States would begin another war in the Middle East if Iran crossed it. Conservative Presidential candidate Willard Mitt Romney seems eager to appease Netanyahu by whining about President Obama’s work to end the existing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and assuring voters that if he is elected he will move quickly to send America’s young adults back into war.

Netanyahu used unilateral actions at Jewish/Christian/Muslim holy sites in 1996 and 2010 to insult and spark riots by Muslims

Netanyahu is no stranger to goading people into violence. In 1996, while throwing roadblocks into the peace process with Palestine, he authorized work in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem that was guaranteed to anger the Palestinians. His ‘in-your-face’ act caused three days of riots and took 80 lives. Like the brother who knows how to get his sibling into trouble, Netanyahu modus operandi is to push others into violent acts by doing something that seems innocent, but is actually extremely insulting.

By stimulating violence, Netanyahu was able to justify moving Israeli forces in to Palestinian-occupied Hebron in January of 1997. Eventually he was able to stop the peace process by refusing to compromise on any significant issue. Netanyahu has a consistent history of being the naysayer to any peace effort between Israel and Palestine since 1996. He also has pushed for issues that are designed to irritate Arabs, such as continue settlement of Israelis in Arab-controlled lands. Netanyahu’s provocation of Palestinians and other Arab countries has left the Middle East in turmoil and set the stage for violent groups in the Arab world to fester and grow.

The interesting coincidence is that just as Netanyahu is pushing America to go to war with Iran, Arabs are once again goaded with a mysterious film¹ on YouTube that mocks Mohammad. Riots in Muslim countries have resulted in attacks on American consulates in Libya and Yemen, killing J. Christopher Stevens, America’s Ambassador in Libya, and three other U.S. diplomats. The cast and crew of the film were misled as to the purpose of the film and the producer’s name has turned out to be fictitious. No one seems to be able to determine who actually produced the film, but it is clear it was intended to incite violence.

In addition, Romney’s reaction to the attack on America’s consulate was so rapid that one has to question if Romney’s campaign was anticipating a significant foreign anti-American event and pulled the trigger on condemning President Obama’s even before there was a reaction from the administration. Romney’s campaign misfired by citing a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo from Tuesday morning that condemned to provocation of the mysterious film prior to the attacks on the American consulate in Libya.

Romney’s campaign is citing America’s “freedom of speech” as the excuse for provoking Muslims with this film; however, conservatives are the first to react with rage over burning the American flag or defacing a Bible. American conservative anti-Muslim groups have now been connected to the latest efforts to promote the film on YouTube, and these groups are known to be rabid anti-President Obama groups.

The timing of this film, Netanyahu’s provocation, conservative promotion of the film, and Romney’s quick, albeit inappropriate, response to the violence seem to indicate that a connection is possible as part of an effort to motivate conservatives to support Romney’s sputtering campaign and his inept foreign policy efforts with allies and foes.

(¹The name of the film and a link to the film are intentionally absent in this article.)

 NOTE: The acts of violence toward United States Embassies and personnel cannot be excused regardless of the provocation. This article is not overlooking the shameful thugs who are taking an opportunity to injure and kill innocent people. They should be identified and punished for what they have done. However, just like the person who enters into a theater and yells fire just to create a panic, the person(s) behind this inexcusable film that incited the outrage should be held responsible for lighting the fuse that caused the social bomb to explode.

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Time To Talk About Willard Mitt Romney’s Birth Certificate

Miles Park Romney and His 5 Wives

Mitt Romney was born on March 12, 1947. His birth certificate says he was born in Detroit, Michigan. There is no dispute to these facts. The question is why was Mitt Romney born in Michigan? Mitt’s father was born in Mexico and his grandfather, Gaskell Samuel Romney was born in 76 years earlier in St. George, Utah. How did Mitt Romney end up in Michigan rather than in Utah or Mexico? Mitt Romney refrains from discussing his family history during his campaign to become the President of the United States; however, the journey from Utah to Michigan is as dramatic as any 19th century account of settling the American West. 

Mitt’s great-great grandfather, Miles Romney, was born in Lancashire (now Cumbria,) England in 1806. In 1837, he converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormons) and in 1841, he moved his family to the United States (Illinois) to join a Mormon colony. Mile’s son (Mitt’s great-grandfather,) Miles Park Romney was born in Illinois in 1843, but the Mormons were driven out of their community in 1846. The family drifted for several years and finally settled in the Territory of Utah around 1850, a few years after the United States took the northern third of Mexico away at gunpoint following after the Mexican-American War.

Miles Park Romney – 5 Wives, 31 Children

It was Miles Park Romney who first embraced polygamy and married five wives and fathered 31 children during the course of his life, including Mitt’s grandfather, Gaskill, in 1871. Miles Park Romney was enlisted in the effort to make the new American West territory a mega-Mormon colony. He moved to Arizona in 1881, to establish a Mormon presence there; however, existing settlers were not agreeable to a religious takeover of their community. 

At about the same time the United States passed the Edmund’s Act (¹) that made polygamy a felony. After attempts to challenge the law failed and law enforcement began arresting polygamists, Miles Park Romney took at least one of his families (he had two wives at the time) and fled to Mexico in 1885. Miles Park Romney settled at Colonia Juarez in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico along with other Mormons attempting to avoid arrest in the United States. Miles Park Romney never returned to the United States as he died in Mexico in 1904.

A contemporary image of Colonia Juarez, the Mormon Polygamist Colony in Mexico.

While still living in Mexico, young Gaskill Romney became an adult and married Anna Amelia Pratt in 1895. In 1907, Anna gave birth to Mitt’s father, George Wilcken Romney. A few years later the Mexican Revolution began and by 1912, the Romney’s were on the run back to the United States when violence threatened to involve their Mormon community. After living as refugees in Texas, California, and Idaho, the Gaskill finally settled his family back in Utah where they lived out much of the Great Depression.

As a young adult Mitt’s father, George W. Romney, completed a mission to Great Britain and then unsuccessfully attended several colleges in the United States. He married in 1931, and eventually moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1939, where Willard Mitt Romney was born in 1947.

That is how the person who will be nominated as the Republican Presidential candidate came to Michigan, via Mexico.

¹A Mormon account of the Edmund’s Act and the Polygamist’s flight to Mexico. (From OrsonPrattBrown.com – The Life and Times of Orson Pratt Brown)

The United States Congress on March 14, 1882, passed the Edmund’s Bill which gave new cause and impetus to Mormon interest in Mexico. The bill made illegal the Mormon practice of having more than one wife. The concept of plural marriage was one of the cardinal doctrines of the Mormon Church and its members believed it to be a divine principle as set forth in revelation to the founding prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., in 1843.

In 1884, the United States government began active prosecution of the new law. The penalty for polygamy was set at $500,000 or five years imprisonment, or both. Cohabitation was punishable by a fine not to exceed $300.00 and imprisonment not to exceed six months. Federal marshals hunted down violators in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and New Mexico….

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Why Ryan, Why Now: Romney Repeats Mistakes of McCain & Nixon

Mitt Romney follows McCain and Nixon to failure

Mitt Romney had over two weeks before he had to reveal his choice for Vice President and it would have been advantageous for him to wait. Keeping the Vice President choice a secret would have built up anticipation and the pundits would not have been able to resist continued speculation on the selection. All this would have climaxed with the announcement of the choice on August 29, in prime time on center stage of the Republican National Convention.

Instead the announcement was handled with all the grace of an engagement announcement of a pregnant daughter. The news leaked on a Friday night during the final week of the Olympics and announced before most of the country was awake on Saturday morning. A Vice President choice should reflect the wisdom of the campaign, so why was this one handled as badly or worse than the McCain/Palin fiasco?

Simple. It was desperation.

In 2008, John McCain was desperate to shake up the campaign and re-energize it. Unfortunately, Romney has the same type of desperation, but for different reasons. Romney certainly needs to re-energize his campaign, but what is more critical is the need to shift the focus off the charges that he hasn’t paid taxes for ten years. Romney has his back up against the wall on this issue. If it turns out to be true his campaign is over.

Romney selected Paul Ryan, who seeks to control, not serve Americans, and is a no-compromise, anti-government, right-wing extremist similar to McCain’s Palin choice. Ryan will deliver the voters who are sworn to hate Obama and liberals under the idea that the ticket can be elected by 25% of voters. It didn’t work for McCain in 2008, and it will not work in 2012. It is not a smart choice, but at this point Romney needed something, anything to change the subject of the campaign. 

Romney is operating like Richard Nixon in the belief that he can keep his worst secrets hidden through denial, lying, and non-cooperation. Instead he’s put a spotlight on the issue. His tactic of challenging people to ‘prove’ he didn’t pay taxes when he holds all the proof only makes him to looking guilty. It’s obvious he is hiding something in his financial past and if it is not about paying any taxes for ten years, then it must be something as damning.

Romney’s campaign is within hours, days, or weeks of imploding. If he fails to make his tax returns public then it will dominate the conversation about whether he is fit to be President. If he releases them then the truth must be bad enough to destroy his campaign. The only question is how Romney’s right-wing shift followed by complete collapse will carry over to other politicians who have embraced the extreme right.

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Nevada Newspaper Goes Behind the Wall…to Die

RGJ’s main bunker…entrance in Reno

The Reno Gazette-Journal (RGJ) recently decided to lock themselves behind a wall and it will cost you at least $12/month to see what they have hidden. Does anyone else see the problem with this business model?

Allow me to reconstruct the history of news media in America to understand why this is a death sentence to the RGJ.

In the 1800’s newspapers owned the information world

1700-1900
In the 1700’s, newspapers became the source of community news. These newspapers often portrayed a political view, but were THE source of information in a society where travel was limited and information scarce. Writers and editors often became key figures in the social and political structure as the gatekeepers of what would be printed.

Radio was faster, but newspapers were corporeal

1900’s
The invention of radio and television gave new options to the public on how they accessed news. The radio offered broadcast news that reached more people faster; however, newspapers remained the source of news because it existed in corporeal form. News transmitted on radio waves disappeared if a person wasn’t in front of the radio during the broadcast. Newspapers; however, almost always gave more a more in-depth account of the events.

Television came shortly after radio and added the exciting features of seeing the reporter and moving images of events; however, newspapers continued to be the best source of significant events.

CNN was to newspapers what Wal-Mart was to Mom & Pop stores

1980
CNN was the first real threat to newspapers. It offered news 24/7/365 and it often relayed events in progress. People no longer had to wait for a newspaper’s version that would come the next day. The newspaper still had the corporeal advantage because CNN would eventually move on to the other news while newspapers could be read anytime. Newspapers also still gave more in-depth reporting on local news issues.

1995
It wasn’t until the creation of the Internet that newspapers faced a challenge that would threaten their existence. The public use of the Internet stripped newspapers of almost every advantage they held. News was not only reported, it was discussed and people reacted in real-time. With the development of the Google search engine topics could be accessed and researched at any time anywhere there was Internet access. The news was no longer filtered and limited to what an editor thought people should know, but rather raw information reached individuals who made their own decisions on what was significant to them.

Reporters who spent years in college and thousands of dollars in tuition and books now found themselves competing against bloggers who had no editors to please. Reporters might get the story and accurately report it to their community but in a real-time world their information was just following up to what people already knew. Newspapers have adapted by presenting an online version of the information that will be in the next day’s paper and that has helped writers compete and be read; however, investors want profit and that is the heart of the dilemma.

The Reno Gazette-Journal has decided that they will create demand and increase revenue by limiting access. That is a rational position to take if you have a product that has significant value and demand, but newspapers and their value appeals to a diminishing demographic. Older white males are dying off at an incredibly rapid pace and newspapers have little demand or value to younger, non-white, non-male demographics. How does RGJ expect to gain new readers by charging for access who have free access to local online news through three Reno television news station’s webpages?

There is another problem with RGJ’s decision that may impact the quality of writing. A writer for RGJ has to accept that their audience will be extremely limited. Blogs will exist for decades and are be searchable to anyone in the world. An RGJ reporters work is locked away behind a wall forever. Who wants to dedicate their life to writing and have it unread? Over time writers will have to decide how much damage RGJ is doing to their career by locking their work behind a pay wall. Once the good writers are gone, what value will the Reno Gazette-Journal have to anyone, paying or otherwise?

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Romney is Wrong

“Liberals don’t like business.”

Mitt Romney, April 2, 2012

Mega-millionaire Mitt Romney trying to look 'common' to the little people with Senator John McCain

Mitt Romney is wrong…in so many ways,…but this week Mr. I-wear-jeans-so-I’m-just-like-you got it wrong at a political event in Wisconsin. Romney claimed to know what liberals think, and he thinks liberals don’t like business. That fodder is being served up to Conservatives who have spent years characterizing liberals as the spawn of Satan, but per normal, the truth is far from the five cent analysis offered by the Republican Presidential nominee (stick a fork in the GOP selection process, the wanna-bes are done.)

Liberals don’t trust business, but liberals do respect the importance of business in a healthy society. Not trusting business does not equate to not liking business.

Liberals are justified in their skepticism. Business is driven by profit. It is the alpha and omega of all enterprise. Business typically doesn’t believe in fair play, sympathy, or what is right for America. In fact, business has little interest in doing what is right even for its own customer. In publicly owned companies, the investor and next quarter’s profitability usually trumps the wants and expectations of the customer. Consider banks, airlines, and oil companies. Those are three major industries that have proved over and over that the individual customer is a piece of meat to be used and abused. Airlines fight even basic human rights for their passengers.

The fact is that business can’t be trusted. Business fails…. a lot, and they fail, not because government drove them to failure, but because the leaders of those companies were greedy, stupid, or both. Most companies last a few decades before they do something stupid, or fail to be smart about the future. A recent example is Kodak. For decades it was the dominant players in the camera film industry, then it had competition, and then it failed to adapt to a digital world. Where is Kodak now?

On Monday, Romney singled our the United States steel industry as an example of how government regulation has killed business. Again, Romney was wrong; however, he gave a classic example of how greed and stupidity by business executives destroyed their own companies. During the 20th century America’s steel industry failed to reinvest and upgrade their steel plants, believing that they were too big to fail. They were wrong.

There is no doubt that labor unions also played a role in escalating costs of United States steel; however, even an executive of US Steel admitted it was the shortsightedness of management that opened the door for competition to challenge and overtake the domination of the United States in steel production in the 1970’s and 80’s.

There is no doubt that private business is important to America’s economy. Yet, business needs oversight to keep them honest and to save America from the greedy and the stupid.

Mitt Romney might think that pandering to the myths of the right will make him a good President, but he would be wrong.

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Challenger STS-51L: What Happened – 12 Hours + 73 Seconds + 207 Seconds

Many experts have discussed what happened in the moments up to and after the breakup of the Challenger Space Shuttle on January 28, 1986. NASA thoroughly investigated the events the led to the loss of the vehicle and the seven astronauts on board. This information was released over the months (and years) following the disaster, but here is a synopsis of what has been learned and discussed.

The four basic parts of the Space Shuttle

What Didn’t Happen

Not An Explosion
The Challenger and the External Tank (ET) did not ‘explode’ in the sense of a violent, pressure wave of energy. The fireball that engulfed the Space Shuttle was triggered when the bottom of the External Tank broke away releasing all the hydrogen fuel. This fuel ignited and gave the ET a sudden acceleration or upward push, which then caused the rupture of the oxygen tank in the upper portion of the External Tank that tore off the top of the ET¹. The result of the escaping fuel from the top of the ET created an oxygen-rich environment around the vehicle. The fuel in the Orbiter for the thrusters also ignited which may have been released when the nose of the Challenger sheared off due to aerodynamic forces.

STS-51L at 59 seconds after launch – black smoke reappears

(¹There is also evidence that the nose of the starboard Solid Rocket Booster swung into the ET and contributed to the rupture at the top of the tank.)

The failure at both the bottom and top of the External Tank ultimately led to its breakup because it no longer had an aerodynamic structure to force the air around it. In the last images of the Space Shuttle before breakup, the entire vehicle is masked by a translucent white and gold curtain of smoke and burning fuel. The fireball that surrounded the Space Shuttle was a combination of all the liquid fuel being released and igniting.

STS-51L at 73 seconds – The both the bottom and top of the ET have ruptured

Similarly, the breakup of the Orbiter was not caused by explosive forces from the fireball. As the ET accelerated and broke apart Challenger began pivot, nose down, so that the upper portion of the Orbiter turned into the oncoming rush of air. Since it was not aerodynamically designed to fly into that position (the Shuttle was traveling at 1,450 mph) the nose portion, including the crew compartment sheared away from the rest of the vehicle. As the crew compartment separated from the rest of the Orbiter, air rushed in to the Payload Bay and other cavities literally blowing Challenger apart from the inside.

Joint Section of SRB and the seal is inspected after STS-51L disaster

Cold Weather and O-ring Failure Not the Entire Cause of Disaster
The joint on the starboard Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) failed and allowed extremely hot gases to be directed at the External Tank; however, the infamous O-rings (a primary and secondary for each joint) and the cold weather were probably NOT the only factors leading to the disaster.

STS-51L liftoff – Black smoke at lower right joint on SRB

Both Solid Rocket Boosters were subjected to subfreezing temperatures overnight (it was only 36°F at launch.) If temperature was the only factor, then other joint breaches should have occurred in the multiple joints of both SRBs. There was only one breach on one SRB and at one point in the 360° circumference around the joints. 

Photographic evidence shows that a breach of the joint occurred as Challenger lifted off, but it seemed to re-seal (probably with soot and debris) as the vehicle cleared the tower. However, Challenger hit the strongest wind shear conditions of any Shuttle in twenty-five missions soon after launch. Whatever was sealing the earlier breach in the O-ring probably broke free as the SRB joints flexed in the wind shear. That started the hot gases to burn an ever-increasing hole through the joint, which was aimed at the strut that attached the External Tank to the Solid Rocket Booster.

Joint design, wind shear, O-rings, weather, and possibly an unknown factor (undetected pre-launch damage or weakness at one point of the joint) all seem to create a set of extraordinary circumstances that doomed Challenger. 

What Happened

T Minus 12:00:00.000 Hours
In the twelve hours before the launch, Launch Pad 39B experienced colder temperatures than had occurred prior to any Shuttle launch. This likely caused the O-rings in the joint of the SRBs to contract slightly.

00:00:00.000 Launch
At launch, possibly due to the cold weather or other causes, the joint was not completely sealed and hot gases burned through one point on a joint on the starboard Solid Rocket Booster. As Challenger lifted off puffs of black smoke appeared near the joint area 3 times per second. 

+00:00:02.733 Joint Re-Seals
The black puffs of smoke are no longer visible. It is believed that debris from the O-rings temporarily re-sealed the joint.

+00:00:19.000 Wind Comment
Pilot Michael Smith says, “Looks like we’ve got a lot of wind here today.”

+00:00:36.990 Shuttle Responds to Wind Shear
Challenger automatically responds to heavy wind shear. This causes stress and flexing of the joints in the SRBs. The belief is that at some point the temporary seal formed soon after launch breaks free and hot gases begin to blow through the gap. The hole in the joint grows as the gases melt the structure around it.

At 59 seconds a flame is clearly escaping from the SRB above the rocket nozzle

+00:00:58.788 Heat Plume 
Cameras record an abnormal plume of flame and smoke coming from the starboard Solid Rocket Booster. The plume grows in size over the next several seconds. The plume is aimed at the strut on the External Tank which connects it to the Solid Rocket Booster.

+00:00:60.004 Pressure Drop in SRB
Computer data shows a pressure drop in the starboard Solid Rocket Booster. While Mission Control and the crew are not fully aware of this, there is no doubt that the leak in the joint is effecting the power output of the Solid Rocket Booster. Had the flame been pointed away from the Shuttle and the External Tank, the Solid Rocket Booster would have eventually caused an abort due to lack of thrust to make orbit.

+00:00:64.660 ET Burn Through
The plume between the Solid Rocket Booster and the External Tank suddenly changes shape. This indicates that the External Tank has burned through and hydrogen fuel is leaking and increasing the flame.

+00:00:66.764 Pressure Drop in ET
Pressure in the External Tank begins to drop indicating a massive leak; however, even if the astronauts had noted the drop in pressure there was no action they could have taken. In seven seconds the entire vehicle will be engulfed in flame and the External Tank and Orbiter will be breaking up.

+00:00:70.000 “Go at throttle up.”
Commander Scobee calmly responds to Mission Controls authorization to increase speed by saying, “Roger, go at throttle up.” While events around the Solid Rocket Booster and External Tank are beginning to impact the vehicles flight path, no one on the ground or in the air has any forewarning of what is about to happen.

+00:00:72.204 Wild Nozzle Movements
At this point the engines on the Solid Rocket Boosters are shifting positions to compensate for flight path variations caused by the cascading failures of the ET and SRB. These movements of the engines on the SRB and then by the Main Engines on the Orbiter become wilder over the next second. The computer is desperately attempting to keep the vehicle on the flight path.

+00:00:73.124 Beginning of the End
Challenger is traveling at almost twice the speed of sound. Seventy-three (73) seconds into the flight the lower strut on the External Tank, which has been the target of the blow torch of hot gases leaking from the SRB, gives way and the lower end of the starboard Solid Rocket Booster flies free. It begins to pivot around the upper support. At about the same time the bottom of the External Tank comes off allowing all the hydrogen to escape and ignite. This causes a rapid acceleration of the External Tank. The upward pressure on the interior of the ET then causes the a rupture at the top of the tank, which then releases the oxygen around the Shuttle. In rapid succession, the External Tank breaks up, the Solid Rocket Boosters completely separate from the vehicle, and the Shuttle is pushed into a pivot that causes the nose to shear off at the point just in front of the Shuttle bay.

STS-51L post breakup with crew cabin arching over ocean

The Next 207 Seconds
The crew compartment is violently thrown around, but the G-forces most likely are not severe enough to seriously injure the crew. Ultimately, the crew cabin continues to move up from approximately 46,000 feet to over 60,000 feet, until its forward momentum is lost and it begins to arc down to the ocean below. At one point the crew probably experience weightlessness as the cabin begins to fall. The crew compartment begins a rotation that will continue until about 100 seconds before impact when it seems to stabilize with the black tiles on the bottom of Challenger’s nose facing the shore.

There is little doubt that most, if not all, of the seven astronauts survived the breakup. Personal Egress Air Packs (PEAP) were activated by the crew and switches at the pilot’s station were changed from launch position. In both cases, the break up of the vehicle, nor the impact on the ocean could have caused these actions. It is believed that all astronauts were strapped into their seats at the time of impact, which would be expected regardless of their state of consciousness.

The oxygen supply for the crew was behind them and lost in the break up. It is likely that the crew knew they lost their oxygen supply, possibly due to a loss in cabin pressure and were seeking to reestablish oxygen flow via the PEAPs. Three of four air packs were activated, unfortunately, if cabin pressure was lost the air packs would not have offered pressurized flow and therefore the crew would have lost consciousness. How quickly that would have happened would have depended on the speed of the possible decompression of the crew compartment.

Regardless of their condition during free fall, the crew would have been killed instantly upon impact in the Atlantic Ocean at 207 seconds after the break up of Challenger. The upper left section of the compartment was likely the point of first impact. It would be over six weeks before the remains were found and recovered.

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