Tag Archives: NASA

Reality is a Stubborn Thing

Story of the Day for Friday July 20, 2012 

Reality is a Stubborn Thing

                     Truth has stumbled in the street.

                                                    Isaiah 59:14

 

 

On January 28, 1986, NASA officials tried to defy reality . . . and failed.

The Challenger space shuttle was scheduled for launch on January 22nd, but the launch had to be postponed until the 23rd, then the 24th, then the 25th, and then the 27th.

Officials at NASA were growing increasingly frustrated with each scratched launch date. They wanted to establish a reputation as a reliable market for scientific and commercial markets, and the frequent postponements weren’t helping their reputation. They had an ambitious launch schedule, and by postponing the Challenger, they would be forced to scuttle launch dates all down the line. President Reagan was preparing his State of the Union address and wanted to feature the Challenger mission – which would be awkward if the shuttle was still sitting on the launch pad. Further, classrooms across the country were tuned into TV to watch Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire school teacher, give the first school lesson from space.

 

The controversy before the scheduled launch on January 28th focused on the o-rings in the solid rocket boosters. The rocket is built like cans stacked on top of each other. The explosive gases, reaching temperatures of 5000 degrees Fahrenheit, are sealed between the different rocket stages by o-rings.

Engineers at Morton Thiokol were adamant that the launch must be postponed. The temperatures had dipped to 18 degrees in the night, and, at launch time were still around freezing. Morton Thiokol’s contract with NASA specified that the temperature tolerance of the o-rings extended from 40-90 degrees.

At first the managers at Morton Thiokol sided with their engineers. But NASA was not happy. Under pressure to please their customer the managers finally caved in and gave NASA the green light to launch.

The engineers watched helplessly as the countdown began. They knew the o-rings would not seal. Seventy-three seconds after liftoff, as the Challenger went into its first roll, the o-rings failed, and the space shuttle exploded – killing all seven astronauts.

 

The well-known physicist, Richard Feynman, served on the Rogers Commission investigating the accident. “Reality,” he concluded, “must take precedence over public relations,” adding that “nature cannot be fooled.”

 

It is not only Nature which cannot be fooled, but all truth. Some think that morality can be supplanted by a “new morality” as often as youth update their wardrobe.

Jesus claimed to be the Truth, and his teachings have stood solid against the test of time.  We do well to be receptive to what he says because reality is a stubborn thing.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre 
 

Reality is a Stubborn Thing

Story of the Day for Friday August 5, 2011

Reality is a Stubborn Thing

                     Truth has stumbled in the street. 

                                                                 Isaiah 59:14

 On January 28, 1986, NASA officials tried to defy reality . . . and failed.

The Challenger space shuttle was scheduled for launch on January 22nd, but the launch had to be postponed until the 23rd, then the 24th, then the 25th, and then the 27th.

Officials at NASA were growing increasingly frustrated with each scratched launch date. They wanted to establish a reputation as a reliable market for scientific and commercial markets, and the frequent postponements weren’t helping their reputation. They had an ambitious launch schedule, and by postponing the Challenger, they would be forced to scuttle launch dates all down the line. President Reagan was preparing his State of the Union address and wanted to feature the Challenger mission – which would be awkward if the shuttle was still sitting on the launch pad. Further, classrooms across the country were tuned into TV to watch Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire school teacher, give the first school lesson from space.

 

The controversy before the scheduled launch on January 28th focused on the o-rings in the solid rocket boosters. The rocket is built like cans stacked on top of each other. The explosive gases, reaching temperatures of 5000 degrees Fahrenheit, are sealed between the different rocket stages by o-rings.

Engineers at Morton Thiokol were adamant that the launch must be postponed. The temperatures had dipped to 18 degrees in the night, and, at launch time were still around freezing. Morton Thiokol’s contract with NASA specified that the temperature tolerance of the o-rings extended from 40-90 degrees.

At first the managers at Morton Thiokol sided with their engineers. But NASA was not happy. Under pressure to please their customer the managers finally caved in and gave NASA the green light to launch.

The engineers watched helplessly as the countdown began. They knew the o-rings would not seal. Seventy-three seconds after liftoff, as the Challenger went into its first roll, the o-rings failed, and the space shuttle exploded – killing all seven astronauts.

 

The well-known physicist, Richard Feynman, served on the Rogers Commission investigating the accident. “Reality,” he concluded, “must take precedence over public relations,” adding that “nature cannot be fooled.”

 

It is not only Nature which cannot be fooled, but all truth. Some think that morality can be supplanted by a “new morality” as often as youth update their wardrobe.

Jesus claimed to be the Truth, and his teachings have stood solid against the test of time.  We do well to be receptive to what he says because reality is a stubborn thing.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

 

“Houston, We Have a Problem”

Story of the Day for Monday July 18, 2011

“Houston, We Have a Problem”

                 That night the king couldn’t sleep.

                                                             Esther 6:1

In 1970, Ken Mattingly was chosen by NASA to go to the moon. How cool is that?

But three days from launch, he was exposed to the German measles by fellow astronaut, Charlie Duke. NASA’s flight surgeon calculated that Mattingly would be spiking a fever at the critical moment of the moon landing. Mattingly was scrubbed and learned that his backup, Dave Swiggert, would be the Command Module Pilot.

Mattingly’s dream of going to the moon had been crushed. But he wasn’t disappointed for long. 200,000 miles from a tow truck, Swiggert, was told to stir the oxygen tanks. When he did so, the oxygen tank exploded and damaged the spacecraft’s electrical system. As the astronauts watched something spewing out the spacecraft, they relayed the well-known message: “Houston, we have a problem.”

It was a good thing that Swiggert had replaced Mattingly. Of all the astronauts in the space program, he had the best knowledge of command module malfunction procedures. Mission Control had to improvise an emergency plan to get the astronauts back to earth. They needed someone who could precisely relay calculations and readings to Houston, and no one was better than Swiggert.

Not only that, but the astronauts would now be forced to endure extreme cold with virtually no sleep. As a former football player for the University of Colorado, Swiggert had a hardier physique to endure the physical pressure the astronauts faced.

Moreover, at Houston, Mattingly proved indispensible to the rescue effort. NASA didn’t know how to power the spacecraft for re-entry into earth’s atmosphere. Mattingly’s intimate knowledge of the spacecraft enabled him to find a way to power the astronauts back to earth.

Without the exchange of Swiggert for Mattingly, many believe the Apollo 13 astronauts would’ve perished.

Have you ever had trouble sleeping at night? Annoying isn’t it?

One night, King Xerxes couldn’t get to sleep.

Who knew that insomnia would lead the king to request that the annals of his reign be read to him, which led him to discover that Mordecai had never been rewarded for saving his life, which led to the execution of Haman – who was plotting mischief against Mordecai and the Jewish people.

We naturally become discouraged at the setbacks in life. But once we get to know the God that uses the disappointments in life as a catalyst for good, it can change how we react to shattered dreams. Trust replaces anguish.

Ken Mattingly, by the way, never did come down with the measles.

                                          (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)