I was in the kitchen drinking coffee and watching the news on the T.V. The Space Shuttle Columbia was making its final approach over Texas for touchdown at the Cape. I was following its radar trajectory since it almost directly passed over Hawaii and how fast it made it to the west coast. As it approached Texas, they had live film. I got the Juju Woman’s attention and as she turned toward the screen, she said “thats pretty cool”, and then asked “whats happening.” I said, “damn, I think it just exploded”.
The reality was, even while Columbia was still in orbit, some engineers suspected damage, but NASA managers limited the investigation, on the grounds that little could be done even if problems were found. Think about that for a moment. No way out. No solution to this problem.