TIL: although their bodies were badly mangled from the effects of the high altitude / hypersonic orbiter breakup, forensic evidence has revealed that the Columbia Shuttle crew very likely died in seconds from rapid loss of pressure.

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Unlike the challenger crew who most likely survived the explosion and died from impact


One of the assumptions that was made from the Challenger accident was that the crew compartment would be (relatively) aerodynamically stable in the event of a catastrophic orbiter failure. The Columbia accident proved that this was an incorrect assumption because the crew compartment tumbled on 3 axes and never really stabilized in such a way that could allow survival of the crew.


I remember the morning this happened. I was a kid, but woke up from the loud booms. I went outside to find my mom looking up, holding her hand over mouth. It looked like three or four shooting stars frozen in the sky. Absolutely crazy.


I remember watching this on television in grade school.


Probably the longest less then a minute in history