Jan 28 1986. Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster. A day that changed my life.

I was the PM for the GBU (Ground Base Unit) for the Gamma Ray Observatory or GRO. being built at Fairchild Space Systems in Frederick MD. Shortly before lunch that day, around 11:30, the Challenger launched. We had it on the intercom at work, Houston Control Center, like we always did. We really didn’t pay much attention, as launches had become ‘old hat’. Suddenly, it became quiet in the offices and we all realized something had gone horribly wrong. The intercom was shut down and we ran to the tv’s and radios to find out what had happened. We were horrified. Grown men begain crying, hell I was crying.

No one who worked in aerospace was ever the same again. Our lives changed forever. The space program changed forever. The Challenger Disaster changed the course of space flight forever and in many ways, it changed it for the good. Safety was never taken for granted again. Manufacturing Sub-contractors were  held to tighter controls and check and balances were put into place and not just signed off anymore.

Because lives were lost due to something so damn fucking simple failing…too many precious live were lost in a second, in the blink of an eye. And thousands if not millions of lives like mine were changed in that second as well.

The Space program was put on hold for what seemed like forever but was really three years. By thanksgiving of that year, the layoffs started taking place. I was layed off right before Christmas and moved back to California with my young son. It was a blessing as his health was alway bad on the east coast, he was an asthmatic and the damp weather was horrible for his condition.

I never again worked in aerospace, a job I loved so much. I never again held I job I loved as much as I loved that one. I never again held a job that was as interesting, as fun, as eye opening and ground breaking as that one.

So today, I think about where I would be if that space craft had made it’s journey. I had been slated for a big promotion. The space program had been set to move all launches to Vandenberg AFB on the coast of Central California and I was going to be part of that. I had lived there and graduated high school there. I had been so excited about the promotion and move.

I wonder how different my life would be…then I smile and sigh…and move on to something else to do with my time to take my mind off the ‘what if’…

About Dusty, hells most vocal bitch

I am a..brown Cali bitch that is quite the opinionated,political, pain-in-the-ass, in your face kinda girl that also loves baseball and music to a fault. Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.--Albert Einstein-*

Posted on January 28, 2011, in Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Yep, it’s all about you Dusty. Your promotion, your job, your life, your blame game. If you were in the space program, and I am familiar with GRO, you would know the Shuttle was an experimental vehicle with a 1 in 25 chance of catastrophic failure at that time.

    In the aftermath, I witnessed Dick Scobee’s son comporting himself like a consummate professional, not a 22 year old whiner crying about what might have been. Grow up.

    • Hey asshole, this was a personal post about how the shuttle disaster personally affected me. Evidently that fact was lost on your sorry ass.

      If you are so familiar w/GRO you would know how long it operated up in space…do you?

      I spent over 15 years of my life in the aerospace industry, primarily in the RD end of it, so shove your pov up your ass as it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when it comes to my personal recollections of this horrific disaster that changed the lives of EVERYONE involved.

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