- Note - STS-50 deals with a genuine UFO
encounter as detailed by Mr. Stephens in his radio appearance with Jeff
on 12-4-98. Program is available in Archives.
- Jeff, Some addenda for your NASA shuttle
- Actually, Tommy (Tommy Holloway - space
shuttle program manager) is incorrect since he is new and took over launch
prep management from Bob Crippen, who in turn took it over from Tom Utsman
many years ago.
- There have been 16 close calls since
the first launch of a shuttle, Orbiter Columbia, on April 21st, 1981. These
exclude the most recent events.
- They are: (all flights numbered by launch
count, not the old NASA numbering system up to STS-41D, which would have
been STS-12 (NASA did NOT want to use the number '13' and still won't since
Apollo 13 did what it did)) --I 'can' attest to this odd fact: [Robert
A.M. Stephens]. No '13'.
- 1. STS-1 Shuttle Columbia. Maiden flight
for it and the shuttle program. When arriving into orbital insertion, it
was discovered many many missing tiles on the OMs pods--both sides. These
were on the upper surfaces of the orbiter. If they had been on the shuttle's
underside, Columbia would have burned up on re-entry. ***
- 2. STS-4 Columbia. Lost four 'batches'
of tiles on the way up in space on the right and left OMS pods. Had more
tiles been torn off, Columbia would have burned in near space upon re-entry.
- 3. STS-10 Challenger. Aborted at T-3
seconds after main engines were firing. Shuttle stack could have exploded
- 4. STS-12 Discovery. Aborted at T-4 seconds
with a faulty fuel feed sensor. It was never determined, oddly, what the
real problem was. Discovery went on fly successfully on August 24th, 1984.
- 5. STS-14 Challenger. Experienced a near
catastrophic burn through of main engine number 2, 94 seconds into flight.
This was a criticality one item - meaning, a failure of 'Crit-1 Items'
* which means loss of vehicle, mission and crew.
- 6. STS-16 Discovery. Had many missing
tiles on the right OMS Pod it was discovered after it reached orbit. Any
of which could have caused the shuttle to burn through had they been missing
from the shuttle's underside.
- 7. STS-17 Challenger. Aborted again at
T-6 seconds. Faulty fuel line feed system sensor.
- 8. STS-20 Discovery. Experienced another
burn through as Challenger had earlier on main engine number 1. Failure
could have been loss of vehicle, mission and crew.
- 9. STS-22 Columbia. Experienced a severe
'Crit-1' shutdown of two APUs after orbital insertion. Mission duration
was aborted and shuttle brought back after only three days of a 14 day
- 10. STS-23 Challenger. Began sending
back 'Crit-1' shutdowns and warnings after only 40 seconds of flight. Everything
was shutting down, or threatening to do so. As the tense minutes unfolded
as the shuttle climbed higher, the sensors kept announcing that everything
was failing on the orbiter. Both KSC and JSC stayed in the 'loop'...not
just JSC who oversees mission management after the 'bird' clears the tower.
The seconds rolled on.
- A sharp young woman, a technical launch
engineer, had enough of her feminine side intact--her 'intuition', to decide
that in fact, Challenger was 'lying' to everyone. She then, without consulting
anyone else, manually overrode ALL shuttle warning downlinks forcing Challenger
to fly on up into orbit on its own anyway. After orbital insertion, it
was discovered she was correct in every way: It was a software problem.
In fact, everything on the orbiter was perfect. But it is THE MOST hair
raising launch event of all time for NASA's history of space flight.
- 11. STS-24 Discovery. Had 22 of its 54
RSC system motors become non functional after orbital insertion. Orbiter
could have been marooned in space had not the redundancy of software protocols
been installed since STS-23.
- 12. STS-25 Challenger. Loss of vehicle,
mission, and crew.
- 13. STS 32 Atlantis. DoD mission. Failure
of the OMS pressure pod sensors could have resulted in a ATO--Abort to
Orbit. Another words, the launch was a failure but the orbiter has passed
ATE (Abort to Earth) parameters, and thus, 'aborts' by going on up into
space and orbital insertion.
- 14. STS-42 Atlantis. It is discovered
at T-14 minutes that several of the huge hardware bolts on the pad holding
the orbiter stack in place before launch are flawed.
- 15. STS-50 Columbia. Anomalous events
of unknown origin came to visit the shuttle in flight. All data has been
turned over to the NRO. Cause: unknown by NASA at this time. NRO will not
brief NASA at this time.
- 16. STS-66 Discovery. Shuttle suffered
several 'Crit-1' warning for failure calls after orbital insertion regarding
- ERRATA ____________
- Addenda: on 13 of the first 25 shuttle
launches and flights, the Morton Thiokol built solid rocket boosters had
potential catastrophic burn throughs in the casings at field joints, which
ultimately destroyed Challenger. Inexplicably, for reasons I still cannot
fathom, my beloved NASA 'waived' these potential failures and flew the
orbiter stack anyway. Many protested, myself included. Those responsible
with this heinous act are no longer with the agency, thank goodness.
- * 'Crit-1' or Criticality-1 items: there
are 700 of these items on board the shuttle and its stack as it sits on
the pad before launch and after launch. A failure of any one of these items
will result in loss of vehicle, mission, and crew.
- *** Few remember this. After STS-1 got
into orbit and several tiles were missing on both the right and left OMS
pods, which could be seen clearly on camera and through the rear cargo
bay-crew module cabin, and reported by crewman Bob Crippen and John Young.
The question was, were the even more critical tiles on the shuttle's underside
missing too. There was no way to find out. On national news NASA asked
everyone with a telescope to look up and find the orbiter and see if they
could see anything. They asked everyone, anywhere, all people, all nations
- On the third day of the flight NASA at
JSC received a 'secret' message, the equivalent of modern day emails, from
the Navy and Air Force with a clear photograph of the underside of Columbia
in space: all tiles were in place, perfect. It was never divulged 'how'
those photos were taken - they would not tell us at NASA! Those of us on
the 'inside' found out, however, with a little bit of sneakiness. (Proof
again, NASA does not know what the military is doing 99.99% of the time)
- The NAVY and the AF with the NRO had
moved one of the pre-Silver Veil look down satellites, down to low Earth
orbit. From a distance of 1100 nautical miles away from Columbia--so the
crew wouldn't see the 'bogey'. They then secretly took clear pictures of
the shuttle's underbelly. And Behold, all was fine and well.
- Rascals, them.
- Think about this when there are ones
that talk about secret UFO landings. Not so fast. Nothing can get through
the NORAD/Fence. Period. This was public news for many weeks after the
successful launching of America's very first shuttle flight - everyone
pondering how those pictures were taken of the shuttle in space like that.
But, now you know how the photos were taken.
- Tommy won't mind this post addition.
- Robert A.M. Stephens
- Contractor, NASA
- Shuttle Documentation Program
- Stillwater Mills
- KSC-PIB/PA-code MSF/shuttle