I would direct your attention to my Blimp Week chestnut, The Wreck of the Shenandoah and Blimp Week Followup Pt. III, in which the lyrics to a song commemorating the loss of the airship are reproduced.

I had just drawn a connection in my own mind with the loss of the Columbia to the loss of the Shenandoah when comments began to appear on the older story noting the parallels as well.

For now, I think the most interesting points are the relative similarity of the role of the great airships and space travel in the public imagination of the day, and the fact that both ships were named after mythological figures that also happen to be great American waterways.

I have also reverted to the former colorscheme here, as the black-themed one was intended as a mourning scheme. However, I believe the darker, more contrasty colors looked better than the current bright reds and expect to be experimenting wth additional color choices this week.


Weekend news concerning the shuttle inquiry boils down to two developments: NASA had previously identified leading-edge wing failure as a potential cause of re-entry catastrophe, and on a previous shuttle mission, a wastewater vent located near the left wing’s leading edge had developed a basketball-sized lump of ice.

Subsequent to the ice-forming incident, the vents on the shuttles were fitted with heaters.

Some speculation emerged in the context of the leading-edge wing failure story concerning the possibility that Columbia might have collided with a particle of space junk, possibly as early as the second day in orbit.

Spacefllight Now: NASA studies telemetry for signs of orbital impact

NYT: Shuttle Testing Suggested Wings Were Vulnerable and an interactive with a nice graphic cutaway of the wing’s structure.

Oakland Tribune (AP story): Investigation focuses on possible ice chunk on vents (I saw this in the Seattle P-I, but they didn’t have on their website – silly paper!)

2 thoughts on “Wey-hey, you rolling river

  1. Some good links, Mike, but I’m still not seeing what I expect to see on a blog of such high refinement: Conspiracy theories. The ‘net must be rife but I haven’t found them. You can start with why this damn model came out such a mess …

  2. Rob, you CAN’T drink beer and make card models,. Really.

    As for conspiracy theories…

    Yes, they surfaced immediately. No, I’m not covering them or linking them.

    I can summarize them thusly: The Columbia’s debris track includes Palestine, Texas. There was an Israeli astronaut on board.

    The every-trusty Jim Flanagan, however, developed what may be seen as a prose editorial cartoon, starting roughly with the same material but going a bit deeper and discarding the usual conceits:

    http://jimfl.tensegrity.net/greymatter/archives/00000350.html: There’s never only one cause for a disaster

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