Bringing Columbia Home

Bringing Columbia Home Mike Leinbach Was The Launch Director Of The Space Shuttle Program When Columbia Disintegrated On Reentry Before A Nation S Eyes On February , And It Would Be Mike Leinbach Who Would Be A Key Leader In The Search And Recovery Effort As NASA, FEMA, The FBI, The US Forest Service, And Dozens Federal, State, And Local Agencies Combed An Area Of Rural East Texas The Size Of Rhode Island For Every Piece Of The Shuttle And Her Crew They Could Find Assisted By Hundreds Of Volunteers, It Would Become The Largest Ground Search Operation In US History For The First Time, Here Is The Definitive Inside Story Of The Columbia Disaster And Recovery And The Inspiring Message It Ultimately Holds In The Aftermath Of Tragedy, People And Communities Came Together To Help Bring Home The Remains Of The Crew And Nearly Percent Of Shuttle, An Effort That Was Instrumental In Piecing Together What Happened So The Shuttle Program Could Return To Flight And Complete The International Space Station Bringing Columbia Home Shares The Deeply Personal Stories That Emerged As NASA Employees Looked For Lost Colleagues And Searchers Overcame Immense Physical, Logistical, And Emotional Challenges And Worked Together To Accomplish The Impossible Featuring A Foreword And Epilogue By Astronauts Robert Crippen And Eileen Collins, This Is An Incredible Narrative About Best Of Humanity In The Darkest Of Times And About How A Failure At The Pinnacle Of Human Achievement Became A Story Of Cooperation And Hope

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  • Hardcover
  • 356 pages
  • Bringing Columbia Home
  • Michael D. Leinbach
  • English
  • 06 July 2017
  • 9781628728514

10 thoughts on “Bringing Columbia Home

  1. says:

    On the morning of February 1, 2003, I was in my car and tuned in to the local NPR radio station Despite working in the space industry, I hadn t been following shuttle missions very closely, so I wasn t expecting to hear anything in particular about Columbia s return But I was confused to hear an audio feed from mission control in Houston, with the call, Columbia, Houston Comm check repeated over and over What was going on Why were they broadcasting this Of course the grim situation soon became clear, and in the years since I ve become a spacecraft flight controller albeit on uncrewed, interplanetary missions those words took on a particular poignancy for me, as I could imagine myself in the shoes of the person speaking them.I very much enjoyed this story driven account of the Columbia disaster, the resulting immense ground search and recovery operation, and the effort to identify the cause of Columbia s breakup on re entry The authors include technical information in a way that I think would be accessible to a layperson, especially with the support of the included diagrams But what makes this book so much compelling than, e.g., the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report, are the human details The authors interviewed dozens of people involved in the recovery effort, from high level officials in the investigation to local East Texas residents who simply turned up to help in any way they could The stories of interviewees personal relationships with the Columbia crew the sometimes solemn, sometimes amusing accounts of searchers and residents finding debris and remains and even the anecdotes of little old ladies dropping off homemade cornbread to help feed the throngs of recovery personnel all contribute to an appreciation for the emotional and physical difficulty of the effort, not to mention its unprecedented scale.If logistics and infrastructure interest you as they do me, you ll find plenty to engage you On very short notice and with little in the way of policies or models to work from, recovery personnel had to figure out how to set up communications in a rural area with sparse cell phone coverage or internet access, respectfully and privately recover crew remains, assess where they were most likely to find debris, protect the public from hazardous materials strewn over a vast area, and assemble debris in a way that would facilitate understanding of what happened to the shuttle on re entry That said, the profusion of agencies involved in the effort lost me at times I found the descriptions of their reporting structure dry reading.Even though I m rating this book at 5 stars, I found the end of the book distasteful Specifically, the final chapter, entitled Celebrating 25,000 heroes overuse of the word hero much , took a jingoistic turn, repeatedly attributing volunteers motivation to a dedication to their country, as opposed to a shared sense of humanity or a desire to honor the sacrifice made by the STS 107 crew Even worse, though, is the colonialism expressed in retired astronaut Eileen Collins epilogue We still carry the spirit and adventure of those we read about in history, the Bible, the Greek plays, the discoveries of Columbus, and the exploration of the Americas This passage especially stings in light of the significant contributions of Native American fire crews to the Columbia search and recovery effort.

  2. says:

    I am a total NASA nerd Reading about the history of manned space flight is one of my passions, so I was really looking forward to this book s release I remember the day Columbia broke up vividly And this book is really interesting, because it s not about the launch, where Columbia was doomed, or what the astronauts did during their time in space, it s fully about the recovery of the Columbia debris and the great lengths taken to find the remains of her crew and the effort to find out what caused its break up I genuinely enjoyed this book, but it could have been a great book, instead of just a good book The authors obviously wanted to give credit where credit was due to the many people who participated in the recovery efforts, and so the book ended up being long on names but short on deep, personal stories I m glad this book was written it s a story that deserves to be recorded in history but I wish it would have been told a little elegantly Still, I give it four stars, because I couldn t put it down, and I learned a lot.

  3. says:

    Just LOVED this book. Hats off to the authors for writing such an incredible book Must read for all space program lovers

  4. says:

    I wasn t expecting this to be such an emotional reading experience, but it most definitely was This tells the story of the Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003 But it tells way than that In this incredible book you really get to see just how amazing people are, the lengths that strangers will go to step up in the midst of a crisis, and the idea that the space program is America s space program and that it s important I remember when the Columbia broke apart on reentry I watched a lot of the initial footage But then I don t think I ever learned exactly what happened It seems like the entire investigation was overshadowed by the beginning of the Iraqi war.I was sad when the shuttle program ended, but I was so touched by the things I learned in this book that helped to insure that Columbia would not be the end of the shuttle program This is technical in places and there are a lot of people mentioned, from NASA officials, to astronauts, to FEMA, to random search volunteers in eastern Texas, but it all comes together in an incredibly powerful story about the importance of human life.

  5. says:

    A great story about what happened immediately after the Space Shuttle Columbia s breakup while re entering earth s atmosphere, from the actions of NASA, first responders throughout the country, federal, state, and local government officials, and citizen volunteers through the accident investigation This is what I would call a got their hands dirty story the work being described was mostly the hands on, in the field variety, not so much the stuff happening back at the office And by in the field, you are literally talking about fields, and forests, and underbrush, and lakes that searchers had to traverse in their efforts to locate pieces of the shuttle, its contents, and its crew The book culminates with the description of the warehouse used to hold the found pieces and to reconstruct the shuttle in order to determine what caused the critical failure of components This process is also well described On the face of it, this doesn t sound like there s enough compelling material to make a book There wasn t a lot of mystery about the failure that caused the accident to the shuttle in general This book describes that issue, but there s here There were a few things that set this apart First, this is about NASA NASA has a kind of cachet, and for those like me who have grown up dreaming and studying about space flight, the astronauts and NASA employees are American heroes The term heroes is overused, but to me NASA represents the American loner ideal, as well as the can do attitude that Americans want to be known for And NASA also embodies the ability to think things through smartly another ideal The books is interesting in that you get to see NASA react to this disaster, and from the book you understand that NASA accorded itself well For example, within a day or so of the accident, astronauts were on site when human remains were found and collected, and provided a simple religious service incorporating the religions of all lost astronauts I found this quick thinking, respectfulness, and sense of duty to set the tone for the rest of the book Another aspect of the book that I found enlightening and that provides some hope for our future is the way the various communities and organizations banded together to handle this mission The physical search for artifacts was incredibly extensive The search protocol required in effect a person to step over every square foot of land covering an area the size of Rhode Island The land itself was in a remote area in Texas and Louisiana that was not heavily populated Many volunteers and first responders from across the country were housed and fed in these communities during the search, which took a few months The anecdotes and examples of communities pitching in and working together, despite the huge variety of entities involved, was heartening The authors, NASA employees, were quick to point out the various times that there could have been an issue over who was in charge was it NASA, the NTSB, the Defense Department, FEMA, local FBI, etc etc In this case, there was no contention, many agencies deferred their normal emergency leadership I suspect the lack of contention was not normal for different agencies working together, and here it seems the NASA folks were expecting contention but didn t get it To find this kind of feeling of we re all in this together in the US you may have to go back to WWII This ends up being another reminder that people can pull together when the situation requires it.Overall, I found this an unexpectedly good book, exploring the state of readiness in our country to respond to a disaster, but from the human perspective, not a system perspective I read this book a week ago, and I continue to think about the examples it provides If American readers want a reminder of what America can do right, this book provides an answer.

  6. says:

    This was a very, very detailed account of the recovery efforts for the Columbia orbiter So many names, places, and minutia that probably helped bring closure to people directly involved For an average reader or even someone with a mild interest in space, it was TOO detailed and could have been greatly shortened The story it tells is important and 5 star worthy in itself, but the book was a bit tedious at times I wish there was a little personal background on the crew and the mission at the beginning.A somewhat unrelated memo for myself to look back on I chose to read this book after visiting the KSC and running a race at the Shuttle Landing Facility, just two days after the anniversary of the accident I wish I had read it just before my visit, as I would have looked for the building used for the reassembly of the debris I also somehow missed the display for the Challenger and Columbia at the Atlantis exhibit, although I did see the Apollo hatches.

  7. says:

    Unbiased review provided in exchange for an ARC from Edelweiss Bringing Columbia Home is a story about logistics and humanity It seems a difficult mix, but it works We start the book with the movement of Columbia through launch and her final moments upon return The vast majority of the book is dedicated to the what came after how, exactly, did NASA recover over 40% of the shuttle, with pieces smaller than nickels, and with such dedication to the privacy and dignity of those lost in the mission The book is told from an insider s point of view and is extremely readable While there are parts that read as a bit hokey various miracles, people getting choked up, etc , it s all obviously coming from a place of deep feeling, and one leaves the book very aware of the monumental effort it took to bring Columbia home Overall, I d put this at a 3.5 if I had the choice and I will say it is a very memorable read.

  8. says:

    The commemorative video s title says it all Sixteen Minutes from Home.On February 1, 2003, space shuttle Columbia and her crew were on the way home with the plan to land at Kennedy Space Center KSC in Florida Over Texas it disintegrated, leaving a trail of debris nearly 250 miles long from south of Dallas to just over the border with Louisiana.The author, Michael Leinbach, was the launch director of NASA s space shuttle program as well as a key leader in the search and recovery of the debris and crew members Even as the shock was shaking the NASA family to the core, they were working to determine where exactly Columbia had come down Once that was determined, there were four priorities Crew remains, collecting the wreckage, finding the OEX recorder, and keeping the public safe from hazards.The story intermixed with personal anecdotes regarding finds and people show exactly how a search should be done dignity, with compassion and competence Of all the agencies that provided searchers FEMA, U.S Forest Service, NASA, firefighting crews from across the U.S., state police, National Guard all cooperated and worked together Businesses across the U.S no matter how large asked what do you need and it was done.But it was the locals who filled in many of the gaps some searchers that were familiar with the terrain and area People who organized the feeding of those hundreds of searchers be it from a plate a fried chicken from a woman of modest means to classes of school children making sandwiches To a pastor who made sure that last rites were said over the remains of each crew member as they were found.On the other hand, the media was a horror The divide between providing information to the world verses maintaining the respect for the crew, grieving family, friends and coworkers as well as the traumatized searchers on all levels.In the end, 40% of the shuttle s 140,000 pounds was found but it was enough The investigation into the disaster pointed to the cause being due to a piece of foam breaking away from a fuel tank and struck the leading edge of Columbia s left wing The Southwest Research Institute had performed previous studies in the effects of impacts of ice, foam and insulation so they were the perfect company to perform the test shots Taking a panel from another shuttle that had flown the same number of missions, a block of foam was fired with the speed of 500mph difference between the foam and the accelerating shuttle The impact blew a sixteen inch hole in panel There was the cause the hole which hot plasma tore into the wing, melting supports like a blowtorch and eventually destroyed the wing and the shuttle.Unlike Challenger, Columbia is not buried in a missile silo on KSC grounds Rather it is part of a remembrance area Most of the debris is still packed up and behind locked doors but some items are available for viewing Debris is still being found in Texas and mailed to NASA just as Challenger debris is still being found to this day.Honestly, there were moments where I would get choked up by some of the candid, powerful moments That in the end only nine people died in the disaster the seven astronauts and two local men killed when their search helicopter crashed If the Columbia broke up even a few minutes earlier, the debris would have fallen over Dallas and its suburbs which would have caused massive injuries and structural damage.Surprisingly, the FBI offered an amnesty for people who had picked up wreckage and had not turned it into the government the shuttle was government property so stealing or claiming souvenirs was a federal offense The surprising part was the few calls that NASA received asking if the moratorium also applied to Challenger material from seventeen years earlier NASA said yes and several pieces were turned in If you are interested at all in the American space program, you need to read to read this NASA s successes are tainted by the three disasters which are argumentatively due to complacency and striving to achieve goals Administrators had changed the comment Prove to me that it s not safe to come home to Prove to me that it IS safe to come home Columbia wasn t safe but there was no other way to bring the crew home There was no way to repair the shuttle even if they were aware of the damage before returning home Also, they didn t have enough supplies to survive long enough for another shuttle to get prepped and launched.2019 045

  9. says:

    I remember watching videos of space shuttle Columbia s destruction in high school I also remembering wishing I knew that I could have looked up that morning and seen the shuttle fly over my hometown This book s author, Michael Leinbach, was the head administrator for NASA s effort reconstruct the remains of the space shuttle and figure out what happened The book focuses on documenting how Columbia was recovered as opposed to what failures caused columbia to crash And it s really fascinating The shuttle pieces landed in very remote territory in Texas But the searchers found form that eighty thousand pieces Most of these were the size of a thumbnail Then, during the reconstruction, the author and others really tried to address every possible means by which the shuttle could have crashed They discarded a theory only when the evidence could disprove one How methodical The author was an engineer and an administrator in a sprawling bureaucracy As a result, the prose can be a little dry at times But you can t deny how the author s first person intimacy with the topic enriches the details in the text.

  10. says:

    Some of my earliest memories are of Alan ShepardJohn Glenn and the beginnings of our space program And just like many others, I ll always remember where I was when I witnessed the loss of both the Challenger and Columbia space shuttles So I was very interested in what Michael Leinbach had to say about the recovery efforts of the Columbia, for me it was a must read.I think it is a remarkable book, at times uplifting and inspiring but also bringing sadness and tearsHighly recommended.

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