Flashback to Challenger: No Safety Nets When You’re 8 Miles Up
Challenger training mission “A Florida dawn scene on Oct. 5, 1984 forms the backdrop for the climbing Space Shuttle Challenger, its two solid rocket boosters and external fuel tank, launched on the eight-day STS-41G mission,” photographed by astronaut Paul J. Weitz, piloting the Shuttle training aircraft (STA). “Crewed by Robert L. Crippen, Commander; Jon A. McBride, Pilot; Mission Specialists Kathryn D. Sullivan (now NOAA administrator), Sally K. Ride, David C. Leestma and Payload Specialists Marc Garneau of the Canadian Space Agency and Paul D. Scully-Power, the mission’s objectives included the deployment of the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite and the demonstration of the Orbital Refueling System by Sullivan and Leestma during a spacewalk.” A couple o firsts: Sullivan became the first US female spacewalker, and Marc Garneau was Canada’s first astronaut in space. “The shuttle’s crew of 7 was the largest ever to fly on a single spacecraft at that time, and STS-41G was the first flight to include two female astronauts. STS-41G completed 132 orbits of the Earth in 197.5 hours, before landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on Oct. 13. Image Credit: NASA”
That morning started out so perfectly, as most launches to outer space did back then, and the countdown went smoothly, “10…9…8… … … …5…4…3…2…1…and we have lift off!” (At least that’s the version I recall was said during launches although they may have added “mission control.”) The history is fairly well established, but I’ll share some of the news coverage with you through a variety of ways. I thought I’d concentrate on the analysis of what happened at that precise moment shown by the New York Times with the exact time notedand confirmed with a NASA quote that read, “The NASA family lost seven of its own on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, when a booster engine failed, causing the Shuttle Challenger to break apart just 73 seconds after launch.” NASA, Astrodatabank and many news reports indicated 11:38 am EST as takeoff, which places the time of the explosion at 11:39:13 am EST. January 28, 1986, with Dan Rather
Ronald Reagan was President of the United States at the time of the Challenger disaster. Perhaps if then-First Lady Nancy Reagan–with her apparent interest in astrology–had had any say about it, perhaps astrologers would have been given the opportunity to say “no, bad timing!” But none of that occurred, and the mission launched on all major US television stations.
Of course, much debate has been given through the years to the thought that some governments use astrologers for at least some decisions; but the United States doesn’t seem to do so. (As a side note, btw, this does give me pause to wonder whether India’s plethora of astrologers had an opportunity to give official input for the incredibly successful Mars launch. It would seem so, but then I personally don’t know how Vedic astrologers would have handled such a launch with the extraterrestrial [ET] planets not in play. I’d be interested in hearing about that from Eastern astrologers.)
Today marks the 30th Solar Return of the Challenger disaster with the Saturn Return having begun by perfection on the 2nd of December 2015 in partile square to Neptune on that day, reminding us of the Peeling of Life’s Onion. I peeked at the Solar Return (SR) and will offer it here for those who are curious. In short, the 4th house rises in the new Solar Return, and the natal Saturn-SR Neptune square is still partile while SR Mars forms a partile square with the Ascendant. SR Saturn in this chart is now in a separating square to SR Neptune although the two will return to partile square over the next few months. Since we work with the natal and Solar Return in analysis then, the natal Saturn in partile square to SR Neptune is still more than a little significant. The ongoing partile conjunction of SR Mercury and Pluto also bears noting in its approaching square to Uranus in the 9th house, making me wonder whether there are still ongoing investigations that can pinpoint even better what exactly went wrong that day.
Now back to the natal chart presenting a 10th house Uranus-ruled Sun-Mercury-Venus stellium (a conjunction of 3 or more planets and luminaries [the Sun and the Moon] with what’s considered a reasonable orb of 0°)… Although stellium isn’t forming a conjunction to the Saturn-ruled Capricorn Midheaven, the three are at the apex of the chart with Mercury at the highest point. Mercury at the MC is often considered a notable moment for publicity. Publicity indeed! No one expected to see the horror unfolding as it did before everyone’s eyes. Even children in classrooms throughout the United States had been watching.
Although the Moon and Venus were forming a 25-minute partile quincunx, the rest of the stellium did not move within a reasonable orb to the Moon. I wouldn’t have called that a stellium quincunx as a result. The stellium, however, formed a tight square to Pluto on the 7th house cusp as well as squaring the Nodes and Ascendant. Normally, I might not call that a
T-square but perhaps it’s worth considering since transiting Saturn was also forming a 55-minute partile quincunx to the Ascendant: There was no time for adjustment.
A Blooming Undecaquartisextile (UQSXT) forms from the Mars-Uranus wide semisextile to Chiron, implying that there might have been a number of theories in the air about whatever problems were plaguing people behind the scenes before the launch. The Mars-Uranus midpoint sits at 9 Sagittarius 07, in 17-minute partile conjunction to the Part of Fortune (which is conjunct Saturn) in 19-minute partile opposition to Chiron.
Take note that a semisextile on its own should not be capable of carrying such a wide orb; but the midpoint of this duo creates that partile opposition and sets the stage for the Blooming UQSXT. Perhaps people failed to come to solid agreement at the time on what needed to be done to accomplish NASA’s goals before launch. Not that they didn’t try, mind you, rather that they couldn’t get quite where they’d have liked to have gone with these ideas. (Ironically, on tonight’s news, Scott Pelley remembered feeling chilly that morning, and it was later discovered that one tiny piece in the craft had frozen that night before the launch. Obviously, this is the kind of thing that fits the dynamics of the Blooming UQSXT.)
And then there’s the Moon which is always in the act even if we don’t see it at first. While Mars in square to Jupiter makes me wonder whether people sensed something might go wrong that day. Mars in square to Jupiter could have given an obvious warning on the likelihood that NASA was perhaps unwittingly banking on having solved all of the problems beforehand.
But the Moon wasn’t only in square to both Saturn and Chiron with Saturn in opposition to Chiron, the Moon was also forming an Undecaquartisextile to Jupiter. Is it possible that a last-minute adjustment had been made without consulting anyone? While I’d hope not, that aspect seems to imply just that. Is it coincidence that transiting Neptune is again closing in on an opposition to that Moon as I write this? It’s already within orb although it’s not partile yet. That should come around May. Dynamics like these seem to imply to me that this may have been a case of the best intentions having gone awry.
Sad memories indeed. I’m not sure a nation ever heals from moments like these.
Remembering the Seven today: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.