display | more...

"Lock the doors"

A unfamiliar, yet unforgettable, NASA saying for when the worst has happened and nothing can be done to avoid disaster.

For the space shuttle Columbia, entry flight director Leroy Cain called the order, initiating contingency plans in mission control for the first time since the Challenger disaster 17 years before.

It means no member of staff in mission control can leave the premises, they have to gather all the evidence from their computers, finish their reports and take written accounts of what they saw, heard and did.

It is a saying which does not want to pass through the lips of anyone, especially for the crew of Columbia.