Space Shuttle Columbia Explodes Over Dallas, Texas

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angelize56

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In case not everyone reads breaking news thread. This is so terrible! :( Take care. angel
 

angelize56

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Saturday, February 1, 2003 Posted: 10:25 AM EST (1525 GMT)

JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, Houston, Texas (CNN) -- The space shuttle Columbia, with seven astronauts aboard, broke up as it descended over central Texas Saturday toward a planned landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Residents as far east as Shreveport, Louisiana, reported seeing and feeling an apparent explosion.

Search-and-rescue teams from the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area were alerted and area residents were urged to stay away from any possible debris from the shuttle, which may be hazardous, said NASA public affairs officer James Hartfield.

President Bush was being briefed at Camp David, Maryland, and was expected to return to the White House by noon. The administration was preparing to convene a "domestic event" conference among all domestic and military agencies that may be involved in the next step.

<b>An administration official said the shuttle's altitude -- over 200,000 feet -- made it "highly unlikely" that the shuttle fell victim to a terrorist act.</b>

NASA officials said they last had contact with the shuttle about 9 a.m. EST, and it had been expected to touch down at about 9:16 a.m. EST.

Video of the shuttle tracking over Dallas showed multiple vapor trails, but NASA spokesman Kyle Herring said it was too early to determine the source.

Steve Petrovich, a police officer in Palestine, Texas, said he heard "a rumble and boom" at about 8 a.m. CDT (9 a.m. EST).

Jim Hubbs of New Boston, Texas, said he heard police discussing over a police scanner "a smoking object going southeast" that disappeared in the Bowie County area near the Arkansas state line.

Amy Townsend of Carthage, said she heard a loud boom that shook her house. She said there were two or three loud noises that lasted about a minute and that she saw a cloud of smoke outside her house.

Don Farmer of Lufkin, outside of Dallas, said he heard loud noises that lasted for 10 to 15 seconds. The noise sounded like dynamite exploding, and he thought it was an aircraft breaking the sound barrier.

Dozens of people, including several officers, reported seeing "a ball of fire," Bowie County Sheriff's office dispatcher Jodine Langford said.

"They saw it go out and then break into pieces," she said.

Officials said no tracking data were available.

Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, was among the seven-person crew.

There was no official reaction from the Israeli government, but a Defense Ministry spokeswoman said, "Like everyone else, we are feeling terrible, hoping the slightest hope that still remains at this stage will become a reality."

Shuttle commander Rick D. Husband, pilot William C. McCool, payload commander Michael P. Anderson, mission specialists David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla and Laurel Clark were also on board.

Columbia is the oldest of NASA's shuttle fleet, first launched in 1981. It was on its 28th mission.
 

angelize56

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My prayers are for the people of Dallas or near where the debris is going to land...pray it lands in a remote area. The odds are not good for any survivors among the astronauts. I would think they died mercilously fast....this si just so sad all over again....:( God bless those brave seven...
 

angelize56

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Space shuttle Columbia apparently disintegrated in flames over Texas on Saturday minutes before it was to land in Florida. TV video showed what appeared to be falling debris, as NASA declared an emergency and warned residents to beware of falling objects.

Six Americans and Israel's first astronaut were on board.

In north Texas, people reported hearing "a big bang" at about 9 a.m., the same time all radio and data communication with the shuttle was lost.

Television stations showed what appeared to be flaming debris falling through the sky, and NASA warned Texas residents to beware of any falling objects. NASA also announced that search and rescue teams were being mobilized in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas.

Inside Mission Control, flight controllers hovered in front of their computers, staring at the screens. The wives, husbands and children of the astronauts who had been waiting at the landing strip were gathered together by NASA and taken to secluded place.

"A contingency for the space shuttle has been declared," Mission Control repeated over and over as no word or any data came from Columbia.

In 42 years of U.S. human space flight, there had never been an accident during the descent to Earth or landing. On Jan. 28, 1986, space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff.

On Jan. 16, shortly after Columbia lifted off, a piece of insulating foam on its external fuel tank came off and was believed to have struck the left wing of the shuttle. Leroy Cain, the lead flight director in Mission Control, assured reporters Friday that engineers had concluded that any damage to the wing was considered minor and posed no safety hazard.

Columbia had been aiming for a landing at 9:16 a.m. Saturday.

It was at an altitude of 207,000 feet over north-central Texas at a 9 a.m., traveling at 12,500 mph when Mission Control lost contact and tracking data.

Gary Hunziker in Plano said he saw the shuttle flying overhead. "I could see two bright objects flying off each side of it," he told The Associated Press. "I just assumed they were chase jets."

"I was getting ready to go out and I heard a big bang and the windows shook in the house," Ferolito told The AP. "I thought it was a sonic boom."

Security had been tight for the 16-day scientific research mission because of the presence of Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut.

Ramon, a colonel in Israel's air force and former fighter pilot, became the first man from his country to fly in space, and his presence resulted in an increase in security, not only for Columbia's launch, but also for its planned landing. Space agency officials feared his presence might make the shuttle more of a terrorist target.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office said it had no immediate comment.

Columbia's crew had completed 80-plus scientific research experiments during their time in orbit.

Just in the last week, NASA observed the anniversary of its only two other space tragedies, the Challenger explosion, which killed all seven astronauts on board, and Apollo space craft fire that killed three on Jan. 27, 1967.
 
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RIP challenger

RIP columbia


it's a shame that this is the only way that the space shuttle makes the news anymore... there was a time when almost every launch was televised on every channel...

this is very sad... :(
 

Rep

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[QU prunejuice


OTE]Saddam is going to pay for this.[/QUOTE]

:confused: :confused: :confused:
 

angelize56

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NASA Television reported Saturday morning that communications were lost with Shuttle Columbia at approximately 8 a.m. EST over north-central Texas. Columbia was at approximately 200,000 feet altitude. Debris has been sighted in north central Texas. Search and rescue has been dispatched in Dallas-Fort Worth area.
News media covering the Space Shuttle should stay tuned to NASA Television, which is broadcast on AMC-2, transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 85 degrees West longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical and audio is monaural at 6.8 MHz.
 

Rep

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So, so sad. It is apparent there can be no survivors. I join Angel in concern for people on the ground.
 
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How many space shuttles were in service?

And what about the people on the space station - I wouldn't like to be in their shoes.

Kate
 
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Tragic, sad and heart wrenching.

MSNBC just played the morning wake up call for the astronauts about how happy they were to be returning - these talking heads are so GD insensitive it makes me sick to my stomach. I hope the immediate family's are not able to see or hear this, and my heart goes out to them in this time of loss.
 
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Pictures of debris on CNN at the moment.
RIP crew of Columbia.

Howard
 

angelize56

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Wino: I know...it brought tears to MY eyes and I'm not even a family member....it will make them so sad to hear those happy words...but maybe it will make them feel better knowing their family members were happy the last time they will ever hear their loved one's voices. NASA has lowered their flags to half mast. :( Take care. angel

NASA Mobilizes Search Crews as Shuttle Breaks Up Over Texas
VOA News
01 Feb 2003, 14:21 UTC

The U.S. space agency NASA has mobilized search and rescue teams after the space shuttle Columbia apparently disintegrated in flames over Texas minutes before it was due to land in Florida.

NASA declared an emergency after communication was lost with the space shuttle Columbia Saturday, as it prepared to land with six American crew members and the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon.

Television footage over Texas showed multiple trails as the shuttle streaked across the sky, indicating that it had broken up. NASA officials are advising residents of Texas not to handle any debris from the shuttle.

There is no word on the fate of the seven crew members, or what caused the break-up.

Security was tight at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the expected landing to prevent any possible terrorist attack. However, there is no indication terrorism was involved.

Columbia was returning after a 16-day scientific mission. In more than four decades of U.S. human space flight, NASA has never lost an astronaut during the descent and landing of a spacecraft. In January 1986, space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after lift-off.

The Columbia crew had completed more than 80 experiments that focused on weightlessness, advanced-technology development, and the health and safety of astronauts.
 
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Attention:

If you are in the area where the debris is supposed to land you are urged to evacuate the area, the vapors can cause a membrane to form over the air sacks in your lungs sufficating you within 48 hrs...

My deepest most hartfelt feelings go out to all the family members and freinds to the 7 astronauts.
This is indeed another great loss for the nation and the space
program.
 
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