Shuttle Columbia breaks up over Texas
Watching Fox News this AM just now and it appears the Space Shuttle Columbia broke up on reentry for landing, over central Texas. They are launching search and rescue, but there was debris trails visible over Texas. Crap! Our prayers are with the crew - seven astronauts.
The craft was over north central Texas, speed 12,500 mph, at 207,000 feet. Last communication was around 8 a.m. Central Time, with landing scheduled at 8.16. NASA has declared a "contingency." Crews families have been moved from the landing strip.
NASA asks anyone finding debris to stay away from it, due to possible toxic substances, but to inform their local law enforcement authorities. No debris found yet...
More, from the AP...
Residents in north Texas reported hearing "a big bang" at about 9 a.m., the same time all radio and data communication with the shuttle and its crew of seven was lost. In Washington, officials said President Bush had been informed and was awaiting more information from NASA. Officials said there was no indication of terrorism. Six Americans and Israel's first astronaut were on board Columbia. 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.
The Columbia shuttle has exploded during landing. All American TV companies interrupted their programs and showed parts of the space shuttle falling apart in mid-air during its descent. NASA instructed search and rescue groups to start searching along the trajectory of the shuttle's descent in Texas. The accident occurred at 17.16 Moscow time about 500 miles from the cosmodrome at Cape Canaveral in Florida. 7 astronauts were on board the shuttle (2 women, 5 men), including the first Israeli astronaut.
They've started finding debris in an around Nacogdoches... across the state line in Arkansas, too... Unconfirmed reports of human remains found...
Posted by: Frank G 2003-02-01