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The UFO Files
Space Shuttle STS-107 Columbia Disaster
February 1, 2003
The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrating during reentry

The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas stretching from Trophy Club to Tyler and into parts of Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the death of all seven crew members, shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107.

The loss of Columbia was a result of damage sustained during launch when a piece of foam insulation the size of a small briefcase broke off the Space Shuttle external tank (the main propellant tank) under the aerodynamic forces of launch. The debris struck the leading edge of the left wing, damaging the Shuttle's thermal protection system (TPS), which protects it from heat generated with the atmosphere during re-entry. While Columbia was still in orbit, some engineers suspected damage, but NASA managers limited the investigation, on the grounds that little could be done even if problems were found.

Source: Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster - Wikipedia

Related Links:

  • Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster from NASA TV - Youtube - NASA live mission control - February 13, 2007 
  • Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster - Wikipedia
  • Space Shuttle Accident - Columbia Crash #1 - Youtube
  • Shuttle Columbia - Youtube - MSNBC - February 01, 2003
  • Columbia Disaster - Youtube - Columbia disaster as seen and recorded from my driveway. Space shuttle Columbia breaking up over north Texas on 2-1-03. This video along with my video camera was sent to NASA for analysis. The zoomed in portion of the video at the very beginning has created some controversy over the years. The shuttle appears to be facing the wrong direction exposing the left side to extreme pressure. You can see the heat building up as I zoomed back out and then it began to break up. This is the only video showing the shuttle moments before the break up. - ASKADAN - June 03, 2008
  • Hypervelocity Reentry - NASA
Mission Patch
Space Shuttle STS-51-L Challenger Disaster
January 28th, 1986
Space Shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after take-off.

On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger and her seven-member crew were lost when a ruptured O-ring in the right Solid Rocket Booster caused an explosion soon after launch. This photograph, taken a few seconds after the accident, shows the Space Shuttle Main Engines and Solid Rocket Booster exhaust plumes entwined around a ball of gas from the External Tank. Because shuttle launches had become almost routine after twenty-four successful missions, those watching the shuttle launch in person and on television found the sight of the explosion especially shocking and difficult to believe until NASA confirmed the accident.
Image # : 86-HC-220
Title: Exhaust Trail of STS-51-L

Challenger Disaster Live on CNN 
January 28th, 1986

1986: CNN's coverage of the Challenger explosion

January 28th, 1986 at 11:39am EDT - The Space Shuttle Challenger Explodes on its 10th flight during mission STS-51-L. The explosion occurred 73 seconds after liftoff and was actually the result of rapid deceleration and not combustion of fuel.

CNN was the only national news station to broadcast the mission live, so thus what you are witnessing on this video is the only coverage of the disaster as it happened when it did. Approximately 17% of Americans witnessed the launch live, while 85% of Americans heard of the news within 1 hour of the event. According to a study, only 2 other times in history up to that point had news of an event disseminated so fast - the first being the announcement of JFK's assassination in 1963, the second being news spread among students at Kent State regarding the news of FDR's death in 1945. It has been estimated at the time that nearly 48% of 9-13 year olds witnessed the event in their classrooms, as McAuliffe was in the spotlight.

The 25th Space Shuttle mission altered the history of manned space exploration and represented the first loss of an American crew during a space mission (Apollo 1 was during a training exercise).

Christa McAuliffe was slated to be the first teacher in space for the Teacher in Space Program. As her maximum altitude was ~65,000ft (12.31 miles), she never made it to space. That title was given to Barbara Morgan of STS-118 aboard the shuttle Endeavour in August 2007, 22 and a half years after the Challenger Disaster. Morgan served as McAuliffe's backup during STS-51-L. As Morgan is now part of the Educator in Space Program, she will be credited as the first "educator" in space, to distinguish her from McAuliffe.

Aboard Challenger during STS-51-L:

Francis "Dick" Scobee (Commander)
Michael Smith (Pilot)
Judith Resnik (Mission Specialist)
Ellison Onizuka (Mission Specialist)
Ronald McNair (Mission Specialist)
Gregory Jarvis (Payload Specialist)
Sharon Christa McAuliffe (Payload Specialist - Teacher in Space)

New Video of Challenger Disaster Surfaces After 24 Years
February 1, 2010

New Video of Challenger Disaster Surfaces After 24 Years

On a chilly January morning 24 years ago, Corydon optometrist Jack Moss raised his new video camera to the sky over central Florida and captured one of the darkest moments in American space exploration the explosion of the shuttle Challenger.

In the videotape, a stream of white smoke behind the climbing shuttle shoots into view but Moss, his wife and a neighbor noticed immediately that More..something was amiss when the channel separated into two streams.

Thats trouble of some kind, Moss can be heard saying. That didnt look right.

Moments later, someone is heard telling Moss that the Challenger had blown up.

From Louisville Courier Journal

More info:
The Florida man who filmed it from his front yard on his new Betamax camcorder turned the tape over to an educational organization a week before he died this past December. The Space Exploration Archive has since published the video into the public domain in time for the 24th anniversary of the catastrophe. Despite being shot from about 70 miles from Cape Canaveral, the shuttle and the explosion can be seen quite clearly. It is unclear why he never shared the footage with NASA or the media. NASA officials say they were not aware of the video, but are interested in examining it now that it has been made available.

"High Flight" Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; sunward Ive climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence. Hovring there, Ive chased the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.... Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue Ive topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace where never lark nor even eagle flew and, while with silent lifting mind Ive trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space, put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
~John Gillespie Magee Jr. 

SOURCE: Channel 8 News George Knapp

Related Links:

Mission Patch
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