I just watched President Bush speak to our country. He gave a very comforting and touching address. He was at his finest and I appreciated his remarks very, very much.
As for details about the tragedy, here's what is known so far from NASA officials at a press briefing:
Shuttle was descending for a scheduled 9:16AM EST landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At about 9:00AM EST while over the DFW area of Texas, at an altitude of about 200,000 feet and a speed of mach 18 (about 12,000 mph) contact and data tracking was suddenly lost. Video footage shows what appears to be the shuttle breaking up with multiple vapor trail type plumes streaking behind it. Debris has been located on the ground in a multiple state area.
As I understand it, the incident occured after the communications blackout period that occurs when a spacecraft re-enters the earth's atmosphere, and radio contact with the shuttle had been re-established.
I do not know if that means the shuttle had completed the re-entry phase or not, but obviously we have learned through the years that re-entry is a critical phase which involves tremendous heat.
Last radio transmission stopped in mid-sentence. It was the crew responding to NASA regarding a tire pressure issue. No way of knowing whether this is related, but if a tire blew with enough force, I'd imagine it could blow gear doors and expose parts of the craft to temperature extremes they were not designed for and which are normally protected by the insulating tiles on the shuttle's skin. Vague reports are also saying the shuttle may have hit something during launch and that one or more tiles came off a wing during the launch.
The Pentagon has said flat-out there is no way an anti-aircraft missle could hit the shuttle at the speed and altitude it was traveling. NASA says it was not caused by "anyone or anything" on the ground.
NASA will be holding a press conference at 3:00PM EST which will be broadcast live and have the latest known information.
On 2/1/2003 2:56:45 PM drifterreno wrote:
My thoughts and prayers go out to the shuttle families and the NASA family as a whole. It brought back so many memories. Alan Shepard going up for the first time, Sally Ride the first woman in space, the Apolo fire on the launch pad, and finally Challanger. I saw all of these in person and many unmaned flights before Shepard. Growing up in Florida this was our life. Please join with me in voicing our sorrow for all space pioneers.
Kevin---this is why I don't like my comments moved to this particular page!!! My comments are for those I know and trust. NOT for some stupid itiot to add "funny" remarks to. Please move my post back to USAirways!!!