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No Hint of Terrorism In Shuttle Tragedy
CBS News ^ | February 1, 2003

Posted on 02/01/2003 12:46:51 PM PST by HAL9000

(CBS) The Bush administration said Saturday there was no indication that terrorism was behind the loss of the space shuttle Columbia on Saturday.

"There is no information at this time that this was a terrorist incident," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the Homeland Security Department. "Obviously the investigation is just beginning, but that is the information we have now."

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no threat had been made against the flight, and the shuttle, at an altitude of about 203,000 feet over north-central Texas when it lost contact, was out of range of surface-to-air missiles.

FBI spokeswoman Angela Bell also said there was no indication of terrorism. She said the FBI would have a tangential role in the investigation, mainly assisting in evidence recovery.

Separately, a Nasa official said there was no evidence of sabotage.

"At this time we have no indication that the mishap was caused by anything or anyone on the ground," NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said.

Another senior law enforcement official said there had been some intelligence that raised concerns about a previously scheduled flight of Columbia, which was to have carried the same crew.

The intelligence, related to Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, was termed not credible, but the flight was postponed for other reasons. There had been no troubling intelligence regarding this flight, officials said, and they do not believe terrorism was involved.

CBS News Correspondent Howard Arenstein interviewed an Israeli intelligence expert, Alon Ben-Meir, who is a professor of terrorism and ethnic conflict at New York University.

Ben-Meir said his sources in Israeli intelligence had also come to the conclusion that it would have been virtually impossible for terrorists to have attacked the shuttle.

"They feel that because of the way it happened, the altitude, and the speed that there is no possibility that any kind of missile could have caused something like this," Ben-Mier said.

©MMIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.



TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: columbia; columbiatragedy; feb12003; nasa; spaceshuttle; sts107; terrorism
Although a missile attack can almost be ruled out as a possibility, there are other forms of terrorism that must be considered.

Sabotage, a malicious attack on the computer systems that control reentry, or a flaw in the software are unlikely possibilities, but must still be investigated.

1 posted on 02/01/2003 12:46:51 PM PST by HAL9000
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To: HAL9000
I agree that there are no overt signs of terrorism at this time, but just to be safe, I think we should start bombing Iraq, just in case...
2 posted on 02/01/2003 12:49:14 PM PST by Joe 6-pack
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To: HAL9000
All possibilities should be explored, frankly I don't think terrorism is involved because security at NASA(especially after Black Tuesday) is very tight.
3 posted on 02/01/2003 12:50:30 PM PST by Commander8
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To: HAL9000
I don't know. It was over Texas. How far from the grassy knoll? That is the high ground. Maybe enough for a hand held rocket to reach it.
4 posted on 02/01/2003 12:53:01 PM PST by cynicalman
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To: HAL9000
See following excerpt from msn.com website (http://msnbc.com/news/857733.asp?0cv=CA00#BODY)

"Speaking on condition of anonymity, a U.S. official told NBC’s Miklaszewski that a heat spike appeared on military satellite data around the time shuttle was re-entering. The readings would be examined to see if they correlate to the shuttle’s breakup. The highly sensitive infrared satellite, known as the DSP, originally was developed to detect the heat spike of Soviet intercontinental missile launches. It also has been used to detect the heat signature of oil fires, volcanic eruptions and the explosion of TWA Flight 800 in 1996. "

5 posted on 02/01/2003 12:53:12 PM PST by CharlotteVRWC
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To: HAL9000
Very, very unlikely. The fact that there was an Israeli on board would have caused the normal security levels to be tripled, at the very least.

The shuttle was so high and moving so fast, that we could not have shot it down ourselves, had we wanted to...stateless terrorists shooting it down is entirely impossible.

As for radio or computer tampering, that would leave fairly obvious evidence which would be found.

That leaves the option of putting a bomb on board or otherwise sabotaging the shuttle on the ground before takeoff, which is also extremely unlikely, but cannot be entirely ruled out before an investigation. One would think, though, that had there be sabotage, it would have destroyed the Shuttle on takeoff or in space, not on reentry.

6 posted on 02/01/2003 12:53:18 PM PST by Vast Buffalo Wing Conspiracy
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To: HAL9000
I think flying into and out of space is still dangerous work and will be for some time in the future. And, we haven't even crossed paths with the Romulans yet...or the Borg.
7 posted on 02/01/2003 12:53:59 PM PST by stevem
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To: HAL9000
Have to lean toward accidental breakup. A missile is almost out of the question. However, the U.S. isn't the only country doing laser research and I wouldn't put it past N. Korea or one of the Arab states to take a pot shot at our shuttle.
8 posted on 02/01/2003 12:54:12 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: Joe 6-pack
Oh, that's your answer for everything.
9 posted on 02/01/2003 12:54:27 PM PST by Vast Buffalo Wing Conspiracy
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To: HAL9000
Would expect this to be treated like an Air Force Accident Investigation where nothing is ruled out except the obvious like the missle being fired at the shuttle which was a no brainer when I first heard that one.

My guess is that everything will be gone over including the last overhaul at the factory with a fine tooth comb! Personally I hope they call in the AF Accident Investigators because I think they are much better than the NTSB. Just my opinion!
10 posted on 02/01/2003 12:55:06 PM PST by PhiKapMom (Bush/Cheney 2004)
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To: HAL9000
Somebody better bloody well hope not.

11 posted on 02/01/2003 1:02:19 PM PST by humblegunner (Eagles up!!!)
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To: HAL9000
there's gonna be some crazy stuff posted on the web ... I can imagine a site or two that will involve who-knows-what?
12 posted on 02/01/2003 1:04:20 PM PST by Bobby777
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To: HAL9000
STATEMENT:"No Hint of Terrorism In Shuttle Tragedy"

RESPONSE: Given today's newspeak this means sabotage should be considered as a possibility.

13 posted on 02/01/2003 1:05:44 PM PST by AEMILIUS PAULUS (Further, the statement assumed)
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To: HAL9000
Let's see here. If I understand some events that occurred here:
(1) A piece of debris (tank insulation) hit the wing on launch.
(2) There was no external space walk and skin inspection on this flight.
(3) They lost telemetry sensor data on from the same wing shortly before the casualty.

Before jumping on terrorism as the cause, I suggest it may just be that a bunch of tiles got loosened, on reentry they came off, and the wing started to combust at that spot, and the damage spread until the wing failed and the shuttle tumbled.

14 posted on 02/01/2003 1:06:10 PM PST by dark_lord
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To: HAL9000
It would not be difficult to sabotage the Shuttle...and to have an event as we saw today..

Reenty generates extreme heat on the Nose and leading edges of the wings... These surfaces are protected by unique heat resistant tiles..

These tiles are bonded to the surfaces they protect.
An act that weakens the bond line sufficiently to allow reentry stress/heat to "pop" it away from the surface -- could expose the surface to sufficient heat on reentry to initiate burning and disintegration of the vehicle...

In addition....any "accidental" or unintended damage to enough tiles could possibly have the same effect.


Semper Fi
15 posted on 02/01/2003 1:07:33 PM PST by river rat (Help save the planet ...... Work toward the extinction of Jihadists....ARM THYSELF)
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To: dark_lord
Yep.

"When you hear hoofbeats, look for horses...not zebras."

16 posted on 02/01/2003 1:09:32 PM PST by eddie willers
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To: Vast Buffalo Wing Conspiracy
One would think, though, that had there be sabotage, it would have destroyed the Shuttle on takeoff or in space, not on reentry.

Agreed. Why wait? Besides, it would be even more difficult (probably impossible) technically, which rules out sabotage IMO. Since the consensus is it can't be a missile, it has to be a malfunction.

Prayers for the crew and their families.

17 posted on 02/01/2003 1:11:29 PM PST by Elenya ( And So It Begins...)
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To: Elenya
I agree and besides there will always be someone who will find a link to something "spookie" (no X-Files pun intended).
If the US ever wanted the world behind them in blowing up Iraq, a terrorist act on the shuttle would be a great thing.
Go home folks, nothing to see here......
18 posted on 02/01/2003 1:41:36 PM PST by netmilsmom (Bush/Rice 2004)
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To: Elenya
I wouldn't rule anything out yet. If it was sabotage, maybe it was done to occur on landing because you've got temps and stresses that would make it easier to do. They can't say jack either way. I just hope they're keeping an open mind about everything.
19 posted on 02/01/2003 1:45:22 PM PST by mewzilla
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To: netmilsmom
If the US ever wanted the world behind them in blowing up Iraq, a terrorist act on the shuttle would be a great thing.

Yep! That's why the "We are happy that it broke up" we just heard from the Irakis is so stupid on top of being pure evil.

20 posted on 02/01/2003 1:47:01 PM PST by Elenya ( And So It Begins...)
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To: cynicalman
Tasteless - very tasteless.
21 posted on 02/01/2003 1:52:29 PM PST by Churchillspirit
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To: mewzilla
If it was sabotage, maybe it was done to occur on landing because you've got temps and stresses that would make it easier to do.

Don't you think the crew would've had plenty of time to notice any sabotage attempt?

22 posted on 02/01/2003 1:54:04 PM PST by Elenya ( And So It Begins...)
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To: Elenya
Short answer, no.
23 posted on 02/01/2003 1:58:01 PM PST by mewzilla
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To: mewzilla
How long were they up there? 2 weeks?
24 posted on 02/01/2003 2:01:01 PM PST by Elenya ( And So It Begins...)
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To: HAL9000
Agreed. The software could have been tampered with, and considering that compromise that gave the Chinese access to our launch codes, anything is possible.

I think that probably it was mechanical failure, but the effort but forward to RULE OUT terrorists make it seem suspious, none the less.
25 posted on 02/01/2003 2:08:42 PM PST by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton
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To: Joe 6-pack
I think we should start bombing Iraq, just in case...

I agree that this would help the collective mood today.

26 posted on 02/01/2003 2:14:08 PM PST by Jennifer in Florida
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To: HAL9000
It's a bit insulting to the intelligence and courage of Americans that they have to keep running this sort of meaningless guff to "reassure" people.

Obviously the shuttle wasn't shot down. And the odds are probably 100-1 or better that it wasn't sabotaged, either. But the latter can't be ruled out until a full investigation has been made. If we have spies in our most secret nuclear facilities, it's not beyond possibility that we have sleeper agents or malevolent persons connected with the shuttle program.
27 posted on 02/01/2003 2:23:21 PM PST by Cicero
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To: HAL9000
There is a lot of debris in space. Leftover junk from satellites, screws, bolts, chunks of metal etc. all travelling incredibly fast. Something like 50,000 kilometers per hour. The kinetic energy of colliding with a 2 centimeter ball bearing that is in orbit around the Earth is the same as colliding with a 1 ton automobile at 60 miles per hour. This is perhaps the biggest hazard in space. A fleck of paint from an old rocket could kill an astronaut. NASA uses a telescope designed to locate and chart projectiles in space, and it is possible to anticipate where their coming from based on these charts, and past history of where rockets and satellites are located. It is a rather large surface area, significantly bigger than the earth's surface, but still we don't know much about collisions which spread this debris all over the orbital surface. Defense against space debris is based in Norad,(the underground military base in Colorado), who alerts the shuttle crews when they are near a danger zone.
NASA takes special precautions to shield the astronauts, and essential spaceship components from projectiles and debris. An astronaut in a space walk is as vulnerable as a soldier on a battlefield. And what's more, A small projectile could destroy sattelight, rocket, or space shuttle.
By changing the flight attitude while in orbit it is possible to minimize potential damage from a collision, and to protect an astronaut who is working outside. The odds of collision are pretty low, but the destructive power can be devastating.
It is possible that the shuttle collided with space debris upon re-entry. The combination of heat, and increased velocity of the shuttle, and a collision with a screw or a large bolt travelling at 50,000 km/hr would probably be enough to cause the explosion.
28 posted on 02/01/2003 2:24:41 PM PST by ramdalesh
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To: HAL9000
A thought concerning Boeing...
29 posted on 02/01/2003 2:36:52 PM PST by HAL9000
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To: HAL9000

Columbia's 28th trip into space begins at 10:39 a.m. EST on Jan. 16 blasting off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

30 posted on 02/01/2003 2:39:53 PM PST by Jennifer in Florida (God Bless America)
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To: HAL9000
S. Launches Second Scud for Anti-Missile Research

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, California (AP) -- The U.S. military launched a Scud missile Monday to obtain data for use in developing missile defense systems.

The missile lifted off from a mobile launcher, reached an altitude of 281,000 feet (84,300 meters) and traveled 186 miles (300 kilometers) before it fell into the Pacific Ocean, Missile Defense Agency spokesman Chris Taylor said. The test was conducted to obtain flight data, and did not involve an intercept attempt, he said.

It was the military's second launch this month of a Scud, a ballistic missile that was developed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s and is now in the arsenals of at least 25 nations, including Iraq.

The launch was part of a $13 million program to help develop an advanced version of the Patriot anti-missile system and other defense technologies, officials said.

The Patriot was put to the test during the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraq fired about 90 Scuds. Forty-three landed in Saudi Arabia and 39 in Israel. One hit a U.S. barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing 28 soldiers. A congressional report found that Patriots downed only four Scuds.

The Scud is difficult to hit because it wobbles wildly in flight.

A Call for Planetary Defense

The final report of the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry, released last week, calls for the Department of Defense (DoD) to take on the role of planetary defense.

The Commission noted that the U.S. Air Force is looking into use of satellites for detecting and tracking human-made satellites in Earth orbit. That effort should be broadened, the study group advised, to include detection of asteroids.

Given Air Force study and other military space reviews underway, "planetary defense should be assigned to the DoD in cooperation with NASA," the report states.

"The day will arrive when an asteroid is discovered on a collision course with Earth. The more we know about their orbit and structure, the more effective we can be in attempting to deflect it from harm's way," the Commission report concludes.

-- L
31 posted on 02/01/2003 4:21:19 PM PST by drron
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To: drron
The missile lifted off from a mobile launcher, reached an altitude of 281,000 feet (84,300 meters) and traveled 186 miles

Where did you get this from? Everything I've read about the Vandenberg Scud tests show that the altitude reached about 150,000 feet, not any more than this. When was this test conducted?
I found this story: Scud Tests

32 posted on 02/01/2003 5:59:08 PM PST by Jennifer in Florida (God Bless America)
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To: CharlotteVRWC
Lord that's scary.
33 posted on 02/01/2003 8:10:48 PM PST by katherineisgreat
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