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Nation mourns astronauts lost aboard shuttle Columbia - headline coverage in D/FW area
The Dallas Morning News ^ | February 1, 2003 | The Dallas Morning News Staff

Posted on 02/01/2003 6:42:55 PM PST by MeekOneGOP


Nation mourns astronauts lost aboard shuttle Columbia

02/01/2003

From Staff and Wire Reports

The space shuttle Columbia, carrying seven astronauts including an Israeli and three with Texas connections, broke up over North Central Texas enroute to a scheduled landing in Florida on Saturday morning.

"Columbia is lost; there are no survivors," President George W. Bush said in an address to the nation.

"The astronauts knew the dangers and they faced them willingly," the president said, flanked by two flags and his voice dropping almost to a whisper at some points.

Mr. Bush pledged that the U.S. space program would continue.

Shuttle commander Rick Husband grew up in Amarillo and received a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University in 1980. Pilot William McCool graduated from Coronado High School in Lubbock. And Kalpana Chawla, a mission specialist, earned a master's degree from the University of Texas-Arlington in 1984.

Bill Readdy, NASA's associate administrator for space flight, said it was too early to speculate about what destroyed the shuttle. A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was no immediate indication of terrorism.

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, his voice breaking at times as he spoke, said Bush had talked to the families of the astronauts.

"We trust the prayers of the nation will be with them and with their families. A more courageous group of people you could not have hoped to know than the families of these crew members, an extraordinary, extraordinary group of astronauts who gave their lives," he said. Neither he nor Readdy took reporters' questions.

"The last contact was at approximately 8 a.m. CST when the shuttle was 200,000 feet above north central Texas enroute to a planned landing at 8:16 a.m.," mission commentator James Hartsfield said.

Mission Control abruptly lost all data and voice contact with the shuttle and crew. At the same time, residents of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana reported hearing "a big bang" and seeing flames in the sky.

The final radio transmission between Mission Control and the shuttle gave no indication of a catastrophic failure.

Mission Control radioed: "Columbia, Houston, we see your tire pressure messages and we did not copy your last."

Columbia's responds: "Roger, uh ..."

Then the transmission breaks off.

Video of the shuttle as it re-entered the atmosphere at sixteen times the speed of sound showed the usual orange dot of its heat shield glowing, followed by a vapor trail. Then, suddenly, the orange dot and the vapor trails broke into multiple pieces.

NASA declared an emergency and alerted residents in Dallas and East Texas to report any debris found to local law enforcement. The debris could be dangerous and will be needed to determine what happened, a spokesman said.

Aboard Columbia were Commander Rick Husband, Pilot Willie McCool, Mission Specialists Dave Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson and Laurel Clark, and Israeli Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, all trained at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

IRWIN THOMPSON/DMN
A piece of the space shuttle Columbia rests on the grass in front of Rice High School in Rice, about 50 miles south of Dallas.

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 a 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.

Dallas Web Staff

Residents of Nacogdoches, Texas, said they found bits of metal strewn across the city. Dentist Jeff Hancock said a metal bracket about a foot long crashed through his office roof.

"It's all over Nacogdoches," said barber shop owner James Milford. "There are several little pieces, some parts of machinery ... there's been a lot of pieces about 3 feet wide."

Two hours after the shuttle had been expected to land, the giant screen at the front of Mission Control showed a map of the Southwest United States and what should have been Columbia's flight path.

It was the 113th flight in the shuttle program's 22 years and the 28th flight for Columbia, NASA oldest shuttle.

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.

NOAA.gov
Radar image shows the debris path over Texas.

The shuttle is essentially a glider during the hour-long decent from orbit and is covered by about 20,000 thermal tiles to protect against temperatures as high as 3,000 degrees.

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 hit 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.

Watch WFAA-TV (Ch. 8) and TXCN (Cable Ch. 38 in Dallas area) for news updates throughout the day and read more in Sunday's Dallas Morning News.


Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dallas/latestnews/stories/020103dnnatshuttle.1068f68d.html


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: columbia; columbiatragedy; disaster; feb12003; nasa; restinpeace; spaceshuttle
Rest in peace, Shuttle Columbia victims...
1 posted on 02/01/2003 6:42:55 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
They weren't victims.

They are heros.
2 posted on 02/01/2003 6:49:28 PM PST by Tennessee_Bob (We were "the thunder and the lighting of the storm...")
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To: MeeknMing
Carry it on:
In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."

The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home.

May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue to bless America.
3 posted on 02/01/2003 6:50:31 PM PST by Marines981 ("Rattle the big dogs cage and get your a** kicked")
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To: MeeknMing
MeeknMing, bless you - this has to be so hard for you in that area.
4 posted on 02/01/2003 6:53:11 PM PST by Inspectorette
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To: MeeknMing

Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster Archive ^

5 posted on 02/01/2003 6:56:52 PM PST by petuniasevan (RIP Columbia crew - you were the "right stuff")
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To: Tennessee_Bob
God bless the heros, then...
6 posted on 02/01/2003 6:57:50 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (9 out of 10 Republicans agree: Bush IS a Genius !!)
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To: Inspectorette
So kind. Thank you, Angel...
7 posted on 02/01/2003 7:01:04 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (9 out of 10 Republicans agree: Bush IS a Genius !!)
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To: MeeknMing
For some reason, this one doesn't hurt me as much as the Challenger. Maybe it's because I'm older. Maybe it's because I've changed and become a worse person. Maybe it's because of 9/11.

I'm not sure why it is, but maybe I'll be able to determine this better in coming days. All I know now is that I deeply regret what happened, but it's not affecting me like the earlier incident.

8 posted on 02/01/2003 7:01:28 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: petuniasevan; backhoe
Wow. Thanks. I see our King of Link has been busy today. Thanks, Backhoe !
9 posted on 02/01/2003 7:03:24 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (9 out of 10 Republicans agree: Bush IS a Genius !!)
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To: Dog Gone
You're still numb right now, the same as me, perhaps?...
10 posted on 02/01/2003 7:04:40 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (9 out of 10 Republicans agree: Bush IS a Genius !!)
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To: Dog Gone
We're getting USED to this stuff...

God help us.
11 posted on 02/01/2003 7:06:53 PM PST by petuniasevan (RIP Columbia crew - you were the "right stuff")
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To: MeeknMing
This is going to sound crass (it isn't meant to be), but I heard a couple of fascinating anecdotes today from former mission controllers, etc. One of them said that some administrations actually prepared a "canned speech" to be used in the event one of the space missions went bad. This practice supposedly started with President Nixon before the first moon launch in 1969 -- in case something went wrong, he would have been ready to address the nation on short notice.
<p.
I actually wondered if this was the case today, since I was surprised that President Bush did not elaborate more on the fact that there was an Israeli on this mission and extend the nation's sympathies to Israel as well.
12 posted on 02/01/2003 7:25:42 PM PST by Alberta's Child
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To: Dog Gone
I understand exactly how you feel. I think it is because I speculated back in 1986 that something of that magnitude would certainly happen again sometime.

Oddly enough, I'm a little surprised the U.S. space program didn't have more re-entry disasters early on -- I thought that would be the most dangerous part of any mission.

13 posted on 02/01/2003 7:27:33 PM PST by Alberta's Child
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To: Dog Gone
It's because we are numb with the pain of the past ten years.
14 posted on 02/01/2003 7:28:38 PM PST by OldFriend (SUPPORT PRESIDENT BUSH)
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To: Alberta's Child
Is it absolutely necessary for you to share every inane thought?
15 posted on 02/01/2003 7:29:36 PM PST by OldFriend (SUPPORT PRESIDENT BUSH)
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To: MeeknMing
It's ironic that JFK ended his life in Dallas and these brave people ended their lives over Dallas.
16 posted on 02/01/2003 7:40:55 PM PST by KnutCase
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To: MeeknMing
A Memorial I did this morning in Photoshop.

I am using this for my desktop. Feel free to use it or post
it anywhere you like.

The Background was taken by Digital Camera from this
shuttle mission.

The rest of the pics are from Nasa's website.

There is a larger version on my website here:

http://home.attbi.com/~Sonar5/Shuttle/memorial-sts-107.jpg


Regards,
Joe



17 posted on 02/01/2003 7:41:33 PM PST by Sonar5
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To: Marines981
I've been lurking over in the "enemy" camp. I can not believe the absolute evil hatred these "people" have for President Bush and the Bible.
18 posted on 02/01/2003 7:45:51 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: MeeknMing
Let's not forget our sympathetic Iraqi friends, who, according to Fox, said: "We are happy the Columbia broke up - God is punishing the Americans for their encroachment on Iraq." And also, (paraphrasing) - glad the Israeli is dead, too, because he helped bomb an Iraqi weapons compound in the past. Never forget - Islam is the religion of peace. Prayers for the astronauts and their families. Moe
19 posted on 02/01/2003 7:52:21 PM PST by ysoitanly
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To: MeeknMing
Oh, I have slipped the surly bounds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a thousand things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,
I've chased the shouting wind along , and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

HIGH FLIGHT
by
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

20 posted on 02/01/2003 7:57:28 PM PST by fight_truth_decay (Occupied)
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To: ysoitanly
I hope everyone knows this was SARCASM. I'm new and might have messed up on the tag. I am just shocked and depressed at this whole incident.

thanks,

moe
21 posted on 02/01/2003 7:58:10 PM PST by ysoitanly
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To: Sonar5
Very beautiful. Thank you so much...
22 posted on 02/01/2003 8:00:30 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (9 out of 10 Republicans agree: Bush IS a Genius !!)
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To: ysoitanly
Yes, I saw the Iraqi article/response. Grrr!
23 posted on 02/01/2003 8:01:58 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (9 out of 10 Republicans agree: Bush IS a Genius !!)
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To: Sonar5

This is my tribute.

24 posted on 02/01/2003 8:02:21 PM PST by B-Chan (IN MEMORIAM Space Shuttle Columbia and crew 2003.02.01)
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To: fight_truth_decay
Thank you. Very nice...
25 posted on 02/01/2003 8:04:48 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (9 out of 10 Republicans agree: Bush IS a Genius !!)
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To: B-Chan
Hi B-Chan.

Your tribute is very well done.

Thanks,

Joe
26 posted on 02/01/2003 8:05:12 PM PST by Sonar5
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To: Dog Gone
I worked today from 8am to around 6pm, and heard no news of this tragedy until I got into my car. I dealt with numerous people today.... Not One person mentioned this happened, not even coworkers who came to work late afternoon.
27 posted on 02/01/2003 8:18:17 PM PST by LurkerNoMore!
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To: ysoitanly
You did fine. Welcome to Free Republic! I hope you enjoy it here.
28 posted on 02/01/2003 8:37:43 PM PST by dixiechick2000 (Democrats ARE an evil terrorist organization!)
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To: fight_truth_decay
I remember our local TV ststion used to sign off with this poem. I also remember seeing this poem on the wall of the BX(PX) at Beale AFB. There was an added verse in which God spoke back to the pilot warning him of his presumptuousnes. Any one remember this verse?
29 posted on 02/01/2003 8:47:52 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: Sonar5
That is beautiful Sonar
30 posted on 02/01/2003 9:35:27 PM PST by oceanperch
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To: OldFriend
Sometimes I work around the clock caring (23 yrs now) for my quad son and spend up to a week in this room without a break with all the noisy machines to keep him going eating pizza cuz I am tired and tied to his care the only connection I have is making innane comments at FR between the suctioning, stoma care ect.. Please be nice to people you never know what their life is like on the other side of the screen.
We are all tired as this tragedy has worn some of us down faster than others.
Save your energy for when someone really needs a flaming. OP
31 posted on 02/01/2003 9:47:53 PM PST by oceanperch
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar
I finally got some rest after the news this morning. I noticed some of the DU coming over and uniting with us. Even they could not stomach it over there. Having slept most of the day I did not have a chance to see WHY? Pres. Bush drove back to the WH instead of flying. I thought maybe it was for his security untill NASA had a better grasp on what happen to the Challenger and/or to take private time to gather his emotions before going public.
32 posted on 02/01/2003 9:56:48 PM PST by oceanperch
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To: Sonar5
Excellent Sonar5 and thank you!
33 posted on 02/01/2003 10:02:46 PM PST by amom
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To: Dog Gone
You are not alone.
34 posted on 02/01/2003 10:13:18 PM PST by RIGHT IN SEATTLE
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