EL-1994-00476.jpegSpace Shuttle Columbia lost in flight: NYT index to coverage.

The Space Shuttle Columbia, flying mission STS-107, broke up in flight over Nacogdoches, Texas at about 9 am Eastern time this morning. All aboard are presumed lost. Nacogdoches is near the eastern, Louisiana border of the state.

Not my favorite way to start a Saturday. I recall only too well the loss of Challenger. Color scheme changes here are in temporary recognition of the loss.

(The picture is of Columbia in a 1990 night launch. The spacecraft first flew a mission in 1981. Which I must say I find to be of interest. As I finish this entry, I see the NYT has added the item “Ship was fleet’s oldest” to the pre-news conference head. )

UPDATE: (2p PST) I just found a huge stash of clippings I’ve had since April, 1981. That first mission that Columbia flew in 1981? It was also the very first orbital mission for any shuttle. I will look through the clippings and scan a few, I expect.

sts107_patch.jpgUPDATES – added immediately following initial entry, circa 1pm

In the 3pm EST news conference, NASA personell described telemetry data indicating anomalous readings originating on a left wing elevon (a wing flap) and spreading to indicate loss of tire pressure on a landing gear. Unfortunately I did not think to take notes, but I recall thinking, “Oh.”

MetaFilter coverage begins at 6:23 am, less than ten minutes after the initial reports of the loss of communication with the shuttle.

links from that thread include:

a mirror of the pulled eBay auction (see below)

an animated gif of the debris problems noted on launch of the mission and the article it’s related to

a photo from a gound onlooker – not verified

an IRC feed excerpt which includes this commentary from a participant:

02/01/03 09:00 AM

Re: re entry visibility [re: astronaut23]

They got some tire pressure messages……….I hope not the left main gear, that is about where the ET foam hit the tiles………

Space.com’s STS-107 thread

the planned landing paths from NASA

The Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel

Some interesting links from BoingBoing:

NOAA radar debris track

Debris rains on Nacogdoches

Dave Winer’s roundup

Steve MacLaughlin’s roundup

eBay debris listings (appeared by noon EST, discussion at Fark)

3 thoughts on “Columbia breaks up in flight

  1. Hm, not sure what to say, Scott – it’s a terrible tragedy, and I’m really sorry for the persons who perished and their loved ones.

    I will be looking through that sheaf of newspaper and magazine clippings on the April, 1981 first orbital mission of Columbia I noted with an eye to sharing them here, and that will probably prompt an essay.

    And my stylesheet has been changed to reflect my desire to note a period of mourning here… but some browsers may not reflect this unless you force a refresh.
    Go here for a moment and do a force refresh, then come back:


  2. what the…

    I started noticing incoming hits from the MeFi link, so I investigated… and somehow my copy of MT managed to insert me about SEVEN TIMES as a trackbacker at the bottom of the list!

    Geez, that’s totally embarrassing! Also, W – T – F!!

    Off to MT fora to ask the all-knowing, all-seeing.

    And my apologies to any cheesed MeFi folks, beleive me, it ain’t deliberate.

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