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Program Information
 indy headlines 
 STS-107
 News Report
 brad
 http://www.microradio.net  
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a fast read of - dc-imc story
According to an official NASA press release, "Communication and tracking of the shuttle was lost at 9 a.m. EST at an altitude of about 203,000 feet in the area above north central Texas. At the time communications were l
Producer: brad partytownradio@yahoo.com
Uploaded by: news@ckut.ca

http://dc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=48896&group=webcast

GREENBELT, MARYLAND, February 1, 2003

According to an official NASA press release, "Communication and tracking of the shuttle was lost at 9 a.m. EST at an altitude of about 203,000 feet in the area above north central Texas. At the time communications were lost, the shuttle was traveling approximately 12,500 miles per hour (Mach 18).

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, named after rocketry pioneer Robert Goddard, reacted with confusion and sadness this morning to the news that flight STS-107 of the Space Shuttle Columbia had broken up miles above Texas.

Outside the center, the first indication that something had gone wrong were the four flags flying at half-staff at the entrance to the facility. The U.S., Maryland, and NASA flags were joined by a simple tricolor- blue at the top, red at the bottom, with a white field in the center reading "COLUMBIA", with a silhouette of the shuttle.

The NASA facility had been responsible for the FREESTAR (Fast Reaction Experiments Enabling Science, Technology, Applications, and Research) and SOLSE-2 (Shuttle Ozone Limb Sounding Experiment-2) experiments deployed by the lost shuttle crew. However, NASA staff, public information officers, and volunteers had no more information on the apparrent tragedy than was being broadcast on all television and radio outlets as the magnitude of the accident came to light. "The experiments had all gone as well as we could have hoped, I don't have nay comment on what might have caused this" said one NASA official.

The visitors' center, which was scheduled to welcome two busloads of schoolchildren from Pennsylvania today, was turned into a briefing center for the media. While volunteers quickly put their own contingency plan into action, deciding how to approach the issue with the children soon to arrive, the large-screen television in the center switched between NBC, CBS, and the NASA channel broadcasting the scenes from mission control in Houston, not far from the site of the tragedy. As NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe and former astronaut Bill Readdy gave scant information in their early press conference, the media and NASA employees present alike heard more confirmation but fewer facts about the destruction of flight STS-107.

One father with his two children in tow was told of the shuttle's demise in whispered tones and that today might not be the best day to come to the NASA center. They were directed to a nearby aviation museum.

When questioned about the constant warnings in the media about the hazardous materials that might be present at the debris sites (hyperbolic fuels and superheated shuttle parts, among others) one person in attendence said: "the plutonium angle is a good angle. People are already going to the hospital after picking up [some of the debris]. While there was no plutionium on this flight, it's not used in reactors by NASA. It's used to keep articulated parts warm and moving on deep space probes like Galileo. But it's just too dangerous. It's too polluting to put up in space."


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