Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
February 1, 2003

Space Shuttle Columbia 'Lost'

The space shuttle Columbia crashed today, killing all seven astronauts aboard. Mission control could do nothing as silence filled the airwaves. Highlights and news:

  • Mission controllers lost contact Saturday with the shuttle as multiple vapor trails were spotted over Texas.

  • First Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon lost in crash... Israel mourns... lost in the crash was Moon Landscape, created by Petr Ginz, a 14-year-old Jewish boy, during his incarceration in the Theresienstadt ghetto, carried by Ramon along with miniature scroll of the Torah.

  • Indian-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla also lost (bio)... India mourns... Chawla's odyssey

  • Texas stunned as residents are warned to stay away from debris field in Texas (map) as houses are hit, one burns... Police in Nacogdoches, Texas, reported "numerous pieces of debris" both inside the city limits and in Nacogdoches County... exclusive pics of the wreckage...

  • Editors at the Washington Post have egg on their face as a prewritten article, ironically titled "Columbia Streaks Toward Florida Landing" (formerly here but removed, mirrored here) remains on the site a half hour after the crash... (Google news hit on the headline)

  • Former safety engineer, Dian hardison, says I f-ing warned them... A report released yesterday (January 31) warns of "shortages in its (NASA's) workforce... This dilemma is more pronounced among areas crucial to NASA's ability to perform its mission, such as engineering, science, and information technology..."

  • The ghouls at CNN will charge you money to view the radar loop, but it is mirrored here... Video mirrored here (Quicktime mov)

  • On launch day, a piece of insulating foam on the external fuel tank came off during liftoff and was believed to have struck the left wing of the shuttle...

  • The shuttle crew and ground staff had paused to remember the 17th anniversary of the Challenger disaster during the flight...

  • Advice to media on how to cover the event (besides running the story with the right ending): hit the streets, get in close... more tips here

  • More from the ghoul file as space shuttle debris advertised on eBay (mirrored here, because eBay will pull it)

  • Via a bunch of places, some dark humour: What really happened......

  • Minute by minute coverage, blog style, on Metafilter (easily the best text coverage on the net)...

  • Was it time to retire the 22 year old Columbia? From August, 2000: Columbia has 3,500 defects in wiring

  • Iraqi official calls shuttle crash God's vengeance...

  • Bush had considered privatizing NASA, but his speech on the disaster is an eerie echo of Reagan's speech following the Challenger disaster...

  • A stunned world grieves... Creative Commons License
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