The space shuttle Columbia and its crew of seven astronauts are missing and presumed lost.
Search and rescue crews have been dispatched to the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. NBC News has reported a large explosion over Dallas, Texas and eyewitnesses near Dallas report hearing loud explosions at the time Columbia was scheduled to pass overhead.
Video of Columbia’s descent over Texas shows the vehicle breaking up upon reentry.
Law enforcement authorities report numerous pieces of debris landing in Nacogdoches, Texas. – Space.com
My friends never call me at 8am on a Saturday morning. I wanted to sleep in and didn’t take the calls but when the second one came in I decided to check the news. I turned on the T.V. and saw re-entry video and instantly knew. At the time the reporter was saying the shuttle was missing but the streaking debris pretty much said it all.
My family has roots at NASA’s Johnson Space Center that go back to its founding. My grandparents worked with and knew all the great astronauts and directors in the early days. I remember my grandfather taking me to NASA and introducing me to a lot of them. My step dad has worked in and around JSC for almost two decades. I started out as a mailroom clerk, moved on to the shuttle training program as a field engineer, served as the webmaster for the shuttle program office, and later returned as a consultant for a brief period about a year ago.
I was in high school when we lost the Challenger and crew. I went to school with their kids. I know what that accident did to them. It seemed like the whole year was filled with memorials and speeches. Things didn’t get back to normal at NASA for a few years and for the families of the crew I’m sure that they still haven’t.
Investigations will continue for years but all that matters now is that seven heroes lost their lives in pursuit of mankind’s most dangerous and rewarding endeavor.