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Space: Shuttle Columbia / Disaster #720889

CBS Evening News for Monday, Feb 03, 2003
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(Studio: Dan Rather) The theory that possible damage during the launch to heat shields on the space shuttle Columbia’s left wing may have contributed to its breakup during re-entry noted.

(Johnson Space Center: Bob Orr) Evidence that the tragic end of the space shuttle Columbia may have begun during the launch examined; animated diagram shown of problems on the left side of the shuttle; NASA video shown; scenes shown of fallen debris. [Space shuttle program manager Ron DITTEMORE†- says you would not have damage sufficient to cause a catastrophic event.] [CBS News space analyst Bill HARWOOD†- says the debris strike and the breakup are related.] [NASA associate administrator William READDY†- says we’re not ready to pinpoint the cause.]

(Studio: Dan Rather) Live interview held with Harwood about the focus of the investigation of the Columbia’s breakup. [HARWOOD – reviews the investigation team’s hypothesis; says there is little or nothing NASA could have done to save the astronauts.]

(Studio: Dan Rather) Report introduced.

(Houston: John Blackstone) Hard questions about the future of the shuttle program featured; details given about technology developed since the explosion of the Challenger in 1986; scenes shown of the Challenger explosion; animated diagram of NASA’s new unmanned space vehicle X-43. [NASA historian Alex ROLAND†- comments on the shuttle safety regime.] [Space Frontier Foundation founder Rick TUMLINSON†, former Safety Advisory Panel member Norris KRONE†, space shuttle program former deputy director Sam BEDDINGFIELD†- cite budget-related safety problems.]

(Studio: Dan Rather) Taped interview with NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe† about the issues of the quality of the shuttle’s heat tiles and budget changes presented. [O’KEEFE - says evidence of streaking on the tiles is not unusual; denies that budget-cutting has led to safety compromises.]

(Studio: Dan Rather) Map shown of the Columbia’s trail of debris.

(Nacogdoches: Bob McNamara) The search for fallen debris and remains of the crew from the space shuttle featured; details given about the closing of east Texas schools while potentially toxic debris is removed; scenes shown of investigators and debris on the ground. [Nacogdoches County, Texas, Sheriff Thomas KERSS†- says some of the debris may never be found.] [Douglass School Board president Mike LOWERY†- says it’s everywhere.] [EPA Gary MOORE†- says we have not picked up anything of concern.] [PARENT – comments.] [Shop owner Kay RUDISALL†- comments on the hole in her shop caused by falling debris.]

(Studio: Dan Rather) Report introduced.

(Hemphill, Texas: Bill Whitaker) The significant field of shuttle debris in the forested area around Hemphill, Texas, and nearby Toledo Bend Reservoir featured; scenes shown. [Volunteer Bain BANNON†, Sabine County, Texas, Sheriff Tom MADDOX†- comment on the search.]

Rather, Dan;
Orr, Bob;
Blackstone, John;
McNamara, Bob;
Whitaker, Bill

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