Home > US Edition > Report

NASA releases video of Columbia
astronauts' final minutes

Jeet Thayil in New York | March 01, 2003 08:23 IST

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration on Friday released a videotape showing the final moments of Kalpana Chawla and six other astronauts on the doomed Columbia space shuttle.

The astronauts are seen sipping drinks, joking, smiling and doing routine jobs like putting on their gloves.

The 13-minute tape shows flight engineer Chawla in an orange suit with the helmet visor lifted, smiling for the camera held by colleague Lauren Clark.

Damaged in the crash but still functioning, the videotape, taken by Clark, shows what was going on inside the shuttle just minutes before it broke up above Texas.

Chawla, Clark, Commander Rick Husband and pilot William McCool are seen performing the routine tasks that a shuttle flight requires, NASA officials said.

The tape fragment shows the time to be 8.35am, nine minutes before the shuttle entered the atmosphere.

NASA investigators found evidence that the shuttle's left wing was punctured. The hole allowed super-hot gases to get inside the ship on re-entry. It is likely that the heat caused the Columbia to disintegrate.

This is only the latest of several theories. Previously, investigators said thermal tiles that flew off the underside of the shuttle's left wing, during takeoff, caused the crash.

NASA said the latest video, recovered in Texas last week, is not relevant to the ongoing investigation.

The video was first shown to the astronauts' families and members of Congress..

The Columbia Shuttle Crash: The Complete Coverage

Article Tools

Email this Article

Printer-Friendly Format

Letter to the Editor

Share your comments

 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 14

Sub: Salute to a real life hero''Kalpana Chawla''

Was just watching a movie,saw a space shuttle landing imediately kalpana's picture got through my mind...You were a great hero kalpna...Each and every Indian is ...

Posted by varun

Sub: salute to kalpana chawla

I am heartfully salute to Kalpana Chawla for his work and his dedicated mind. Sir i am requesting you to please send me the realised ...

Posted by siva

Sub: respect

god sent the HERO kalpana ji, oh god send many many more heroes like her . i respect her courage,will power, vision. ...

Posted by m s sidhu CA

Sub: first anniversry

My salute to legend kalpna ji I know we all are proud on us that we are Indian but know India will proud on itself ...

Posted by vedpal

Sub: our dearest Kalpana Chawla

We all miss u Kalpana Maam. We love u. We miss ur guidance. All the I ndians r proud of u. U've motivated many people ...

Posted by fizza


Copyright © 2003 rediff.com India Limited. All Rights Reserved.