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A fragment of a wing found may advance the investigation of the disaster * Controversial images from the last minute

 Near Fort Worth, Texas, a large fragment of the wing of the space shuttle "Columbia" was discovered this weekend, which can significantly help in the investigation of the causes of the crash of the shuttle, last Saturday, and the death of the seven astronauts who were on board

The fracture is one of the largest pieces discovered so far. Its width reaches about 70 centimeters. It is coated with many insulation tiles, which according to the main theory being tested at NASA, were the part that failed and that led to the crash. The director of NASA's shuttle program, Ron Ditmore, said Tuesday in Houston that the piece of wing will be thoroughly examined, to find out from which side of the shuttle it fell and whether it has signs of early damage, which could have led to the collapse of the heat insulation system.

At the end of the week, NASA tried to downplay the importance of a military telescope photograph, taken a few minutes before the crash, in which significant damage to the shuttle's wing was supposedly visible. The photograph, whose existence was first published in the magazine "Aviation Week", shows a sort of silhouette of the shuttle while flying over New Mexico in the western United States. According to the magazine, you can see in the photo the damage to the left wing as well as a trail of gray smoke coming out of that side of the shuttle.

However, Ron Ditmore said that the photograph "doesn't reveal much to us". He stated that it is indeed possible to see a certain difference between the left and right wing, but it is not possible to learn from this what type of damage was caused to the left side, and whether it was caused during the launch or after reentry into the atmosphere.

Yesterday, the "Washington Post" revealed two engineering reports prepared by "Boeing" company experts on the days of the flight, and which were submitted to those responsible for the shuttle mission. In the reports, which tried to analyze the incident of the impact of the piece of insulation foam in the 80th second after launch on the left wing, doubt is expressed regarding the truth of the two basic assumptions that guided the NASA researchers during the investigation of the incident.

The reports state that the first assumption, according to which it is a piece of insulating foam that hit the wing and not a piece of ice, cannot be confirmed. If it is indeed ice and not an insulating material, then the force of the impact on the wing could have been much stronger and could, without difficulty, have caused actual structural damage to the shuttle. A second assumption, according to which the part that broke off hit the center of the wing and not the leading edge, is also uncertain. While a hit in the center of the wing does not significantly affect the aerodynamic structure of the shuttle, a hit at the tip, a few inches away, can be very significant.

 

Debate regarding the quality of the latest pictures of the shuttle Columbia and the question of what they show

Avi Blizovsky
NASA officials said they are examining the photos taken at Air Force bases in Hawaii and California, and said they will examine the photos taken shortly before the Columbia shuttle disintegrated, but they are not convinced that the solution to the mystery of the last moments of the fatal flight will be found in these photos.
Aviation Week reported Friday that these images, taken about a minute before Columbia disintegrated, show a broken tip near where the left wing joins the shuttle body. The damage to the left wing indicates a fracture caused in the wing itself or that part of the edge of the wing fell off. The right wing appeared normal.
However, on Friday afternoon, shuttle program manager Ron Ditmore showed one of these moderates and said that the sharp edge visible on the left wing was due to the resolution of the image. He also said that experts now have to determine whether the disruption in the shape of the Columbia, as seen in the images, indicates a malfunction or was the result of the angle at which the images were taken.
"Because of the low resolution, you see sharp edges. It is not clear to me if this reveals something more significant at the moment," he said.
NASA confirmed yesterday (Friday) that it received photos of the shuttle Columbia, taken by a camera from a military camp in the United States. NASA's Mike Kostelnik declined to say where the base where the camera was located was located, but said the images were taken during the failure of the shuttle's left wing. Kostelnik said that it is impossible to clearly determine what is seen in the photos. In "Space Technology" it was reported that the photos were taken a minute before the shuttle crashed, and that it is evident in them that damage was caused to the left wing. At a press conference held this week, NASA clarified that even after repeated tests, it does not believe that the detachment of a piece of insulating foam during takeoff was the only cause of the shuttle crash.

Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the Air Force Base in Kirtland, said very high-quality images were taken at Air Force bases in Hawaii and New Mexico. However, Kostelnik claims that the images are of rather poor quality. Kostelnik said that yesterday the search teams discovered a large part of one of the shuttle's wings, but it is not clear from which wing the part that was found broke off.

A large fragment of the wing of the shuttle "Columbia" was discovered last night. may significantly assist in the investigation of the crash 
 9.2.2003 
  
 
The photograph of Columbia, one minute before the crash, as shown at the NASA press conference

Direct link to this page: https://www.hayadan.org.il/colombia047.html

Near Fort Worth, Texas, a large fragment of the wing of the space shuttle "Columbia" was discovered this weekend, which can significantly help in the investigation of the causes of the crash of the shuttle, last Saturday and the death of the seven astronauts who were on board.

The fragment is one of the largest pieces discovered so far and its width reaches about 70 centimeters. It is coated with many insulation tiles, which according to the main theory being tested at NASA, were the part that failed and led to the crash. NASA's shuttle program manager, Ron Ditmore, said Friday in Houston that the piece of wing will be thoroughly examined to find out which side of the shuttle it fell from and whether it showed signs of early damage that could have led to the collapse of the thermal insulation system.

At the end of the week, NASA tried to downplay the importance of a military telescope photograph, which was taken a few minutes before the crash, which allegedly shows significant damage to the shuttle's wing. The photograph, whose existence was first published in the magazine "Aviation Week", shows a sort of silhouette of the shuttle while flying over New Mexico in the western United States. According to the magazine, you can see in the photo the damage to the left wing as well as a trail of gray smoke coming out of that side of the shuttle.

Meanwhile, the "Washington Post" revealed two engineering reports prepared by "Boeing" company experts during the days of the flight and submitted to those responsible for the shuttle mission.
In the reports, which tried to analyze the event of the impact of the piece of insulation foam in the 80th second of launch on the left wing, doubt is expressed regarding the truth of the two basic assumptions that guided the NASA researchers during the investigation of the event.

The reports state that the first assumption, according to which it is a piece of insulating foam that hit the wing and not a piece of ice, cannot be confirmed. If it is indeed ice and not an insulating material, then the force of the impact on the wing could have been much stronger and could, without difficulty, have caused actual structural damage to the shuttle. A second assumption, according to which the part that could be hit in the center of the wing and not at the leading edge, is also uncertain. While a hit in the center of the wing does not significantly affect the aerodynamic structure of the shuttle, a hit at the tip, a few inches away, can be very significant.

Aeronautics experts who read the engineering reports of the "Boeing" company expressed to the "Washington Post" their shock at the judgment of NASA personnel who relied on untested basic assumptions. One of them even said that it seems that "the experts wanted to believe that there was no problem, so they moved on." NASA has not yet responded to the publication of the new reports.

The family of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon is scheduled to arrive in Israel ahead of Ramon's funeral, which will take place on Tuesday in Nahalel.
 
 
 

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