Space Shuttle Columbia - Sensors Go Off-line

Unknown to Columbia's astronauts, orbiter sensors were going offline while observers on the ground recorded something falling away from the shuttle. People in Texas called their local sheriff when they saw debris hurtling to the earth.

When it was clear the mission was lost, teams of searchers scoured the countryside to locate pieces of shuttle debris.  Six weeks after the disaster, a searcher found the shuttle’s data recorder (sometimes called "the black box"). 

Although it did not have a protective casing, this critical piece of equipment had survived a 37-mile fall before it landed in a swampy area near the town of Hemphill, Texas.

This video clip, from Columbia's Last Flight, combines historical footage, interviews, recreated scenes and computer-generated imagery to demonstrate the final moments of Columbia's last mission (STS-107).

Media Credits

Clip from "Columbia's Last Flight" - from the series "Seconds from Disaster" - online, via National Geographic's Channel at YouTube. Copyright, National Georgraphic, all rights reserved. Provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the program. License: Standard YouTube.

Sid Bennett

Anna Kirkwood

Original broadcast:
June 28, 2005 - Season 2 of "Seconds from Disaster," Episode 1


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"Space Shuttle Columbia - Sensors Go Off-line" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Feb 20, 2020.
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