Is the Space Race finally over?

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3rd February 2003                                                                         Kevin Grimes

Is the Space Race finally over?

        On Saturday 1st February 2003, the space shuttle ‘Columbia’ broke up on re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. Travelling at 12,500 mph and more then 40 miles above the earth, all that remained of the seven astronauts – five men and two women who died were body parts.

        Scatted across an area over 500 square miles wide chunks of charred an twisted mettle, ranging from a few inches long to over 2 metres wide, lay still smoking on the ground. The centre of the crash was Nacogdoches in Texas, where more then 1,000 pieces of wreckage were found in the first day. The task of removing the body parts and wreckage is already under way, although emergency co-ordinator Bill Smith said ‘We’ll probably be finding pieces for years’.

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        It is believed that a piece of insulation foam from the fuel tank hit the left wing on lift-off and may have damaged threw heat resistant pads which cover the underside of the shuttle. These pads protected ‘Columbia’ from over 2,500° F and whose failure may have caused the disaster.

        This was a routine flight which ended in tragedy for the families who where involved, but America vows not to let this stop the space programme.

        Man has been going into space for over 42 years; we have also seen a lot of tragedy over the years. January 27, 1967 saw ...

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