Re: Shuttle Disintegration

From: Robert G Fenske Jr (
Date: Sat Feb 01 2003 - 15:13:24 EST

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    	Since the view from San Antonio would have been so low on the
    horizon, I had specifically driven to a spot just north of Waco to witness
    the reentry.  I took the drive bacause it was a daylight reentry -- which I
    had never seen -- and because non-ISS missions are rare these days (ISS
    missions don't reenter over Texas).  This put me somewhere around 80 miles
    south of Columbia's path.  I caught sight of it at 7:58am local time, but it
    was already about 30 deg above the horizon.  It was a bright spot with a
    slightly greenish glow around it.  Almost immediately I saw a bright piece
    detach from it and fall behind.  A little later, two more, nearly
    simultaneous.  Then another.  And so on.  The best my brain did was to think
    it *looked* like it was breaking up, not that it actually *was* breaking up.
    The thought of a disaster was so far from my mind that I didn't even slightly
    consider the reality.  I followed the main glow and contrail until 8:01am
    when the trail got too close to the Sun in the east for comfort.  But it did
    look like the contrail just ended, but that fact didn't fully register with
    me either.  I heard the sonic boom at 8:05am.  It was only after being back
    on the road and hearing about it on the radio that the sickening reality made
    Robert Fenske, Jr.    Sw     |The Taming the C*sm*s series:
    Southwest Research Institute            /R---\  |
    Signal Exploitation & Geolocation Div  | I    | |"The Martian canals were the
    San Antonio,Texas USA  ph:210-522-3931  \----/  | Martians' last ditch effort."
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