Re: More Debris from ET?

From: Markus Mehring (
Date: Fri Feb 07 2003 - 11:41:21 EST

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    On Fri, 7 Feb 2003 10:46:59 -0500, you ("George Roberts" <>)
    >Just a quick thought: If one piece of debris came off the external tank, why
    >not more later in the flight (not seen on video due to camera distance)?
    Yes, I think I have found more debris, not later into the flight, but more
    or less in parallel with the known piece. There clearly is such a second
    piece in one frame of E-212 footage, and I think I can demonstrate that it
    traveled down the length of the stack far more inboard under the orbiter
    than the piece that impacted at the wing leading edge. In fact it seems to
    have gone right down the dividing line between left wing and fuselage, and
    it also seems to have impacted somewhere along that line, be it at the ET
    or orbiter. The sequence of events looks fairly obvious to me.
    I have created an informal illustrated report on this and send it to the
    investigation teams and selected individuals, I don't know what they make
    of that, or when. Also I could of course be totally wrong, but at this
    point I don't think I am. I might offer that report for download somewhere,
    sometime in the future, if people are interested.
    >Is it true that the ET burns up in the earth's atmosphere and is therefore 
    >unlikely to provide any evidence for what happened?
    The ET enters the atmosphere half an orbit later and mostly disintegrates
    (large structure with comparably little mass). Only very few pieces might
    have survived and spashed into the ocean (which is known to happen).
    It would be more interesting to know what the post-undocking pictures might
    show. After a Shuttle launch, they separate from the ET and turn the
    orbiter so that they can have a look at the ET. The crew took photos and
    video. Unfortunately, the photos weren't digital photos and thus not
    downlinked, and the remnants of that film are now somewhere in Texas, but
    at least parts of the video were downlinked. It's just a question of how
    much was downlinked and what exactly can be seen (considering that the ET
    starts to tumble at some point and doesn't necessarily can be expected to
    show its interesting portions...).
    CU!	Markus
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