New Report Reveals Columbia Astronauts Final Moments

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A new NASA report details the final minutes of the space shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated over Texas on Feb.1, 2003.

Pilot William McCool pushed several buttons in a futile attempt
to bring the ship under control.

The other astronauts had been busy following procedures to
prepare the shuttle for its return to Earth. That meant some
weren't wearing their protective gloves and still had their helmet
visors open. Some weren't fully strapped in. One was barely seated.

NASA says it took only seconds for the module to lose pressure,
causing the astronauts to black out. They were either killed
immediately by the loss of pressure or from being knocked about the
ship from the violent gyrations.

The NASA study team is recommending 30 changes based on
Columbia, many of them aimed at the spacesuits, helmets and
seat belts for both the shuttle and the next space capsule NASA is
building.


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