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Space Shuttle Columbia

More recovered shuttle video released

Shuttle crew members share a laugh in this image from newly released video.
Shuttle crew members share a laugh in this image from newly released video.

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Newly recovered video from the space shuttle Columbia shows the crew at work and play in the zero gravity of orbit. CNN's Miles O'Brien reports (June 24)
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (CNN) -- NASA on Tuesday released almost 10 hours of videotape and 92 photographs taken on the final flight of the space shuttle Columbia, which broke apart with the loss of the entire crew during re-entry on February 1.

The videotapes and film were among 84,000 pounds of debris recovered in a three-month search. Out of 337 videotapes, 28 had usable footage, according to NASA.

An earlier videotape, showing some of the seven astronauts minutes before the deadly accident, was released a couple of weeks after the accident.

NASA had delivered other videotapes to the National Transportation Safety Board, which can salvage videos that have been damaged in accidents.

"It was a fairly long and tedious process," NASA spokesman Kyle Herring said.

Seen on one of the newly released videos are astronauts Laurel Clark, Rick Husband, Kalpana Chawla and Ilan Ramon as they were awakened to the song "Love of My Life" on the 12th day of the mission. The song was requested by Ramon's wife, Rona.

Another scene shows Clark using a piece of duct tape to remove lint from an experiment's air filter.

In another, pilot Willie McCool demonstrates how a tightly wrapped ball of trash could be used for fun as a soccer ball, football or baseball. Clark suggests that it could also be used for tennis.

The videos show normal life in space, with the seven crewmembers enjoying themselves while going about their regular activities.

The photographic film includes both 35 mm and 70 mm. The only usable 70 mm film has a group shot of the seven crewmembers. The 35 mm film includes photos of the crew working on their experiments and views of the Earth outside the window.

One person familiar with the photos noted that most of the Earth observation images were of Israel. Presumably most of those photos were taken by Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, since most space travelers like to take pictures of their homes.

The Columbia Accident Investigation Board, which is looking into the cause of the shuttle disaster, gave NASA permission to release the photos because it determined they were not relevant to the probe.

-- From Reporter Philip Chien

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