The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ON TV
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TRANSCRIPTS
Return to Transcripts main page

LIVE FROM...

New Information Points to Foam in Columbia Disaster

Aired June 24, 2003 - 14:39   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: New information today from NASA about the space shuttle Columbia which, as you know, disintegrated over Texas on February 1. A couple of things in work today. First of all, the Accident Investigation Board held a briefing a few moments ago. We'll tell you about that in just a minute, but earlier NASA leased some videotape which has been gathered over the months since Columbia disintegrated, about ten hours worth of stuff.
There you see Dave Brown shaving there's the commander Rick Husband grooming in the morning, look at the floating mirror there. Kind of not so close to home movies. That's Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, a hero of the nation of Israel. There you see the docking port between the main body of the space shuttle Columbia, into the experiment area known as the Space Hab.

That's Laurel Clark with the typical space hairdo there. She is working on some experiments there in that space hab area. I think you can see on her necklace she is wearing her husband's wedding band. These are touching pieces of video. Among them Ilan Ramon has a few brief moments, there's Kalpana Chawla in the flight deck, a few brief moments of conversation for his family. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ILAN RAMON, COLUMBIA CREW: A special good morning to my wife, Rona, the love of my life.

(SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

RAMON: This was a small and short sentence in Hebrew saying I love them and love Rona and I love the kids and I miss them. So here we come for another wonderful day in space.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Ilan Ramon at the beginning of one of the days there in space there in the sleeping compartment.

There is also some high jinx, this is the pilot Willie McCool who is a space rookie and obviously felt very much at home in this point of the mission. As he went through sort of a pentathalon, if you will, with a wad of duct tape and plastic. Let's listen in that, for a moment, as he engages in that with Laurel Clark.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIE MCCOOL, COLUMBIA PILOT: (UNINTELLGIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: In any case, while that was going -- being released and while we were having a chance to look at that, some poignant pictures, given what we know about what happened to Columbia. The accident Investigation Board, independent group, that has been looking into the Columbia disaster was holding a briefing for members of the media and once again the focus is on that foam.

We've showed this shot over and over and over again. The reason we do that is because that -- they are very close to what might be called a smoking gun, saying that that foam, falling off the big external fuel tank of Columbia striking the leading edge of the wing between the sixth and ninth re-enforced carbon-carbon panel, RCC for short, that impact has been proven, now, to cause a breech which would allow hot plasma, some 3,000 degrees, to enter into the wing, the aluminum skin of the shuttle on the re-entry, and that's the most likely cause.

Let's listen to one of the board members as he kind of summed things up just a little while ago. His name is Roger Tetrill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER TETRILL, ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BOARD MEMBER: You put all of these things together, I think, as the admiral talked about earlier, we've been trying to lineup all the Swiss cheese holes. I think those holes have lined up pretty good.

They certainly are pointing us to the area of RCC panel number 8 as being an indicator of where the breech occurred in the wing and not only that, but as you well know, we have the photographic analysis and evidence which indicates that the foam struck on panel 6 through 9. And when you put all of those pieces of Swiss cheese together it's a pretty compelling story that in fact the foam is the most probable cause of the shuttle accident.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: All right. The board has been very open about what its thinking is. Clearly all along they sort of let us inside this investigation as they come up, head toward this conclusion. The actual formal report is due out in about a month's time.

Meantime, NASA has to sort of assimilate all this, and has been assimilating all of this, trying to determine when shuttles will return to flight. They sort of set an arbitrary date of December but it's much more likely it is going to slide into the first part of 2004. Maybe as late as March, first quarter anyhow. Before they will be able to come up with a way of feeling confident that there won't be huge chunks of foam falling off on the next orbiter to fly.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


CNN US
On CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNN AvantGo CNNtext Ad info Preferences
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.