Our thoughts and prayers are turned towards
the family, friends and colleagues of the crew.
check out the Animations of possible initial "separation"
events of Columbia over California.
John was observing the reentry of the space shuttle as it
passed north of his home near Springville CA. He was also
recording the event on his digital camcorder at the exact
time (as he found out later) that Houston first reported abnormal
instrumentation reports from the Shuttle (at 5:53am PST).
This video may prove to be a critical piece of evidence in
the investigation. John is submitting the original tape of
his video directly to NASA and he has already spoken with
NASA officials. You may also get to see this video on the
I asked John to describe what he saw and if he realized what
had happened at the time or if he only found out after viewing
later television broadcasts of the tragic event he had witnessed
and captured on his video.
"It was low in the north starting in the NW and traveling
to the ENE. It never got more than about 15d above the horizon.
They say it went right over SF but I guess they must have
been fogged in because none of their video has shown up
It didn't occur to me, as the events were typical of satellite
reentry's I'd seen. But on thinking about it and then hearing
about the loss of radar returns I got to thinking. There
were 2 "separation events" which were small but visible
on my tape. I now believe there should not have been any...
Also the Shuttle was probably too bright. It appears brighter
than -2 which is unusual for the Shuttle, especially at
90d angle... "
John Sanford. Starhome. Springville CA
Below are three frames from the video footage (note the arrows
and pointers are added to indicate the position of the debris
believed to be falling off Columbia)...
Report by Liam Kennedy. 2/2/2003