Just a few seconds before 9AM, Scheduled to land just 16 minutes later in Florida, the shuttle Columbia broke apart about 40 miles up going at 12,500 miles per hour, sprinkling burning fragments of the spacecraft down to the Texas plains far below.
At that speed and heading, where would the breakup have occured? (over what state and if possible to deduce what city?)
I don’t think they know exactly where it began, but I heard on the radio they are actively asking people as far west as California to be on the lookout for debris.
Where was the orbit last more or less intact? I think the best guess* now is somewhere over West Texas.
seems to me that you’d need to know the velocity and acceleration components of the shuttle at the last moment of contact, and come up with a best guess from there, judging from estimated time it blew up. reminds me of physics problems here at college.
On the news tonight, they showed some home video taken in Phoenix at 6:55 am local time that certainly appeared to show chunks visibly coming off the shuttle while people commented about it.
NASA is extending the search profile through California.
I would think it started closer north of where the debris actually landed. Being from Longview, TX myself… I heard the explosion and parts of it landed in Nacogdoches, TX which is about 45 mins south of me.