February 1, 2003
UPDATE: From the AP story at the New York Times:
On launch day, a piece of insulating foam on the external fuel tank came off during liftoff and was believed to have struck the left wing of the shuttle. NASA said as late as Friday that the damage to the thermal tiles was believed to be minor and posed no safety concern during the fiery decent through the atmosphere.Re-entry has always been a dangerous thing, and we’ve never lost anyone during it. Looks like we may have just run out of luck.
FURTHER UPDATE: Attached to this post on Teresa’s weblog is a comment from John M. Ford that is a must-read. And lifelong space activist Tim Kyger has a comment to this Electrolite post which brings up something I hadn’t thought of.
MORE: A roundup of what we know so far, from Spaceflight Now.
MORE: The debris track, as seen by NOAA radar. Oh my god.
MORE: Of course, dozens—probably hundreds—-of bloggers are tracking this story. Seth Johnson is doing a very good job of linking to diverse information. Jim Henley’s observations are very much worth reading. [09:57 AM]