The investigation into the Columbia disaster is in the early stages, but NASA officials say they have good leads as to what caused the orbiter to break apart Saturday morning.
Associate NASA Administrator Bill Readdy says engineers are closely examining the possible effect of a broken off piece of insulation that hit the left wing of the shuttle during it’s launch Jan. 16.
Readdy says he’s not conclusive that the damage cause the accident but he says, “It’s certainly the leading candidate right now.
Readdy says, “The best and brightest” engineers studied the matter during the mission and concluded that even if the tiles were damaged, there would be “no burn through, and no safety-of-flight issues” during re-entry, when temperatures reach 3,000 degrees.
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