14:35 GMT / 09:35 EST Breaking news on CNN is that contact has been lost with Columbia at 14:00 GMT / 09:00 EST, NASA has declared a contingency and that there's debris in the atmosphere. This does not look good. If you're in the Dallas Fort Worth area, don't go near any debris at all and report it immediately.
Last communication was at 14:00 GMT at a height of 200k feet, for a planned landing at Kennedy at 14:16 GMT.
14:42 GMT: Bush admin is convening an inter-agency domestic event conference.
14:47 GMT: CNN eyewitness reports in Texas report seeing "spirals" in the sky and hearing a loud boom that shook houses.
14:49 GMT: Fox News is reporting that NASA have alerted search and rescue teams in Texas.
14:59 GMT: Administration officials are saying that they do not believe this was terrorism - the shuttle was at a height of 200,00 feet travelling at about Mach 6.
15:04 GMT: CNN is recapping: footage shows that around 9am eastern, the shuttle broke up at around Mach 6 at around 200,000 feet that the shuttle broke up into five or six pieces "streaks", several phonecalls from the area in Texas have seen pieces of the shuttle break up. The crew had been in orbit for 16 days since Jan 16, and was most noticeable for carrying the first Israeli astronaut. At launch, engineers were examing a piece of debris (ice?) that came off the main liquid fuel tank (not the two SRBs) that struck the insulating tiles on Columbia. CNN is saying that engineers determined that it was not a significant issue.
15:06 GMT: Nasa's page for Columbia's mission: STS-107 is being updated in real time:
Entry Flight Director Leroy Cain declared a contingency for the shuttle Columbia at around 8:14 central time this morning (1414 GMT) as the shuttle and its seven astronauts headed for a landing at the Kennedy Space Center. [STS-107]
16:02 GMT: News coverage has moved into something like a holding pattern, there's coverage at Spaceflight Now and NASA is holding a press conference at 16:30 GMT, about half an hour from now.
16:06 GMT: From Juby.net:
Nick has access to orbital data for various satellites and other objects. He and Chris started looking at the data before it got locked up, and it appears that Columbia pulled up around 3 am, and continued to erratically change its path.
16:11 GMT: Undoubtedly some people will be drawing parallels with what will happen now to what happened after Challenger. Challenger's flight was in 1986, on 28 January, the next mission was STS-26, in 1988 on 29th September.
16:13 GMT: CNN now has stills footage of debris on the ground.
16:47 GMT: NASA press conference due at 16:30 hasn't started yet, it's due "soon"
17:16 GMT: Fox News is showing footage of cordoned-off debris on the ground and the AP is reporting eyewitness accounts of debris in Nacogdoches, Texas. The NASA press conference that was scheduled for 16:30 GMT was pushed back to 17:00 GMT and has not yet started.
19:00 GMT: There will be a NASA technical briefing at 20:00 GMT / 15:00 EST. Dave Winer is amassing coverage over at Scripting News
19:08 GMT: Bush has just finished his address; Columbia is lost, "there are no survivors", but the US space programme wil not be derailed.
20:30 GMT: NASA Technical Briefing starts, I've roughly transcribed the entirety of the briefing, less about 5-10 minutes in the middle to rest my hands in the next entry.
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