LATEST INFORMATION ON SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA
A Space Shuttle contingency was declared on Saturday in Mission Control when communication was lost with the Space Shuttle Columbia during its return to Earth following a 16-day mission.
Communication and tracking of the shuttle was lost at 9 a.m. EST at an altitude of about 203,000 feet above north central Texas while traveling approximately 12,500 miles per hour (Mach 18). No communication and tracking information was received in Mission Control after that time.
Flight controllers in Mission Control immediately began the process of securing all information, notes and data pertinent to today's reentry and landing.
News media wishing to cover the investigation should go to a NASA Center newsroom or watch NASA Television for the latest developments. NASA TV is on AMC-2, Transponder 9C, vertical polarization at 85 degrees West longitude, 3880 MHz, with audio at 6.8 MHz.
NOTE TO PERSONS IN THE AREA:
Anyone who believes they have found debris related to Columbia should call the Johnson Space Center Emergency Operations Center, (281)-483-3388. Be aware that hazardous chemicals may be present; do not disturb or move any debris.
All debris is United States Government property and is critical to the investigation of the shuttle accident. Any and all debris from the accident is to be left alone and reported to Government authorities. Unauthorized persons found in possession of accident debris will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
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