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NASA Releases Videotape of Last Moment of Columbia's Crew - 2003-03-01


The U.S. Space Agency (NASA) has released a videotape of the doomed Columbia crew going through routine procedures minutes before the shuttle disintegrated earlier this month.

The video was taken by an automatic camera on the Columbia's flight deck. Because of subsequent heat damage, the tape ends four minutes before ground controllers received any indication of trouble in the shuttle's return to earth. The video reveals no sign of impending disaster.

The tape, found in Palestine, Texas, on February sixth, was shown to the astronauts' families before being released to the public.

Four of the seven astronauts were on the flight deck, and are shown smiling and apparently in good spirits.

Because of the damage, only 13 minutes of the video is viewable. NASA experts call it virtually a miracle the tape survived at all.

Information for this report is provided by AP.

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