Storm Chaser Captures Final Moments of Columbia - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/1/03

Storm Chaser Captures Final Moments of Columbia

The shuttle's re-entry into the atmosphere was visible over West Texas around 7:56 a.m. Saturday morning. NewsChannel 11's Storm Chaser Ken Perkins caught some digital pictures of Columbia as it made its way over Lubbock's horizon.

These photos were literally taken just seconds before NASA lost contact with Columbia. At the time Perkins didn't realize that he was capturing the possible beginning of the shuttle's breakup. Moments later, his father called to tell him that the news of the shuttle's disaster, which Ken says was difficult to take, "I really didn't believe it, so I made a call to some of my friends who were also watching at the Weather Service -- said turn on CNN, so turn on CNN and quite a bit of shock. In a way, it reminds me of 1986 and Challenger, but whenever you can look over east and actually see it happen."

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