CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Feb. 1 (UPI) -- After a flawless mission, shuttle Columbia fell from the skies during its approach to Florida and the conclusion of its 16-day research flight.
Here is what NASA says its knows of the final minutes of STS-107, the 113th shuttle mission:
As it flew over Texas, Columbia completed the first of several rolls to dissipate speed in preparation for touchdown. The shuttle was traveling at an altitude of 224,390 feet at Mach 20.9 -- almost 21 times the speed of sound.
8:53 a.m. ET -- Set of four measurements from sensors in the shuttle's left hydraulic power system stop relaying data.
8:56 a.m. -- Sensors show temperature increase in left main gear tire well.
8:58 a.m. -- Sensors embedded structure of shuttle's left wing stop relaying data.
8:59 a.m. -- Sensors in left inboard and outboard tires, which relay temperature and pressures, stop working.
9 a.m. -- Loss of telemetry and voice communications with crew. Shuttle was at 207,135 feet, traveling at Mach 18.3.
The shuttle's external temperatures were at the maximum encountered during atmospheric re-entry -- about 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.