OTD in 2003,broke apart while entering higher atmosphere. Attack chopper camera filmed it.
On Feb. 1, 2003, just before 9AM EST, abnormal readings showed up at Mission Control as the Space Shuttle Columbia, was on its long approach procedure to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), in Florida, at the end of mission STS-107.
At the very same time two RNlAF (Royal Netherlands Air Force) pilots were training on an AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter out of Fort Hood, Texas, at about 100 feet above ground when they witnessed and recorded with the attack chopper’s onboard camera the dramatic footage of the Space Shuttle disintegrating on its way back to the KSC.
They filmed the re-entry of Columbia and that footage would be used as evidence in the subsequent accident investigation.
One of our readers has highlighted something interesting in the clip we embedded below: “In the last few seconds of video, the three glowing objects going behind the grove of trees are the three main engines of the shuttle flying in formation. Since the engines are the heaviest and most solid individual objects on an aircraft/spacecraft, they typically fly the farthest when an aircraft breaks up in flight.”
The seven-member crew, Rick Husband, commander; Michael Anderson, payload commander; David Brown, mission specialist; Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Laurel Clark, mission specialist; William McCool, pilot; and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist from the Israeli Space Agency, were killed in the incident.
H/T Chris Venticinque for sending this over.