Re: Columbia Accident Working Scenario Quotes Observation by Rick Baldridge

From: Rick Baldridge (
Date: Tue May 06 2003 - 21:55:51 EDT

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    For the record, NASA was very careful to publish only data which had
    corroborating evidence, and the Fairfield video EOC2-4-0064 by
    Lockheed/Martin employee Lionel Machado also showed Debris #1 and #2 come
    off.  Mr. Martin's video acquired Columbia off the California coast about 14
    seconds before my tape acquired it.  Evidently, no debris objects were
    recorded prior to #1.  These pieces were very faint, and it's my guess it is
    unlikely they will ever be found except by accident.  NASA does continue to
    search for Debris #6 and #14 which were much larger and had some radar
    "threads" associated with them (the locations of which may or may not be
    NASA JSC also has my master tapes from 4 previous reentries over California.
    They are using those to establish a baseline, along with other tapes I'm
    sure, of "normal" reentry photometric data to compare with those received
    from the February 1st accident.  Hopefully this has helped them establish
    upper and lower size limits for the pieces video taped coming off Columbia.
    It has been most interesting to be a small part of the investigation.  Let's
    hope NASA can nail this down and get the Shuttles flying again soon!
    Rick Baldridge
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Ted Molczan" <>
    To: "SeeSat-L" <>
    Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 6:02 PM
    Subject: Columbia Accident Working Scenario Quotes Observation by Rick
    > This afternoon, the CAIB released its working scenario of the Columbia
    > accident, which includes mention of the first videotaped debris shedding
    > event, captured by SeeSat-L contributor Rick Baldridge, as he reported
    here on
    > Feb 02:
    > "Yesterday was a bad day for me (and all of us.)  I video-taped the
    > for Mt. Hamilton, CA and took two photos.  Naked-eye, we didn't notice
    > anything too unusual, but I was spending most of my time looking through
    > video camera viewfinder.  We thought we had just seen another spectacular
    > NORMAL re-entry.  Only an hour later when I got home did I learn of the
    > tragedy that occurred minutes after we saw the Shuttle go by.
    > When I looked at my video, there were very fain but definite pieces coming
    > off, with the first piece seen on the video at 5:53:45am PST +/- 1 second.
    > had made a time-hack as I always do to obtain timings, and this hack was
    > synchronized to WWV. As far as I know at this time, I was the furthest
    > observer on the re-entry track to get a video."
    > The CAIB's press release does not mention Rick by name, but refers to the
    > observation that he reported:
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