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Explosion on Columbia PRIOR to LOS and breakup?

Started by kmichaelm, 02/15/2003 12:09AM
Posted 02/15/2003 12:09AM Opening Post
Any forensic wave analysts around? I might have to run this past my seismology friends who did a talk on some of the analysis of the Kursk accident and the seismic traces it left. See

Just found the post below on usenet which might indicate a similiar method of getting information about the destruction of the Columbia.

K.Michael M.

From: Duncan Young (
Subject: Explosion on Columbia PRIOR to LOS and breakup

Date: 2003-02-14 19:10:51 PST

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty infrasound guys here at Southern Methodist University appears to confirm that there was a single explosion over Lubbock around 07:58 CST Feb 1. The yield was equivalent to quote "a couple of pounds of TNT". This is based on signals coming in on that azimuth to the Lajitas TXAR seismic array in Big Bend, Texas.

The initial result - which hit the media today - was based on the old sketchy location and time data - thus the media reports of possible decompression of the crew compartment at breakup and disintegration location in the Texas panhandle.

After the press conference a friend and I brought up the new NASA MTL 12.1 ground track - and a revision is in process. It now seems that this explosion correlates with the tire sensor dropouts at LOS-50 (07:58:32 thru to 07:58:54) and the penultimate "Feelin' the heat"
(which for the record - I dont think Husband is saying that - but you know of what I speak..) transmission from Columbia.

Dr. Stump and Dr. Herrin run the arrays that monitor the North Koreans and thus know what the seismic (and infrasound) expression of a explosion is - so something significant happened over Lubbock. Their team did a comparison with STS-93 (similar re-entry track) - on that
mission the shuttle was undetectable from TXAR.

My guess - something in the wheel well blew up - tire or pyros as in the LaRC email or... how flammable is the hydralic fluid itsself?

For more see

(not yet updated for the new timeline)

Duncan Young