TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Feb. 1 marks 19 years since the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry over East Texas. This tragedy took the lives of all seven astronauts on board.
The Columbia mission was the second space shuttle disaster in NASA history after the challenger exploded during launch in 1986.
An East Texas resident, Dr. Scott Lieberman, witnessed the disaster and his pictures continue to tell the story.
“On the photos you could see different fragmentation, you can see parts spiraling out and even from the videos that we had shot that day, you can see clearly there was a disruption from the vehicle,” said Lieberman.
Lieberman’s pictures were used by news agencies all over the world. After the disaster, NASA sent recovery teams to the Lufkin and Nacogdoches area to collect pieces of the craft.
Lieberman said that he was initially expecting to see the shuttle pass over East Texas but within a few minutes, the realization that a catastrophe occurred truly set in.
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