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Guest pilotsim7828

Witness to a tragedy

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It was a beautiful morning here in the Dallas area, temperatures in the mid 40s and not a cloud in the sky. I was at an early morning soccer tournement for my youngest daughter when my cell phone rang at 7:57am. A friend was calling to tell me to look overhead because the shuttle would be appearing at any moment on it's way to a landing in Florida. Moments later, our entire group was treated to a spectacular image. Coming from the west was a brilliant blue/white glowing fireball leaving a long smoking trail. Several of us noted the 2 or 3 fighters that were escourting the shuttle. It took several seconds for it to dawn on me that there was no way fighters were keeping up with the shuttle so I wondered what on earth were the other glowing objects moving with the main fireball. Small pieces of tile, we decided. Others had said small pieces of tile breaking off and burning up where normal. At 8:03 we heard a loud explosion, a sonic boom no doubt. Overwhelmed with the spectacular image of what we had just seen, the long trail of smoke still visible in the clear blue sky, we turned our attention back to the soccer game. At 8:20am my cell phone rang again. It was my friend, in tears, telling me the magnitude of what we had just seen.

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That's something that will NEVER be fogotten. Never...wow.....Mitch R.

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I wonder WHY? , I woke up at 8:00 this morning, Now I know why ! Jeff Akins Fort Worth , Texas

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Oh my god, I am deeply impressed by your message.Thanks for posting.+++ :'( +++

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I've watched many a shuttle re-entries. The Dallas area has a great vantage point as most first oppurtunity shuttle re-entries take it directly over or south of Dallas. I'd set my alarm at 7AM this morning specifically for this one. 12:45ish this morning I watched the crew get up to ready the shuttle for re-entry, went to bed, woke up to watch the de-orbit burn. Tracked the communications as it entered de-orbit over Western Austrailia. Watched as they tracked it enter the atmosphere west of Hawaii, and 4500 miles later watched it enter the north Texas sky. With an unobstructed view on a perfectly clear morning with a perfect sunrise. Normally, shuttle re-entries arent even visible during sunlight, or not as readily as this. It's never common to see any particles flying off or trailing the shuttle, and it's certainly less common to see a "Rippling/gassy" smoke trail. Every other re-entry I've seen has the shuttle as a perfect red dot, trailed by a very symmetrical orange/blue plasma trail. As I watched the elongated bright yellow fireball emerge from the morning sky, with an extremely agitated white smoke trail, I knew immediately that something wasnt right. 2 seconds after initially seeing it, small particles were being shed, 10 seconds later the entire unit disintegrated. I was greeted inside by "Columbia, houston, uhf radio check". Five more times, when 8:16 central rolled around, the full scope of what had happened sunk in. News wasnt yet covering it, and knew it was going to be a loooong day :(My condolences to the family, NASA, and the ever-evolving courageousness of the human spirit's desire to explore the unknown.

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You have a rare, and VAULABLE item.I`am glad you had the time to spend with them, That`s something that not very many pepole get to do. I have seen that picture on the news here , But not with signatures! Jeff Akins:-halo My condolances go to the shuttles family members .

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Jeff,Same thing here. Out here in Euless, I shot up out of bed a couple of minutes past 8:00am, but did not know why at the time. I don't remember hearing anything, but it must have been loud.Allen

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