NASA PRESS CONFERENCE SCHEDULED FOR 3 P.M. EST
A press conference by Space Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore
and Chief Flight Director Milt Heflin will take place from NASA's
Johnson Space Center, Houston, beginning at 3 p.m. EST today. The
briefing will be carried on NASA TV with two-way question and answer
capability from other agency centers.
A Space Shuttle contingency was declared earlier this morning in
Mission Control when communication was lost with the Space Shuttle
Columbia during its return to Earth following a 16-day mission.
Communication and tracking of the shuttle was lost at 9 a.m. at
an altitude of about 203,000 feet above north central Texas while
traveling approximately 12,500 miles per hour (Mach 18). No
communication and tracking information was received in Mission
Control after that time.
Flight controllers in Mission Control immediately began the
process of securing all information, notes and data pertinent to
today's reentry and landing.
NASA TV is on AMC-2, Transponder 9C, vertical polarization at 85
degrees West longitude, 3880 MHz, with audio at 6.8 MHz.
NOTE TO PERSONS IN THE AREA: Anyone who believes
they have found debris related to Columbia should call the Johnson
Space Center Emergency Operations Center, (281)-483-3388. Be aware that hazardous
chemicals may be present; do not disturb or move any debris.
All debris is United States Government property and is critical
to the investigation of the shuttle accident. Any and all
debris from the accident is to be left alone and reported to
Government authorities. Unauthorized persons found in
possession of accident debris will be prosecuted to the full extent
of the law.
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