A new NASA report released Tuesday details the chaotic final minutes of Columbia, which disintegrated over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003. The point of the 400-page analysis is to figure out how to make NASA's next spaceship more survivable. The report targeted problems with the spacesuits, restraints and helmets of the Columbia crew.
Many of the details about the astronauts' deaths have been known - they died either from lack of oxygen during pressure loss or from hitting something as the spacecraft tumbled and broke up. However, the new report paints a more detailed picture of the final moments of the Columbia crew than the broader investigation into the accident five years ago.
Astronaut Pam Melroy, deputy study chief, said the analysis showed the astronauts were at their problem-solving best trying to recover Columbia, which was starting to crack up as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere with a hole in its left wing, damage that had occurred at liftoff. "There was no way for them to know that it was going to be impossible."
Film From Columbia crash: