Columbia Space Shuttle
Shuttle recovered debris
Recovery Efforts in the aftermath


NASA Space Shuttle Program


Space Shuttle


Radiates superheated plasma


Splinters apart mechanisms


Air Differential

Collected by

Warehouse 13







April 1981 – the first shuttle to enter orbit. Twenty-two years of service spread out over 27 missions. Much of the work oversaw experiments, shipping equipment for space laboratories.

February 1, 2003 – Space Shuttle ‘’Columbia’’ disintegrated and killed the seven crew abroad. Insulation foam in the fuel tank broke off during reentry, rattled within the wing section and punctured a hole for superheated gas to enter. Engineers had encountered the problem on previous flights, but decided it would not be addressed by the crew if brought up.

Reports indicated the crew would have suffered loss of consciousness, separation from the seats and blunt force trauma from the helmets before impact. Debris was strewn across Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas after the disaster. Programming was suspended for two years while NASA revised safety protocols.

The flight crew included: Commander Rick D. Husband, U.S. Air Force colonel ; Pilot William C. McCool, U.S. Navy commander; Payload commander Michael P. Anderson, U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel; Payload specialist Ilan Ramon, Israeli Air Force; Mission specialist Kalpana Chawla, aerospace engineer ; Mission specialist David M. Brown, U.S. Navy captain and Mission specialist Laurel Blair Salton Clark, U.S. Navy captain.


Exerting a strong wave of air pressure movement around pieces will superheat the surrounding air into plasma state. It is hot enough to power experimental generators or burn through high-strength alloys. Any object the pieces contact without heating will quickly shatter into hundreds of irreparable pieces.


Imbued by the final tragic mission, these pieces constitute around 44% of the remaining shuttle (many more pieces were acquired discretely from private collections and the black market). Due to further wreckage still being found, and the large size of the shuttle, they are all stored together in a shipping container. They remain relatively calm when in large groups and away from air currents.

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