Space Shuttle Columbia exploded during reentry due to missing heat shield tiles. When this happened, the shuttle would have had a great amount of speed, which would imply debris was strewn far down range.

What was the furthest distance between discovered pieces of the shuttle?

up vote 7 down vote accepted

When the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated and plummeted to earth on Feb. 1, 2003, the debris field extended from West Texas to Arkansas and Louisiana. According to an independent report on Columbia's Breakup and Debris Field with Debris Trajectory (the source might be controversial in other points, but there is to my knowledge nothing controversial about where the debris were recovered from since it was an endeavour crossing three federal states, so I'm quoting that source for convenience alone since it went to great length in presenting the debris field data):

   enter image description here

Location of Debris Field

Location    N. Latitude    W. Longitude
Beginning:  32.6530        -96.9080
Center:     31.6484        -95.0238
End:        31.0315        -93.0742

Total length of debris field: 250 miles (402 kilometers).

  • "Columbia sacrifice" link is dead – pericynthion Jan 24 '17 at 21:23

Columbia debris field

Just adding another map. I got it here

Roughly 400km (250 miles) long and 65km (40 miles) wide. The debris scattered over a large part of Texas, so this is an estimate. One of the comments linked this which includes a picture of all the debris found in Texas.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.