Just 16 minutes before its scheduled landing February 1, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated 40 miles above Earth, killing its crew of seven astronauts. As the nation was beginning to grieve for its lost space heroes, a Storm Lake woman was in the midst of the investigation, reporting for a Texas newspaper in the midst of the rain of debris from the shuttle.
Micah Chaplain, a recent graduate of Buena Vista University, shares her experience.
January, 31, 2003, I did something I'd never done before - I fell asleep with the radio on and forgot to set the sleep timer. As a result, I was a bit disoriented when I awoke Saturday morning. Instead of music, I only heard the voice of the deejay and Associated Press reporters. They were talking about how space shuttle Columbia had disintegrated over Texas, and parts were landing everywhere.
It was all very reminiscent of Sept. 11, 2001 for me, since that is the only other event of this magnitude I remember. I awoke that morning to similar sounds and the same eerie feeling. This time, however, I found myself much closer to the action.
In September of 2002, I moved to Corsicana, Tex., to work for the Corsicana Daily Sun. As a result, I was just 10 miles from a few of the major debris sites.
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