Nacogdoches- Most East Texans remember the morning of February 1, 2003. That morning began with a fierce explosion that shook the Pineywoods as Space Shutte Columbia broke apart while reentering earth’s atmosphere. Thursday the last American Space Shuttle mission will end, bringing an end to a three-decade era of space exploration.
Recently, Nacogdoches authorities spotted what was believed to be debris from the 2003 breakup of the Space Shuttle Columbia in the northern end of Lake Nacogdoches, due to dry conditions. Authorities notified NASA last Friday concerning the object in the dry portion of the lake bed. The object is approximately four feet in diameter, is full of mud, and in an isolated area not easily accessible.
Authorities immediately announced that the rules regarding space shuttle debris are the same as in 2003. Any part of the space shuttle found is government property, and it is a criminal offense to tamper with it. Following the space shuttle crash an East Texas band collected random parts of the fallen shuttle and constructed a drum set. Country Willie and the Cosmic Debris were eventually forced to hand over the space shuttle debris they had transformed into drum set.
This morning NASA confirmed the mud covered sphere in Lake Nacogdoches is in fact a piece of Space Shuttle Columbia. NASA officials said the object is a power reactant storage and distribution tank. NASA officials are now determining how and when the piece of debris will be retrieved and shipped to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
As the final remaining pieces of Space Shuttle Columbia emerged, East Texans have been reminded of a dark day in the Pineywoods and anxiously await the return of Space Shuttle Atlantis.