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Shuttle telemetry shows astronauts may have attempted to take control
Posted: Mon, Mar 10, 2003, 4:48 PM ET (2148 GMT)
STS-107 patch (NASA) Analysis of the final seconds of telemetry from the space shuttle Columbia show that the crew may have attempted to take control of the vehicle, but the orbiter's autopilot remained on. The analysis, released Sunday, showed that one of the hand controllers, or joysticks, may have been used by the crew in the final two seconds of telemetry recorded by ground stations. However, the data also revealed that the autopilot remained on during this time, making it unclear whether there was a deliberate effort by the astronauts to take command of the vehicle or if the controller was only accidentally engaged. The final seconds of telemetry also show that by this time the left wing and orbital maneuvering system pod had either been stripped off or severely damaged, and that the shuttle was yawing at a rate of at least 20 degrees per second, the limit of the yaw sensors in the orbiter. Officials also warned that the last data may have also been corrupted such that the autopilot and/or manual control indications could be false.
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