Why did Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrate/explode?
Guest970 According to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, the cause of the accident was a hole in the leading edge of the left wing of the shuttle. The hole was caused by a piece of the insulating foam that separated from the External Tank during launch. With the wing punctured, hot gases could penetrate the wing, causing the shuttle to break apart. Report (0) (0) | earlier Guest1276 During the launch, a piece of insulating foam from the main external fuel tank came loose and struck the wing of the orbiter. This created a hole in the protective thermal tile cover on the wing. During launch, the Shuttle has gotten through the thicker part of the atmosphere before gaining most of its speed, so this did not cause any problems then, but the ship's fate was sealed unless the damage were detected in time. Had it been, the shuttle could have remained docked to the ISS and a separate vehicle could have been launched (either another shuttle, or a Russian Soyuz) in order to give them