Shuttle Report Reminds East Texans of Columbia Disaster - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/26/03 - Tyler

Shuttle Report Reminds East Texans of Columbia Disaster

(KLTV) -

Investigators say NASA's lack of vigilance over safety had as much to do with the space shuttle Columbia disaster as did the piece of insulation that broke off its fuel tank during launch. In its final report, the Columbia accident investigation board found "persistent, systemic flaws" in the space agency -- including lax safety procedures, a culture driven by flight schedules, and operations starved of funding. It warned that failure to fix the problems could lead to another tragedy. Spouses of the astronauts who died have been briefed on the report. And the husband of one astronaut calls the report "extremely thorough."

The event almost seven months ago also touched the lives of East Texans.  A Tyler doctor captured eight heartbreaking snap-shots of Columbia's demise. "I didn't want the families to be hurt by these images," says Dr. Scott Lieberman. An East Texas mother watched as some of her son's fellow astronauts wouldn't make it back home. "Why couldn't they have lasted just a few minutes longer," says Billie Ruether. But, both Nillie Ruether and Scott Lieberman were forever changed by the disaster in our East Texas skies. "It was a day of television," says Ruether. "I tried to call my son, but it was impossible to get a hold of him and I didn't talk to him for a week after and yes, I will remember it."

"That day was quite emotional just because of my interest in the space program and the tragedy in and of itself," says Dr. Lieberman. The pictures Dr. Lieberman took that February morning were supposed to be of the shuttle coming home to earth safely. Never did he imagine his photos would show the world the last moments of Columbia. "We were so caught up in the whirl wind of the event that frankly it took a little time for the other issues of the event to settle in," says Dr. Lieberman. "and for me, one of those times was when the time magazine article came out and it kind of hit home again."

For Billie Ruether, the Columbia tragedy hit home immediately, not just because debris was scattered across East Texas, but because her son, astronaut Jim Reilly had flown a mission with Michael Anderson, one of the seven shuttle victims. "It was tragic and I knew personally some of the astronauts on Columbia and it was difficult and particularly difficult for my son, they are all an extended family," says Ruether. And a NASA family these two East Texans hope will endure even after the tragedy.

  • East Texas HeadlinesEast Texas HeadlinesMore>>

  • 19 year old man arrested for sexual assault of a child

    19 year old man arrested for sexual assault of a child

    Monday, May 22 2017 10:29 AM EDT2017-05-22 14:29:55 GMT
    Micah Gage Shelburn (Source: Smith County Jail)Micah Gage Shelburn (Source: Smith County Jail)

    A Troup man is behind bars this morning after he allegedly sexually assaulted a child. Micah Gage Shelburn, 19, is currently in the Smith County Jail on charges of sexual assault of a child as well as kidnapping charges. KLTV reached out to the Arp Police Department. They declined to comment on the details of the arrest due to an ongoing investigation. Shelburn's bond has been set at $100,000 for both charges. Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved.

    More >>

    A Troup man is behind bars this morning after he allegedly sexually assaulted a child. Micah Gage Shelburn, 19, is currently in the Smith County Jail on charges of sexual assault of a child as well as kidnapping charges. KLTV reached out to the Arp Police Department. They declined to comment on the details of the arrest due to an ongoing investigation. Shelburn's bond has been set at $100,000 for both charges. Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved.

    More >>
  • Morning Weather at your Fingertips

    Morning Weather at your Fingertips

  • Tyler Police: Online purchasing of stolen vehicles increasing

    Tyler Police: Online purchasing of stolen vehicles increasing

    Monday, May 22 2017 9:52 AM EDT2017-05-22 13:52:02 GMT
    Tyler Police Department: The Auto Theft Task Force has seen an increase of cases involving citizens unknowingly purchasing stolen vehicles through online apps and websites. In the past year the East Texas Auto Theft Task Force has recovered around eight stolen vehicles in Tyler alone that were sold to citizens who thought they were purchasing legitimate trucks and cars. In some cases the VIN’s were changed to make the vehicles appear to be legitimate. In most cases the VIN&r...More >>
    Tyler Police Department: The Auto Theft Task Force has seen an increase of cases involving citizens unknowingly purchasing stolen vehicles through online apps and websites. In the past year the East Texas Auto Theft Task Force has recovered around eight stolen vehicles in Tyler alone that were sold to citizens who thought they were purchasing legitimate trucks and cars. In some cases the VIN’s were changed to make the vehicles appear to be legitimate. In most cases the VIN&r...More >>
  • NewsMore>>

  • 19 year old man arrested for sexual assault of a child

    19 year old man arrested for sexual assault of a child

    Monday, May 22 2017 10:29 AM EDT2017-05-22 14:29:55 GMT
    Micah Gage Shelburn (Source: Smith County Jail)Micah Gage Shelburn (Source: Smith County Jail)

    A Troup man is behind bars this morning after he allegedly sexually assaulted a child. Micah Gage Shelburn, 19, is currently in the Smith County Jail on charges of sexual assault of a child as well as kidnapping charges. KLTV reached out to the Arp Police Department. They declined to comment on the details of the arrest due to an ongoing investigation. Shelburn's bond has been set at $100,000 for both charges. Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved.

    More >>

    A Troup man is behind bars this morning after he allegedly sexually assaulted a child. Micah Gage Shelburn, 19, is currently in the Smith County Jail on charges of sexual assault of a child as well as kidnapping charges. KLTV reached out to the Arp Police Department. They declined to comment on the details of the arrest due to an ongoing investigation. Shelburn's bond has been set at $100,000 for both charges. Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved.

    More >>
  • Tyler Police: Online purchasing of stolen vehicles increasing

    Tyler Police: Online purchasing of stolen vehicles increasing

    Monday, May 22 2017 9:52 AM EDT2017-05-22 13:52:02 GMT
    Tyler Police Department: The Auto Theft Task Force has seen an increase of cases involving citizens unknowingly purchasing stolen vehicles through online apps and websites. In the past year the East Texas Auto Theft Task Force has recovered around eight stolen vehicles in Tyler alone that were sold to citizens who thought they were purchasing legitimate trucks and cars. In some cases the VIN’s were changed to make the vehicles appear to be legitimate. In most cases the VIN&r...More >>
    Tyler Police Department: The Auto Theft Task Force has seen an increase of cases involving citizens unknowingly purchasing stolen vehicles through online apps and websites. In the past year the East Texas Auto Theft Task Force has recovered around eight stolen vehicles in Tyler alone that were sold to citizens who thought they were purchasing legitimate trucks and cars. In some cases the VIN’s were changed to make the vehicles appear to be legitimate. In most cases the VIN&r...More >>
  • Power of Prayer: B.R.O.S. Mentoring

    Power of Prayer: B.R.O.S. Mentoring

    Monday, May 22 2017 9:48 AM EDT2017-05-22 13:48:58 GMT

    A group of East Texas kids is getting extra support in fighting peer pressure and staying true to their faith. Becoming Righteous Obedient Servants (B.R.O.S.) Mentoring is teaching young people how to create their own path to success.

    More >>

    A group of East Texas kids is getting extra support in fighting peer pressure and staying true to their faith. Becoming Righteous Obedient Servants (B.R.O.S.) Mentoring is teaching young people how to create their own path to success.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly