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from today 26Feb2003 e-news:

Board member Scott Hubbard, director of NASA's Ames Research Center, said computer analyses show that a hole of 20 square inches would account for the rapid 60-degree rise in temperature detected in Columbia's left landing gear compartment during the final few minutes of flight.

What needs to be done next is a more sophisticated and complex analysis in which the hole is moved to various wing locations, he said.

Among the early tentative findings:
* the tires in the left landing gear compartment likely did not explode, though there was some disturbance going on in that area;
* the ship's hydraulic systems failed in the final seconds of the doomed flight and the hydraulic fluid dumped out somewhere;
* even though the power and guidance systems were still working up until the total loss of data and the fuselage was still intact, there were no signals from the left wing
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