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by Kahn, guest columnist.  [February 17, 2003]




[]  I have put this together after doing some research, and I strongly believe I'm right. Here is the truth:


     1.  At 0815, Columbia began its de-orbit burn.

      2.  At 0852, just over California, the first indications of problems begin to emerge. Three brake-line sensors in the left wheel well show an unusual temperature rise.

     3.  At 0853, there is a loss of temperature sensors in the hydraulics systems in the trailing edge of the left wing. Temperature sensors in the left wheel well show an abnormal rise -- 30-40 degrees -- in five minutes. The shuttle is currently over California.

     4.  At 0854, as Columbia moves over Nevada, sensors on the main fuselage above the left wing show a temperature rise of 60 degrees.

     5.  At 0855, yet another sensor in the left wheel well shows a temperature rise.

     6.  At 0856, sensors in the left main gear tire-wheel continue to report a temperature increase.

     7. At 0857, skin temperature sensors fail.

     8. At 0858, the shuttle reached New Mexico. Three temperature sensors on the left side of the vehicle stopper working. At this stage, Columbia is at an altitude of nearly 40 miles; its speed is in excess of Mach 18 (18 times the speed of sound -- 13,200 mph).

     9. At 0859, onboard sensors indicate the left-hand drag is increasing. Two of the four yaw jets on the right side fire for one-and-a-half seconds to try to correct the vehicle's attitude.

     Just like clock work at 0900 EST the shuttle breaks up. A top secret test successfully concluded right on time.


*  The Columbia Crew


Israeli Air Force pilot Col. Ilan Ramon was a living symbol of Israeli-American aerospace cooperation, which has included the Arrow interception technology incorporated into Patriot missiles.

Ramon was no bystander in the Middle East conflict. He received flight training at a U.S. Air Force base in Utah in the 1970s, became a pilot in the Israeli Air Force, and was part of an Israeli bombing mission that destroyed an Iraqi nuclear power plant in 1986.

Ramon's military role aboard Columbia went beyond symbolic value. His research mission involved a top secret test for which he sacrificed his life. He was probably transmitting test data to Space and Missile Defense Command right up to the very last second. One or two others were probably aware of the experiment and sacrificed their lives for a greater cause.

*  The Top Secret Test

We all know about the U.S.'s National Missile Defense (NMB) program. Russia and China have condemned the NMB, because it violates the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) treaty that the U.S. signed with Russia -- and also because it will spark a new weapons race.

Over the past five years, various NMB-related technologies have been tested. While world attention has been diverted to far less successful BMD programs involving the Patriot Advanced capability-3 (Pac-3 and the Israeli Arrow 2) missile system, the more promising technologies have been kept under wraps and given a low profile.

Successfully tested technologies include Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL), a joint project between the U.S. and Israel. Successful THEL tests were conducted from New Mexico's White Sands missile range in 2000/2001, where is shot down Katyusha rockets and incoming artillery projectiles.

The THEL system uses a high-energy, deuterium fluoride chemical invisible beam. The laser produces and amplifies light of a particular wavelength, or color, which is then directed at a target with great accuracy.

In a typical engagement scenario, when a missile is launched, upon detection by the THEL fire control, the radar establishes trajectory information about the incoming missile, then passes the target to the pointer-tracker subsystem (PTS), which includes the beam director. The PTS tracks the target optically, then begins a "fine tracking" process for THEL's beam director, which targets THEL's high-energy laser. The energy of the laser heats the target, which causes it to explode.

If the laser is powerful enough, it can generate very high temperatures where the light falls, melting or vaporizing the target.

A study completed in 2001 concluded that the missile interceptor has "lots of promise" and further development should be pursued, primarily in enabling system's air transportability, including the type of transport aircraft it should fit on (C-130, C-17 or C-5).

In early 2002, military scientists were trying to develop the laser with a greater range, that can follow and hit fast-moving objects at distances ranging from tens of kilometers.

At the same time last year, the US Air Force and Missile Defense Agency were poised to begin flying the first Airborne Laser (ABL) test aircraft. Loitering at altitudes around 40,000 feet, the ABL system is designed to destroy boosting ballistic missiles with a multi-megawatt laser beam that travels at light speed over great distances. Its high-energy beam (about the diameter of a basketball) will heat a missile's side until it fails structurally, then tumbles to earth.

Apparently, a laser with a higher range was developed sometime last year, and the only thing missing was the actual test against an incoming ICBM in the terminal phase (i.e., when a missile or warhead enters the atmosphere).


*  Columbia's Secret Role


Testing a high-power laser to shoot an ICBM can ignite a serious rift between Russia and America, triggering a new Ballistic Missile race, so secrecy is vital. Yet such a test is difficult to keep secret. Hence the need for an alternative target to an ICBM entering the terminal phase -- a target that no one will suspect of being part of a secret missile test.

Columbia was one of the oldest in its class, and was probably due for decommissioning.  It was the best alternative available, since the initial re-entry of a shuttle can imitate an incoming ICBM and can be targeted as such within the terminal phase. Also, there is the advantage of having a two-way live test data feed.

The laser tracking system started tracking the shuttle over California, aiming the laser at it from New Mexico, and soon afterwards, within the expected time frame, Columbia broke up, scattering across Texas.

Data was collected, the test was a success, and seven astronauts gave their lives in the line of duty for greater good.

The nation mourns, suspecting a major malfunction. Various theories are presented, but none of them are conclusive.

Three days later, the British get the go-ahead for the early warning system upgrade, which possibly involves THEL system deployment as well.


*  The Coverup


The media overrates the shuttle disaster story, giving it unexpectedly high coverage, raising many uncomfortable questions.

Suspicions arise when external intervention is suggested -- especially after an amateur photographer from San Francisco comes forward with some unusual pictures of Columbia. The story is put out of circulation, and images confiscated are by NASA.

Cover stories come out to debunk any suspicions, including images assumingly taken by a high resolution US Air Force telescope. The image is far too blurry and dark, looking like it was taken from an Austin Power movie rather then a US Air Force telescope.

Since I put this story out, NASA has tried to remove the possibility of external intervention by suggesting the problem was in the tire pressure and landing gear.

Copyright 2003 by Kahn.


Kahn may be contacted at:

Space shuttle conspiracy buffs will enjoy The Betrayal of Flight 51-L and the most recently released (Dec. 2002) Challenger's Shadow: Did Government and Industry Management Kill Seven Astronauts.

Related Links:

* San Francisco Chronicle reports 'odd images' and 'strange electrical phenomena' near shuttle.  ("Photos Show Odd Images Near Shuttle", by David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor, Feb. 2. 2003)

* Chilean investigators: NASA film shows 'anomalous object' hitting Columbia.

* Aliens Destroyed Columbia Shuttle.


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