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Houston, TX -
On at least two of its prior missions, one in 1989, the other in 1995, the Columbia recorded excessively high temperatures in its wings during re-entry. Although no other specific instances or shuttles were mentioned, it is claimed that other members of the shuttle fleet have experienced similar problems.
The abnormally high temperatures are reportedly due to turbulent air flow during high speed re-entry. This type of air flow problem on a space shuttle is usually caused by damage to the grout-like material that is placed between the heat-resistant tiles on the underside of the shuttle. That was determined to be the cause of the excessive heat in the Columbia's left wing in 1989 and 1995. However, damage to the tiles themselves could have also contributed to the problem.
According to sources who need to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, NASA was warned about the seriousness of this problem by a group of their scientists in a report released last October. As usual, NASA was too slow to respond to their concerns.
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