space shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry on February 1st 2003.
are several examples from The Times and Sunday Times coverage of
Comment on and describe the characteristics of language style for
Look at the pages on newspapers
and rhetoric to help your analysis.
Consider the banality - or simplicity - of some of the language
of Bush's speech. Is grandeur too pompous in
these circumstances? Is simplicity too banal? Which metaphors are
effective and which are not?
Do you agree with the commentary on the
speech? Give your own views. What does the description of body language
and voice quality (see suprasegmental phonemes) add to the written
How does the personal and expressive e-mail
by Laurel Clark add to the factual new reports?
Contrast with The Sun's report of the incident
and with The Washington Post's report.
The Sunday Times - World
February 02, 2003
Bush: the full statement
"My fellow Americans, this day has brought
terrible news and great sadness to our country. At 9am this morning,
mission control in Houston lost contact with our space shuttle
Columbia. A short time later, debris was seen falling from the
skies above Texas. The Columbia is lost; there are no survivors.
On board was a crew of seven: Colonel Rick Husband; Lieutenant-Colonel
Michael Anderson; Commander Laurel Clark; Captain David Brown;
Commander William McCool; Dr Kalpana Chawla; and Ilan Ramon, a
colonel in the Israeli air force. These men and women assumed
great risk in the service to all humanity.
In an age when space flight has come to seem almost routine, it
is easy to overlook the dangers of travel by rocket and the difficulties
of navigating the fierce outer atmosphere of the Earth.
These astronauts knew the dangers and they faced them willingly,
knowing they had a high and noble purpose in life. Because of
their courage and daring and idealism, we will miss them all the
All Americans today are thinking, as well, of the families of
these men and women who have been given this sudden shock and
grief. You’re not alone. Our entire nation grieves with
you. And those you loved will always have the respect and gratitude
of this country.
The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led into
the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery
and the longing to understand.
Our journey into space will go on.
In the skies today we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther
than we can see there is comfort and hope.
In the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Lift your eyes and
look to the heavens. Who created all these? “He who brings
out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because
of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”
The same creator who names the stars also knows the names of the
seven souls we mourn today.
The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth;
yet we can pray that all are safely home.
May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue to bless
February 03, 2003
Columbia: Bush's address
'Astronauts risked all in service of humanity'
From Roland Watson in Washington
WHEN a shaken and teary-eyed President Bush told
Americans that “our nation grieves”, he spoke for
the country. “The Columbia is lost — there are no
survivors,” he said in the opening of a short televised
address to the nation on Saturday.
From the rallying Commander-in-Chief, he was forced to switch
to the role of comforter-in-chief that he has adopted so frequently
in his two years in office.
Brow furrowed and with a voice that at times was barely above
a whisper, Mr Bush recited the names of the seven astronauts,
saying they had assumed great risk “in the service to all
Praising them for pursuing a “high and noble purpose”
and for their courage, daring and idealism, he tried to still
any doubts about the future of American-led space travel.
“The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is
led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery
and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go
on,” he said.
His eyes glistened when he quoted Isaiah, adding: “The same
Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven
souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not
return safely to Earth, yet we can pray that all are safely home.”
Astronauts die as shuttle explodes
high above earth
Tony Allen-Mills, Washington
AMERICA was plunged into mourning yesterday
after the space shuttle Columbia burst into flames as it re-entered
the atmosphere at the end of a 16-day mission. Explosions ripped
the craft apart, killing all seven crew members and scattering debris
over hundreds of miles.
Mission controllers lost contact with the shuttle minutes before
it was due to land at Kennedy Space Center on the Florida coast.
It was descending from orbit at 18 times the speed of sound when
it disintegrated 200,000ft above the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas
shortly after 9am Florida time (2pm British time).
Sean O’Keefe, chief executive of the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (Nasa), described Columbia’s loss
as “a horrific tragedy”.
George W Bush cut short a weekend visit to Camp David, the presidential
retreat in Maryland to comfort relatives of the victims. “This
day has brought terrible news,” he said in an emotional televised
address. “The Columbia is lost. There are no survivors.”
He insisted, however, that the American space programme would go
41, of Racine, Wisconsin, was on her first shuttle mission
when Columbia disintegrated over Texas. The day before she died,
she sent an e-mail home to family and friends:
"Hello from above our magnificent planet Earth. The perspective
s truly awe-inspiring. This is a terrific mission and we are very
busy doing science round the clock.
Just getting a moment to type e-mail is precious so this will
be short, and distributed to many who I know and love.
"I have seen some incredible sights: lightning spreading
over the Pacific, the Aurora Australis lighting up the entire
visible horizon with the cityglow of Australia below, the crescent
moon setting over the limb of the Earth, the vast plains of Africa
and the dunes on Cape Horn, rivers breaking through tall mountain
passes, the scars of humanity, the continuous line of life extending
from North America, through Central America and into South America,
a crescent moon setting over the limb of our blue planet. Mount
Fuji looks life a small bump from up here, but it does stand out
as a very distinct landmark.
"Magically, the very first day we flew over Lake Michigan
and I saw Wind Point (Wisconsin) clearly. Haven't been so lucky
since. Every orbit we go over a slightly different part of the
Earth. Of course, much of the time I'm working back in Spacehab
and don't see any of it. Whenever I do get to look out, it is
glorious. Even the stars have a special brightness.
from The Sun Monday Feb 3rd
By NICK PARKER
THE crew knew they were in trouble at least SIX MINUTES before the blast.
Flight data recorded at Mission Control revealed shuttle warning lights
would have flashed as faults developed — but the astronauts would
have been powerless to avert disaster.
They were due to land at 9.16am.
But at 8.53 temperature sensors began to fail.
At 08.59 tyre sensors suddenly reported no data.
Shuttle programme manager Ron Dittemore said: “That’s when
we began to know we had a bad day.”
Mission control radioed: “Columbia, Houston. We see your tyre-pressure
messages. We did not copy your last.”
Columbia’s commander Rick Husband responded: “Roger, uh, buh
An instant later communications failed. Within the next minute the shuttle
Experts believe although the crew knew they were in trouble, they would
NOT have known it was about to blow up.
David Shayler, not connected to the renegade spy of that name, said: “The
astronauts are in a protected module, but the G-forces and temperatures
involved mean they would have been unconscious very early on.
“As bits of the shuttle broke off they could have protected the
bodies from being vapourised.”
Shuttle Disintegrates on Reentry, Killing 7 Aboard
By Michael Grunwald
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 2, 2003; Page A01
The space shuttle Columbia, returning
to Earth after a 16-day scientific journey through space, disintegrated
yesterday morning high above the central Texas plains, killing seven astronauts
who had dedicated their lives to exploring the heavens.
"The Columbia is lost," President Bush told the nation. "There
are no survivors."
The Columbia, the oldest shuttle in the U.S. fleet, was streaking through
the sky at 12,500 mph when it burst into flames about 9 a.m., shortly
after reentering Earth's atmosphere. The crew of six Americans and the
first Israeli astronaut -- Ilan Ramon, who had carried a Holocaust survivor's
miniature Torah scroll into space -- was scheduled to land in Florida
about 15 minutes later.
It was not clear last night what caused the Columbia's demise so close
to home, but with the world bracing for war in Iraq -- and with terrorism
fears heightened by the presence of the first Israeli in space -- U.S.
officials said they saw nothing to suggest foul play. There were a few
possible indications of mechanical trouble from shuttle sensors in the
minutes before the disaster, but the mission director said the Columbia
was still "flying with no problems at that time," 39 miles above
Earth. Then there was a tremendous bang and a burst of light, before the
plume of white smoke trailing the shuttle thickened, fractured and melted
It was 17 years ago that the space shuttle Challenger exploded with six
astronauts and the schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe on board Jan. 28, 1986,
and yesterday's tragedy immediately provoked more soul-searching about
the U.S. space program. Some experts had warned in recent years that the
shuttle program was a disaster waiting to happen, and NASA yesterday launched
an investigation and put the shuttle program on hold. But Bush vowed that
"our journey into space will go on," and NASA's Bill Readdy
said the victims' grieving families want that as well.
"They knew that the crew was absolutely dedicated to the mission
that they were performing," said Readdy, a former shuttle commander
who is now NASA's deputy administrator for space flight. "They said
that we must find what happened and fix it and move on. We can't let their
sacrifice be in vain."
This was the Columbia's 28th mission -- its first, in 1981, launched the
space shuttle program -- and it had already been hailed as a scientific
success. The crew had worked on more than 80 microgravity experiments
designed to help treat prostate cancer, predict earthquakes, suppress
fires and develop new products ranging from paints to perfumes. They had
studied the effects of weightlessness on spiders, fish and silkworms in
experiments designed by students in Melbourne, Beijing and Tokyo. They
also studied themselves, swallowing calcium tracers and drawing their
blood to help track bone loss and protein production in space.
Ramon had put together a high-tech project to observe a dust plume over
the Mediterranean, and then used a camera to snap rare photographs of
lightning phenomena known as "sprites" and "elves."
In a news conference from orbit on Wednesday, payload commander Michael
P. Anderson declared that "the science we're doing here is great
The mission had encountered one glitch during liftoff, when a chunk of
insulating foam from the external fuel tank detached and apparently struck
the shuttle's left wing. NASA officials had pronounced the damage insignificant,
but yesterday, after the first signs of trouble came when sensors on that
same wing stopped transmitting data, investigators said the issue would
be studied closely. Flight controllers also noticed a minor electrical
current spike in a water distribution system a few days into the mission,
and later shut down an identical system after it sprung a leak, but there
were no indications that the problems were serious.
Even the final radio transmissions to and from the shuttle suggested possible
concern but no imminent danger. "We see your tire pressure messages
and we did not copy your last," said Mission Control in Houston.
Mission commander Rick D. Husband calmly replied: "Roger," but
then his transmission cut off in mid-word. There was silence, and then
"We will not fly again until we have this understood," shuttle
chief Ron Dittemore said at a news briefing in Houston. "Somewhere
along the line we missed something."