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Shuttle Challenger debris washes up on shore

debris December 17, 1996
Web posted at: 1:30 p.m. EST

COCOA BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- Two pieces of the space shuttle Challenger, which exploded nearly 11 years ago, were found by beach-goers Tuesday morning, officials at the Kennedy Space Center said.

The parts -- a 6- by 15-foot rectangular section and a 4- by 8-foot section -- may be part of the rudder tail, wing, or body flap sections of the space shuttle, according to NASA spokesman Lisa Malone.


The parts were found covered with barnacles in about 3 feet of water.

Malone said the debris has no investigative value because the cause of the accident has been determined. Debris has washed ashore periodically in the years since the explosion.

Challenger blew up after launch January 28, 1986, killing all seven crew members, including school teacher Christa McAuliffe.


Beach-goers called the Cocoa Beach Police Department at about 7 a.m. and told them about debris they found.

The debris will be brought to a warehouse at the Kennedy Space Center for examination, NASA said. Investigators there will use serial numbers on the solar tiles to identify the parts of the doomed space shuttle.

Early next year, Malone said, the debris will be put into a silo where other pieces of the shuttle are buried.


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