Colorado Project on Board Columbia

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A fire-suppression experiment by the Colorado School of Mines that went up in space with the Shuttle Columbia was not designed to suppress large fires.

Columbia disintegrated in flames over Texas minutes before it was to land Saturday in Florida. TV video showed what appeared to be falling debris, as NASA declared an emergency and sent search teams to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Frank Schowengerdt is the director of the center for commercial applications of combustion in space at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. He says the experiment was already completed.

He says it was considered a success, but it's now a terrible tragedy.