Officials Say Train Carrying Shuttle Rockets Derails In Alabama

Wednesday, May 2nd 2007, 2:34 pm
By: News On 6

DEMOPOLIS, Ala. (AP) _ A freight train carrying segments of the solid rocket boosters for the space shuttle derailed Wednesday after a bridge collapsed, authorities said. Six people were reported injured.

NASA spokesman Kyle Herring said the space agency sent teams to check on the whether the equipment, which was on its way to Florida, was damaged.

He said the booster segments was not scheduled for use during the next shuttle flight, set for launch June 8, but for missions in October and December.

The condition of the injured was not immediately released. The cause of the bridge collapse was under investigation.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency said that none of the cargo spilled. The train landed on its side in a wooded area, and there appeared to be no fire.

The shuttle's twin boosters are 120 feet tall and consist of four propellant segments each.

They are used during liftoff and the first two minutes or so of flight to help the spacecraft break free of Earth's orbit, and are then jettisoned into the sea, after which they are recovered, refurbished and often reused.

As for the effect of the derailment on future missions, Herring said it was too early to tell.