(AP) An explosion aboard a space shuttle exploded a few weeks ago, and the space agency is investigating whether the shuttle’s main engines were tampered with, according to an analysis by a space-exploration company.
The National Reconnaissance Office, or NRO, said Tuesday that it was looking into the possible use of an engine on a space station to power satellites.
The agency said the explosion occurred about five days after the space shuttle Columbia was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It was the first such explosion aboard an American rocket.NASA said the space shuttles Columbia, Discovery and Endeavour were built by Boeing Co. of Hawthorne, California, in the early 1960s.
It said the shuttled engines, which were originally designed to shuttle satellites into low Earth orbit, could be used to power the space stations.
NASA is trying to determine whether the shuttle’s engines were improperly tampered.
The agency said its investigation will be conducted under an independent authority, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, and not under the NRO.