INTRODUCTION: Friday the 13th, proved unlucky for the two United States astronauts orbiting the earth in the space-shuttle 'Columbia'.
GV Shuttle in flight, with earth in top of frame
GV Robot arm under test
SV INTERIOR Astronauts using movie cameras
GV NASA ground control
GV EXTERIOR Shuttle in flight, showing robot arm and TV reflector
GVs Shuttle of cloud formation and earth from space (2 shots)
SV INTERIOR Astronauts filming inside capsule
GV Ground control room
GV EXTERIOR American continent from space
GVs Ground control and capsule interior, the exterior of Columbia (4 shots)
GV EXTERIOR sign 'He Mum' at capsule window
SV INTERIOR Astronauts at work inside capsule
GV EXTERIOR Shuttle in flight with earth top of frame (2 shots)
SCU INTERIOR NASA spokesman speaking
BELL: "The troubled space craft is still on top of the world, but underpowered. Working through a shortened programme of experiments -- including the testing of the robot arm which will reach out into space to deploy and retrieve satellites.
"The astronauts were also dodging manuals in the weightlessness of the flight deck while looking for their shots like veteran cameramen. The conversation was between them and astronaut Sally Ride on the ground.
COLUMBIA: "Okay Sally, we've got the arm secured. Right now we're just getting ready to activate the syria (phonetic). We've got the power on and we're getting ready to turn it on."
RIDE: "Okay, sounds good."
COLUMBIA: "You sound mighty good too. Looks like it's a little bit more cloudy out here Sally, good thing the syrias (phonetic) did that."
FIELD: "Okay, N.B. advised that we're looking at a great picture from -- looks like camera delta, of the arm and the earth."
COLUMBIA: "Good show -- very, very good."
FIELD: "Okay, that sounds great and you guys do good work."
BELL: "The astronauts and mission control are juggling the schedule now -- fitting the top priority experiments into the shortened time available, just to the 54 hours of the 'minimum mission'. Mission control passed that news onto them in a pass over California."
RIDE: "Okay, first the bad news. Our plan is that we are running a 'minimum mission' and you'll be coming in tomorrow."
COLUMBIA: "Oh boy, I tell you what -- you're garbled and unreadable there Sally."
RIDE: "Okay, you get to hear the bad news one more time then. We're running a 'minimum mission' and you'll be coming in tomorrow."
COLUMBIA: "Okay, that's not so good."
RIDE: "Think of it that you got all of the good osta (phonetic) data and all the arm is (phonetic) data and you just did too good a job. We're going to bring you in early."
COLUMBIA: "Ha, ha, ha, okay."
BELL: "The astronauts spirits wore still up. Mission control reported that they were disappointed rather than surprised -- and the space agency's own response has been to put the best possible face on what happened. They say they'll have 90 per cent of what they flew for."
NASA SPOKESMAN: "Well I think that in the overall sense of conducting this operation, we really have gotten just about everything out of it, we set out to do."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Friday the 13th, proved unlucky for the two United States astronauts orbiting the earth in the space-shuttle 'Columbia'. A failed fuel cell caused the shortening of their five day flight, with North American Space Agency (NASA) officials ordering a return to earth, just over 48 hours earlier than originally planned. Martin Bell of the BBC reports from mission control in Houston, Texas on the problems of the first-ever reusable space craft.