Officials with NASA say they lost radio contact with the space shuttle Columbia during its approach for landing Saturday morning. Authorities said communications were lost around 9:00 a.m. EST, about 15 minutes before a scheduled landing. NASA said the spacecraft was traveling at an altitude of more than 200,000 feet when communications were lost as the shuttle was cruising toward a scheduled landing in Florida.

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Authorities said communications were lost around 9:00 a.m. EST, about 15 minutes before a scheduled landing.

NASA said the spacecraft was traveling at an altitude of more than 200,000 feet when communications were lost as the shuttle was cruising toward a landing in Florida.

Search and rescue teams have been dispatched throughout north central Texas. Video of the approaching spacecraft provided by WFAA-TV in Dallas, Texas showed a number of what appeared to be vapor trails running parallel to the shuttle''s main trail, but it''s not clear what the source of those trails is.

Columbia was carrying seven astronauts, including the first Israeli astronaut to take part in a space mission.

NASA Mission Control declared a "contingency" about 45 mintues after radio contact with the shuttle was lost, and a warning was issued for people to not come in contact with any debris that might be found.