Settlements to Columbia Families

NASA says it paid settlements to the families of the astronauts killed in the 2003 Columbia tragedy.

A NASA spokesman says the space agency used a 2004 congressional appropriation to make the payments.

NASA had never before discussed the payments because it wanted to protect the families' privacy.

All seven Columbia Astronauts died when the shuttle disintegrated over Texas upon re-entry.

Investigators determined a piece of foam that had broken off during take off had damaged the orbiter.