One event will forever be linked to this date in spaceflight history. Feb 1st 2003 was the day the space shuttle Columbia, gliding in to conclude 16 day mission STS-107, broke up during re-entry, the result of damage caused by the breaking off of a piece of insulation foam from the external tank during launch. All seven crew members were killed, and debris was scattered over a large area of Texas and Louisiana. There’s been plenty of discussion about this tragedy ever since, so I won’t be commenting further.
The crew were (L-R in the photo above): David M Brown, Rick D Husband (commander), Laurel B Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael P Anderson, William C McCool (pilot), and Ilan Ramon.