February 01 – Columbia

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.

Official STS-107 Crew Photo (image: NASA)
Official STS-107 Crew Photo (image: NASA)

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.