A public memorial service for seven astronauts who died on Feb. 01, 2003 … when the shuttle they aboard broke apart … over Texas will be held this Friday at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
The space shuttle Columbia left Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 16.
This marks the 10th anniversary of the space shuttle disaster in which Astronaut’s David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, William McCool and Ilan Ramon perished in the mid-air explosion while headed home from a 16-day science mission in 2003 .
An investigation following the crash found that Columbia had been damaged by a piece of foam on blast-off which damaged to the TPS (Thermal Protection System).”
This marks the 10th anniversary of the space shuttle disaster and according to sources it will be a day that experts at NASA’s mission control will never forget as they were faced the terrible decision over whether to let the astronauts know that they may die on re-entry or face orbiting in space until the oxygen ran out.
Those on the ground decided that it would be better if the crew were spared knowledge of the risks.
There was no way to repair any suspected damage – the crew were far from the International Space Station and had no robotic arm for repairs. It would have taken too long to send up another shuttle to rescue them.
The tragic end to NASA’s 113th shuttle flight prompted President George W. Bush to take action. He announced in 2004 that the three shuttles left would stop flying in 2010 once they finished delivering pieces of the International Space Station. The shuttles resumed flying with new safety measures in place and eked out an extra year, ending on No. 135 in 2011.
Watch the Columbia shuttle disaster as it happened…Video
NASA’s space shuttle fleet began setting records with its first launch on April 12, 1981 the.
Remembering the Challenger Crew 1986
The NASA family lost seven of its own on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, when a booster engine failed, causing the Shuttle Challenger to break apart just 73 seconds after launch.
In this photo from Jan. 9, 1986, the Challenger crew takes a break during countdown training at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Left to right are Teacher-in-Space payload specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe; payload specialist Gregory Jarvis; and astronauts Judith A. Resnik, mission specialist; Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, mission commander; Ronald E. McNair, mission specialist; Mike J. Smith, pilot; and Ellison S. Onizuka, mission specialist.