Sixteen years ago today, February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and New Mexico during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. The crew of Rick Husband, Willie McCool, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon was lost. Twenty-two years earlier, on April 12, 1981, the Columbia became the first Space Shuttle to launch.
Today, let’s take a moment to remember these astronauts. The anniversaries of the three accidents this week are reminders of how difficult and dangerous space exploration is but how important it is, how much space travel pushes all of us forward. I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to write about the Apollo 1 or Challenger disasters this week. You can read more about Columbia’s STS-107, mission and the Columbia disaster at NASA’s website.