"The Columbia STS-107 mission lifted off on January 16, 2003, for a 17-day science mission featuring numerous microgravity experiments. Upon reentering the atmosphere on February 1, 2003, the Columbia orbiter suffered a catastrophic failure due to a breach that occurred during launch when falling foam from the External Tank struck the Reinforced Carbon Carbon panels on the underside of the left wing. The orbiter and its seven crewmembers (Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, David Brown, Laurel Blair Salton Clark, Michael P. Anderson, Ilan Ramon, and Kalpana Chawla) were lost approximately 15 minutes before Columbia was scheduled to touch down at Kennedy Space Center." (NASA, http://history.nasa.gov/columbia/Introduction.html)
Image Number: 2001-984
Credit: Image by Eric Long, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
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