OTD: Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster

On this day in 2003 the Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed on re-entry following a successful mission (STS107). All seven crew members on board were killed.

From left to right are mission specialist David Brown, commander Rick Husband, mission specialist Laurel Clark, mission specialist Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist Michael Anderson, pilot William McCool, and Israeli payload specialist Ilan Ramon.

The disaster was caused by a piece of foam insulation that broke off from the external tank and struck the left wing of the orbiter. When Columbia re-entered the atmosphere of Earth, the damage allowed hot atmospheric gases to penetrate the heat shield and destroy the internal wing structure, which caused the spacecraft to become unstable and break apart. 

Space Shuttle Columbia hurtles toward space on mission STS-107. Following a flawless and uneventful countdown, liftoff occurred on-time at 10:39 a.m. EST. Landing is scheduled at about 8:53 a.m. EST on Saturday, Feb. 1. This mission is the first Shuttle mission of 2003. Mission STS-107 is the 28th flight of the orbiter Columbia and the 113th flight overall in NASA’s Space Shuttle program.

DRW © 2020. Created 23/03/2020

Crew image retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Columbia_disaster.  Image is in the public domain in the United States because it was solely created by NASA

Liftoff image used under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/#. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasa2explore/9349798659/in/album-72157634759692157/


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