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.
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.
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/