Remembering astronauts of Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

It has been 18 years since the fateful day that claimed the lives of seven talented and gifted astronauts.

It was a cold February day in the year 2003 when we all witness the second most fatal accident in space history after the unfortunate Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. The Space Shuttle Columbia was a space-rated orbiter in line with NASA’s ambitious Space Shuttle programs. It was launched successfully in the year 1981 and served over 22 years, and successfully completed 27 missions. But on his way home at the end of the 28th mission, it disintegrated upon the reentry in the earth’s atmosphere. This disaster resulted in the death of all his seven-crew member included our first Indian born female astronaut, Kalpana Chawla. Let us look back and remember the brave hearts who lost their lives in this space expedition.

Rick Husband

Rick Husband was a fighter pilot and an astronaut who had travelled to space twice before losing his life to the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster. In his own words, he mentioned before his first-ever flight to space that it was incredibly exciting for him.

William C. McCool

The youngest in the crew, McCool, was an aeronautical engineer, test pilot, American Naval Officer and NASA astronaut. His favourite song, John Lennon’s “Imagine”, was played during the mission. He was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honour posthumously.

Michael P. Anderson

Michael P. Anderson was a payload commander and in-charge of space experiments performed on Space Shuttle Columbia. It is said that before heading to space, Anderson told reporters that there is always that unknown.

Ilan Ramon

Ilan Ramon was a fighter pilot from Israel. Interestingly, he was the first Israeli astronaut in space. His family were holocaust survivors from Auschwitz. He also became the first and only foreign national to receive the Congressional Space Medal of Honour posthumously.

Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla, an Indian born engineer and NASA astronaut, is one of the pioneer women role-model in India. Asteroid 51826 is renamed after Kalpana Chawla, and also NASA dedicated a supercomputer to Kalpana Chawla.

David M. Brown 

David Brown was a United States Navy Captain and a Naval Flight Surgeon. The ill-fated Space shuttle was his first Spaceflight after he became an astronaut in the year 1996. He was awarded NASA Space Flight Medal posthumously.

Laurel Clark

Laurel Clark, the other female astronaut on the mission, was a medical doctor and a NASA astronaut. His husband was part of the NASA panel that wrote a report on the Space Shuttle disaster.

These brave hearts are gone but never forgotten by Space enthusiasts all over the world.

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