UTA Honors Columbia Astronaut

Thursday, Jan 31, 2013  |  Updated 5:59 AM CDT
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UTA Honors Columbia Astronaut

Pieces of space shuttle Columbia break apart over North Texas, Feb. 1, 2003.

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Many parts of Texas have scheduled events to mark the 10th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster that killed its seven crew member, but the University of Texas at Arlington has a very personal reason to mark the date.

Kalpana Chawla, who earned a master's in aeronautical engineering at UTA, was one of the seven who died aboard Columbia when the spacecraft broke up, raining North and East Texas with debris.

UTA has scheduled a vigil and storytelling event for Thursday evening outside a campus residence hall named for Chawla, Kalpana Chawla Hall.

Then, on Friday morning at the hour when NASA Mission Control lost contact with the Columbia crew, students will release biodegradable white balloons in Chawla's memory.

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