NASA Marks 10 Years Since Loss of Columbia, Crew

Shuttle disintegrated over North Texas 10 years ago

NASA honored the seven astronauts who perished when the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed 10 years ago. 

The space agency marked the anniversary Friday at a public memorial service at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Speakers include Evelyn Husband Thompson, who was married to the shuttle's commander.

The accident on Feb. 1, 2003, killed six Americans and Israel's first astronaut. They were returning home from a 16-day science mission when the shuttle disintegrated over North Texas, just minutes from landing in Florida.

An investigation board later determined the cause was damage to the wing that occurred during liftoff. The shuttles were grounded for more than two years, and resumed flying with more safety features in place. The shuttles retired in 2011.

In Arlington on Friday, The University of Texas at Arlington marked the anniversary at 7:59 a.m. Friday, the moment when NASA Mission Control lost radio contact with the shuttle as it broke up over Texas.

In front of hall named in her honor, students at UTA will release biodegradable white balloons in memory of Kalpana Chawla.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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