Rick husband is the Columbia's commander was a US air force colonel recruited to the space program in 1994. He made his first flight in 1999; last week's was his second. William McCool is the Columbia pilot was on his first flight. A naval commander and test pilot, he was selected for the space program in April 1996, and trained at the Johnson space centre. Michael Anderson is one of only a handful of African-American astronauts, Anderson had logged 211 hours in space before the Columbia disaster. A USAF lieutenant-colonel, he joined Nasa in 1994. Kalpana Chawla is an experienced astronaut who made her first flight on STS-87 in 1997. David Brown was a military flight surgeon before joining the astronaut corps. Laurel Clark joined Nasa in the same year as Brown, and was trained as a space flight surgeon. Lastly is the Ilan Ramon, an Israeli air force colonel, Ramon was his country's first astronaut. He took part in the 1973 Yom Kippur war and the 1981 bombing raid that destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor.
With the Columbia accident, not only has the nation lost a four-billion-dollar shuttle, seven outstanding astronauts and priceless experimental results, it has also lost confidence in manned space flight and space exploration.
February 1, 2003 was a sunny day. It was the perfect day for the Columbia shuttle return to earth. Everyone at NASA was excited for their return because the shuttle would bring back a lot of useful information from the 16 days mission. No one suspected tragedy will happen.
At around 9am, the shuttle lost contact with NASA. The mission controllers... [continues]
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