Shuttle disaster astronaut Chawla

Shuttle disaster astronaut Chawla

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Credit: NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Astronaut Kalpana Chawla, a victim of the 1st February 2003 disaster in which the space shuttle Columbia exploded on re-entry, killing the seven astronauts on board. Chawla had been on the space shuttle before, on mission STS-87 in 1997. She was the flight engineer on this mission (STS-107), which lifted off on 16th January 2003 to carry out scientific experiments. Columbia was around 65 kilometres up and travelling at 20,000 kilometres per hour when it exploded. Debris was scattered over a wide area of the southern USA, mostly in the states of Texas and Louisiana. It is thought a heat shield failure may have led to the explosion. Photographed in 2002.

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Keywords: 2003, american, chawla, columbia, dead, disaster, february, female, kalpana, manned spaceflight, shuttle astronaut, space, sts-107, united states, usa, victim, woman

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