NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Doomed space shuttle launch. Space shuttle Columbia just after launch at the beginning of mission STS-107 on 16th January 2003. Columbia exploded on re-entry on 1st February 2003, killing all seven astronauts. On board were mission commander Rick Husband, David Brown, Laurel Clark, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, William McCool and the first Israeli in space, Ilan Ramon. Columbia was about 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 Texas and Louisiana. It is thought a heat shield failure may have led to the explosion.
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