NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Underside of the space shuttle Columbia as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere after mission STS-107 on 1 February 2003. Shortly after this image was taken Columbia disintegrated, killing all seven astronauts on board. It was concluded that the break up of the space shuttle was due to a defect on the leading edge of the left wing (lower left). A smudge is seen on this leading edge, and what is thought to be a debris trail is at lower left. The space shuttle 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.
Model release not required. Property release not required.