JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Image 3 of 6. Separation of an object (left of large spot) from the Space Shuttle Columbia prior to its break up on re-entry on 1st February 2003. This killed its seven astronauts. Columbia, on mission STS-107, was at an altitude of around 65 kilometres and it was travelling at 20,000 kilometres per hour. Debris from the explosion was scattered over a wide area of the southern USA. STS-107 lifted off on 16th January 2003 to carry out scientific experiments. On board were astronauts Husband, McCool, Ramon, Anderson, Clark, Chawla and Brown. Photographed from California, USA. For a sequence showing this event, see images S540/796-801.
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