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Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

S540/0808

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Credit

CHRIS BUTLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRIS BUTLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Artwork of the Space Shuttle Columbia just before it broke up on re-entry on 1st February 2003, killing its seven astronauts. The bright area on the left wing is where the heat shield is starting to fail, as shown by the initial investigation. 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.

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