Air flow about the shuttle upon reentry. A computational fluid dynamics simulation.
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Welcome Home Columbia!
News story originally written on July 18, 1997
The shuttle Columbia returned to Earth Thurday, July 17. It carried with it important research on the topics of fire and plants.
During the 16 day journey (6.2 million miles later!), the astronauts took turns setting 206 small fires in sealed chambers. They also ignited the weakest flame ever recorded- one that flickered at 1/50 the brightness of a birthday candle!
Cartoon character Popeye would have been content on this mission, as the Columbia astronauts grew spinach, clover and protein crystals during the mission. Future space station residents will also have to grow some of their own food.
"Columbia has performed almost flawlessly, " said Commander James Halsell Jr. Columbia did have a window dent less than
an inch across caused by a tiny meteoroid. The shuttle didn't have any more problems.
NASA's next shuttle flight is a research mission by Discovery in August.
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