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This is an image of the space shuttle Columbia during lift-off.
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Space Shuttle Columbia is Lost
News story originally written on February 3, 2003

We at Windows to the Universe are deeply saddened by the deaths of the Mission STS-107 astronauts, who tragically lost their lives on Saturday February 1, 2003 when the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on its way home. We offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the crew, to NASA and the country during this difficult time.

The seven Mission STS-107 astronauts aboard the Columbia Space Shuttle had just completed a 16-day mission dedicated to research in physical, life, and space sciences. They conducted about 80 experiments, collecting hundreds of samples. Four of the astronauts experienced their first time in space. The other three had each been in space once before.

Sean O'Keefe’s, Administrator of NASA, made a statement to the public on February 1, 2003, soon after the shuttle was lost. Follow the links below to read or hear what he had to say.


Last modified February 3, 2003 by Lisa Gardiner.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA