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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 by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF