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STS-107 [Flight # 113]
16 January - 1 February 2003

    Rick Husband [2], Commander
    William McCool [1], Pilot
    Michael Anderson [2], Payload Commander
    Kalpana Chawla [2], Mission Specialist
    David Brown [1], Mission Specialist
    Laurel Clark [1], Mission Specialist
    Ilan Ramon [1], Payload Specialist (Israel)

    Pad: 39-A [63]
    Date: 16 January 2003
    Time: 15:39:00 UTC

    Altitude: 150 nm
    Inclination: 39 degrees
    Orbits: 255
    Duration: 15 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes, 22 seconds
    Distance: 6,600,000 miles

    None: Orbiter was destroyed over east central Texas during reentry
    Date: 1 February 2003
    Time: 13:59:22 UTC (Approximate)

    Research mission, SpaceHAB. This flight marked the first Israeli astronaut. The mission was a pure science mission lasting a record breaking 16 days. The shuttle was headed for a 14:16 UTC landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida when contact was lost. At the time of the catastrophic failure, the vehicle was over east central Texas at an altitude of approximately 207,135 feet (39.2+ miles) and travelling at approximately 12,500 mph (18.3 Mach). There had been the loss of 8 sensor readings on the left side of the vehicle beginning about 7 minutes before vehicle loss. There were temperature reading gains of 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the left landing gear wheel well and in the fuselage over the left wing.

A brief, simplified description of the cause of the catastrophe is that a piece of insulating foam on the external fuel tank broke loose during launch and struck Columbia on the leading edge of the left wing. The carbon composite on the leading edge of the wing was damaged. This damage in turn allowed super-heated plasma to penetrate into the interior of the wing during reentry. The aluminum structure of the wing first softened, then melted and eventually vaporized. Losing the left wing caused Columbia to tumble out of control and disintegrate.

sts107mission.jpg (163381 bytes) crew sts107crew.jpg (165644 bytes)
Mission Poster Crew Crew Poster
Final communications with Columbia

"The Columbia is lost. There are no survivors." - A memorial page

The Johnson Space Center Columbia Memorial Service on 4 February 2003 (53 minutes, 1 second)

The Kennedy Space Center Columbia Memorial Service on 7 February 2003. (1 hour, 12 minutes, 44 seconds)

The crew of STS-107
sts107_crew_s.jpg (33022 bytes)
(Credit - NASA)
(click to enlarge)

l-r, David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark,
Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson,
William McCool, Ilan Ramon

columbia-breakup-sm.jpg (2326 bytes)
Columbia shown breaking apart over east central Texas.


A tribute


Michael Anderson


David Brown


Kalpana Chawla


Laurel Clark
Rich Husband
William McCool
Ilan Ramon

Archived NASA mission page for STS-107


Page last modified: 08 April 2024 16:04:14.