in peace for all mankind:
As the space shuttle Columbia descended toward earth on the morning of February 1st, 2003, contact was suddenly and unexpectedly lost. As NASA, and people throughout the world, scramble to find out what happened, we remember the brave astronauts who, knowing the risks, reached for the stars and realized their dreams:
Rick Husband - Commander
Rick was a colonel in the United States Air Force. He enjoyed spending time with his family, skiing, cycling and singing. In an interview, Rick said, "just being able to sing a song to tell God how much I love Him, it just feels great. It really does. And I think it's probably almost as good as exercising."
William McCool - Pilot
William was a commander in the United States Navy. He enjoyed outdoor sports such as running, hiking, mountain biking and swimming. He also enjoyed playing the guitar and chess. In an interview, he said, "I can kind of say as a category my most enjoyable experiences are going out with my wife and my boys back-country backpacking [...] and just enjoying life without outside distractions. And enjoying each other, and enjoying the environment."
David Brown Mission Specialist
David was a captain in the United States Navy. He enjoyed flying and bicycle touring. David said in an interview, "I think growing up I really underestimated myself. And, I was really a bit wrong about things that I could do. And, I'm glad I figured out kind of later in life that if I wanted to pursue that, that I could."
Kalpana Chawla - Mission Specialist
Kalpana was born in Karnal, India. She enjoyed flying, hiking and reading. Kalpana told an interviewer, "For me, definitely, [inspiration] comes every day from people in all walks of life. It's easy for me to be motivated and inspired by seeing somebody who just goes all out to do something."
Michael Anderson - Mission Specialist
Michael was a lieutenant colonel in the United State Air Force. He enjoyed tennis, computers, photography and chess. Michael said, "As you look back at your life, there are just a million different things that have happened, just in the right way, to allow you to make your dreams come true. And you know, someone has all that under control."
Laurel Clark - Mission Specialist
Laurel was a medical doctor and commander in the United States Navy. She enjoyed scuba diving, flying, parachuting, hiking, camping, biking and traveling. In a pre-flight interview, Laurel said, "I'm thankful to [my parents] for allowing me to do what I wanted to do. And yet, pushing me to be the best person that I could be."
Ilan Ramon - Payload Specialist
Ilan was a colonel in the Israeli Air Force. He enjoyed snow skiing and playing squash. In his pre-flight interview, Ilan said: "Whenever and wherever you take yourself [...] you get to think a lot about what are we, as a human being are doing here? What is important? What is not important? And you change. You change in your way of thinking and your way of life also."
On Monday, January 27th, 2003 Mission Operations Manager, Phil Engelhauf, rememberd the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger, who were lost in 1986. He said:
"Seventeen years later here, it's kind of nice to see that we in fact did that and picked up with that legacy, and are here today with a space station occupied 365 days a year and an independent shuttle program serving both the station and the broader science community and the objectives that all those people stood for."
February 1st, 2003 will be remembered as the day we lost the "Columbia Seven", seven valiant people who died living their dreams. Like the "Challenger 7", and the Apollo 1 astronauts who died in a fire during a training exercise on the launch pad in 1967, these courageous men and women died doing what they loved. They realized the risks. They took the chances. Let their lives be an inspiration and keep their dreams alive!
- 1 February 2003
1 February 2003
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