Columbia Shuttle Mission

The Unexpected

During the Columbia Space Shuttle mission the flight crew was kept busy 24 hours performing various chores involved with science experiments. At the end of the mission a landing at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) was planned for Feb. 1 2003 after a 16-day mission, but Columbia and crew were lost during reentry over East Texas at about 9 a.m., 16 minutes prior to the scheduled touchdown at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). 7 people lost their lives that day.
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The Mission

This 16-day mission was dedicated to research in physical, life, and space sciences, conducted in approximately 80 separate experiments, comprised of hundreds of samples and test points. The 7 astronauts worked 24 hours a day, in two alternating shifts.
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Sad conclusion

Upon reentry into the earths atmosphere the space shuttle Columbia exploded killing all 7 passengers on board. After the sad conclusion of the Columbia mission a 7 month investigation followed , including a four month search across Texas to recover debris. The search was headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana Nearly 85,000 pieces of debris were shipped to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and housed in the Columbia Debris Hangar near the Shuttle Landing Facility. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) debris reconstruction team identified pieces as to location on the orbiter, and determined damaged areas. About 38 percent of the orbiter Columbia was eventually recovered. The cause of the accident was determined to be a piece of foam that had punctured the left wing during takeoff.
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Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster