Space Shuttle Columbia
The Space Shuttle
The 1st Shuttle
Columbia was the 1st space shuttle to actually go into space. Voyager was the 1st one built, but it never exited the Earth's atmosphere.
A Record Breaker
Columbia flew 28 missions in total and orbited Earth 4,808 times. It was 28 years old when it broke apart during reentry. Her first mission was in 1981, April.
Columbia was named after one of the 1st ships to sail around the world and vessel that explored the Columbia rivers.
The " First " to go to space
The first Japanese woman in space went on the shuttle Columbia and the first European Space Agency astronaut flew on Columbia.
It was the heaviest orbiter shuttle. Including the main engines, it weighed more than 178,000 pounds!
Never got there
Columbia never got visit the ISS or the Shuttle Mir. It was not built to go up that high in orbit, though she did get to help build the Spacelab.
A Tragic Occurence
In 2003,February 1st, the disintegration of Columbia in reentry, occurred. The shuttle was supposed to land at about 9:16 am at e Kennedy Space Station, about 7 minutes from landing. It was right above Texas when it disintegrated into the Earth's orbit.
What happened was that during launch, a piece of foam that was supposed to guard an external tank broke off of the shuttle. Since Columbia was going really fast at the time, it hit the left wing which damaged the thermal protection system. That made extremely high temperatures to enter the left wing burning it until it caused the whole disintegration.
Why Nothing Was Done About It
The tank insulation was supposed to keep ice out of the propellant tanks. the thing was that in some earlier launches the act of insulation shedding was seen. Though that was the main reason of the disintegration of Columbia, it had nothing to do with the main launch, it was just like a side effect.
The shuttle started to burn at California and kept dropping parts of the shuttle and debris, even tanks and things up until it was right above Texas. It was going to land in 7 minutes when the disaster occurred.