The Columbia disaster sank the space shuttle

For now, the US may be aiming to send astronauts back to the Moon, but for years it turned its back on manned missions in the wake of the space shuttle Columbia disaster.

America may now be aiming to send astronauts back to the Moon, but for years it turned its back on manned missions in the wake of the space shuttle Columbia disaster.

Its space program suffered a catastrophic failure when all seven astronauts were killed when the space shuttle broke up while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere 20 years ago on February 1, 2003.

This was the second space shuttle disaster after the 1986 Challenger explosion, which also killed the crew and led to fierce criticism of the safety culture at NASA.

The shuttle fleet was decommissioned for two and a half years, and it caused a major shift in American spaceflight.

In 2004, President George W. Bush announced that this tear-jerking program would be scrapped.

For many years after the last shuttle flight in 2011, NASA find themselves dependent on Russia for international shipping Space station (ISS) until Elon Musk’s Space X begins taking passengers there in 2020.

As MoonWashington is currently preparing for a manned mission to come Marsexpected in the late 2030s or early 2040s.

– ‘Smoke trails’ –

Columbia broke up at 203,000 feet (61,900 meters) above east Texas just as the Houston mission controller was speaking to Columbia commander Rick Husband.

“Dear Columbia, this is Houston…we didn’t copy your last message”.

After a while, Husband replied, “Roger but…”

After a brief crackle, contact is lost.

Columbia disappeared from radar screens at 9:00 a.m. (1400 GMT), 16 minutes before landing.

Burning debris from the 80-ton ship was captured by local television stations in the skies over the southern United States, with debris scattered over Texas and Louisiana.

Bob Molter from Palestine, Texas, told National Public Radio how he saw the space shuttle explode in the sky.

“There was a loud bang that shook the house for more than a minute, and I went out thinking there had been a train accident on the nearby line.

“But there was nothing, and then I looked up and saw trails of smoke zigzagging, across the sky.”

– Hero –

Columbia is the oldest space shuttle in orbit.

When it took off on its 28th flight on January 16, 2003 for a 16-day mission to carry out experiments, it had been in service for more than 20 years.

Flight STS-107 was launched under extremely tight security conditions after the September 11, 2001 attacks and due to the presence aboard Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon.

Bush cut short his stay at Camp David’s presidential retreat and ran back Washington D.C after the tragedy. In a televised address, he hailed the crew, two of them women, as heroes.

A probe revealed that the shuttle had disintegrated due to damage caused by a piece of foam from the outer fuel tank that had removed a piece from the left wing of the orbiter during takeoff.

This makes it unable to withstand the extreme temperatures generated by re-entry.

– End of shuttle program –

The space shuttle program was born in 1972 under President Richard Nixon and continued to be the main focus of the United States’ space ambitions for the next four decades.

The fleet also acts like spatial trucks, carrying more than 1,500 tons of equipment to help build the first factory spatial telescope, Hubble and the International Space Station.

After the Columbia disaster, NASA underwent sweeping changes to improve the agency’s culture and safety.

The agency resumed space shuttle flights in July 2005, with Discovery, then Endeavor, and finally Atlantis continuing on missions to the ISS until 2011.


News7g: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button