A single rose adorns a plaque at the Challenger Memorial in Titusville, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 2, 2003 as the nation mourns the space shuttle Columbia, torn to pieces Saturday, 39 miles above Texas. The seven astronauts aboard were in the last 16 minutes of a 16-day mission, as the spaceship re-entered Earth's atmosphere. The tragedy occurred almost exactly 17 years after the Challenger exploded.
Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 crew (l-r): David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, William McCool and Ilan Ramon.
The Columbia crew is shown on their way to Launch Pad 39A for liftoff Jan. 16. Leading the way were Pilot William "Willie" McCool, left, and Commander Rick Husband, right. Following in the second row were Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla, left, and Laurel Clark; in the rear were Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, Payload Commander Michael Anderson and Mission Specialist David Brown.
Ilan Ramon, left, and Laurel Clark shared a laugh during a news conference Jan. 3 at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Four of the space shuttle Columbia crewmembers posed for a photo in the SPACEHAB Research Double Module Jan. 27. Clockwise from the bottom are astronauts David M. Brown, mission specialist; Michael P. Anderson, payload commander; Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; and payload specialist Ilan Ramon.
Space shuttle Columbia mission specialist Laurel Clark had her suit checked out at crew headquarters in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Tuesday Jan. 14, 2003, just two days before the Columbia's final launch.
As early as June 2002, the Columbia crew was examining flight equipment at the Kennedy Space Center. Shown from left are Ilan Ramon, David Brown (behind Ramon), Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson (behind Chawla), Laurel Clark, Commander Rick Husband and Pilot William McCool.
In this image from television on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2003, shuttle mission specialist Kalpana Chawla pulls the combustion module from its mounting in the SPACEHAB research Module abord the shuttle Columbia. That same day, Columbia's astronauts joined Mission Control in a moment of silence at the exact time 17 years ago that Challenger exploded in the sky.
Credit: AP/NASA TV
Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon showed how to eat corn flakes in microgravity in this televised view from space shuttle Columbia's SPACEHAB Sunday, Jan. 26, 2003. The following Wednesday, Jan 29, Ramon said that viewing the world from space made him realize how fragile the planet is, and how important it is to strive for peace in the Middle East.