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Space Shuttle Columbia Accident
The crew of Columbia completed many science experiments during their mission.

On January 16, 2003 the Space Shuttle Columbia lifted off for its 28th flight into space. The shuttle was carrying seven astronauts. The astronauts were Colonel Rick Husband, Commander William McCool, Lt. Colonel Michael Anderson, Captain David Brown, Commander Laurel Clark, Dr. Kalpana Chawla, and Israeli Colonel Ilan Ramon.

The shuttle was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch went well. Eighty-one seconds into its flight, the wing of Columbia was struck by a piece of insulation falling off of the external fuel tank. Columbia was damaged on the front edge of the left wing. No one on the shuttle or the ground knew how bad the damage was.

On February 1, 2003, Columbia re-entered Earth's atmosphere on its way to a landing in Florida. Upon re-entry, very hot gas entered the damaged wing. Columbia's wing began to melt and break apart. Soon the whole shuttle started to break apart. Pieces of the shuttle were found from California to Louisiana. All of the astronauts on board Columbia were killed.

Columbia's Final Crew

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A Question

How many days was Columbia's last mission?

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Did you know?
The Answer
Show me the Level 2 version of this page.

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