The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the death of all seven crew members.
The loss of Columbia was a result of damage sustained during launch when a piece of foam insulation the size of a small briefcase broke off the Space Shuttle external tank (the main propellant tank) under the aerodynamic forces of launch. The debris struck the leading edge of the left wing, damaging the Shuttle's thermal protection system (TPS), which protects it from heat generated with the atmosphere during re-entry. While Columbia was still in orbit, some engineers suspected damage, but NASA managers limited the investigation, on the grounds that little could be done even if problems were found.
The Crew consisted of Captain David M. Brown (USN), Colonel Rick D. Husband, Captain Laurel Clark (USN), Engineer Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Colonel Michael P. Anderson, Commander William C. McCool & Israeli Colonel Ilan Ramon.
Dan Emplit WBFD