This Day in Aviation History
January 16th, 2003
Launch of Space Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107).

STS-107 was the 113th flight of the Space Shuttle program, and the disastrous final flight of Space Shuttle Columbia. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on January 16, 2003, and during its 15 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes, 32 seconds in orbit conducted a multitude of international scientific experiments.

The seven-members of the crew were killed on February 1 when Columbia disintegrated during reentry into the atmosphere. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board determined the failure was caused by a piece of foam that broke off during launch and damaged the thermal protection system (reinforced carbon-carbon panels and thermal protection tiles) on the leading edge of the orbiter’s left wing. During re-entry the damaged wing slowly overheated and came apart, eventually leading to loss of control and disintegration of the vehicle. The cockpit window frame is now exhibited in a memorial inside the Shuttle Atlantis Pavillion at John F. Kennedy Space Center….

Wikipedia, STS-107:

YouTube, STS-107 Space Shuttle Columbia Launch – January 16, 2003:

YouTube, Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster Nova documentary:

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