Remembering Columbia

zerofay32

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On Feb. 6 2003, five days after the loss of Columbia on STS-107, Robert Crippen gave a eulogy to thousands of KSC workers at the SLF.

"It is fitting we are gathered here on the shuttle runway for this event," he said. "It was here last Saturday that family and friends waited anxiously to celebrate with the crew their successful mission and safe return to Earth. It never happened. I'm sure that Columbia, which traveled millions of miles and made that fiery re-entry 27 time before, struggled mightily in those last moments to bring her crew home safely once again. She wasn't successful.

"Columbia was a fine ship. She was named after Robert Gray's exploration ship, which sailed out of Boston Harbor in the 18th century. Columbia and the other orbiters were all named after great explorer ships, because that is their mission, to explore the unknown.

"Columbia was hardly a thing of beauty, exept those of us who loved and cared for her," Crippen said, fighting back tears. "She was often bad-mouthed for being a little too heavy in the rear end. But many of us can relate to that. Many said she was old and past her prime.

"Still, she had only lived barely a quarter of her design live; in years, she was only 22. Columbia had a great many missions ahead of her. She along with the crew had her live snuffed out in her prime.... There's heavy grief in our hearts, which will diminish in time, but it will never go away, and we will never forget," Crippen finished.

"Hail Rick, Willie, KC, Mike, Laurel, Dave, and Ilan. Hail Columbia!"
(taken from "Comm Check" by Michael Cabbage and William Harwood)


Hail Columbia indeed!
 
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Pilot7893

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I was thinking about this all day. I was surprised when i came home and there wasn't a thread on it.
 

PhantomCruiser

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Yes, Hail Columbia!

Columbia and Challanger both are both of those memories where I'll remember exactly what I was doing. Even my daughter remembers (but, she's the kid of a space nut, so she's kinda special).

Almighty ruler of the all
Whose power extends to great and small,
Who guides the stars with steadfast law,
Whose least creation fills with awe—
Oh grant Thy mercy and Thy grace
To those who venture into space.

Robert Heinlein, from "Ordeal in Space"
 

Donamy

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The Columbia tragedy inspired the Fleet for Orbiter.

Hail Columbia !!
 

Star Voyager

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Although I don't remember the reentry too well, I do remember vividly watching the launch when I lived there. I was in third grade at the time, out playing at recess. I knew it was a launch day, and all the school came out to watch (as most people who live there do). As it came up over the horizon, I recall thinking "I hope nothing happens to the mission with the first Israeli astronaut."

Hail Columbia!
 

Jer95

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That disaster happened when I was 7, and I was sleeping when Columbia broke up...
RIP Columbia :salute:
 

Zatnikitelman

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Hail the crew! Hail Columbia! :salute:
I too remember that morning very well. Mom said the shuttle was landing at 09:00 and I was half-awake, then at 09:30 she came in and said "they lost the shuttle" and from then on, I was glued to the TV all day and whenever I could for the next week. That was the most shocking days of my life.
Rest In Peace crew of STS-107
 

Chupacabra

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Hail Columbia! A day where I saw spaceflight with different eyes.

For those interested Wayne Hale has some nice reflections to share of lost
missions on his blog. He has been very sentimental lately, but I always look forward
to hear what he has to say.
 

n72.75

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Hail to Columbia, ship and crew :cheers:

"The question to ask is whether the risk of traveling to space is worth the benefit. The answer is an unequivocal yes, but not only for the reasons that are usually touted by the space community: the need to explore, the scientific return, and the possibility of commercial profit. The most compelling reason, a very long-term one, is the necessity of using space to protect Earth and guarantee the survival of humanity."
 

ThatGuy

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I was in my eighth grade math class at the time. The first I heard of it was when I was at the end of the school day when my homeroom teacher told us (six hours after the fact)

Hail Columbia! :salute:
May they rest in peace.
 

eveningsky339

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I was at a friend's house. I still remember his dad coming in and saying there was something wrong with the shuttle. We went to the TV and saw Columbia breaking up. A very sad day.

God rest the souls of the brave men and women who acted as her crew.
 

Kyle

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I watched the breakup as it happened on NASA TV provided by space.com.
I didn't know what was going on, until I heard the words 'a contingency has been declared' by the PAO and even though I was 8, I instantly thought of the Challenger disaster by when the PAO said that. And I knew that second, Columbia was gone.
I turned on the news a minute later, and there was Columbia's fiery destruction right in front of me.
 
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