The Loss of the Columbia

Saturday, February 1, 2003, almost 17 years to the day that the Space Shuttle Challenger was lost on Jan. 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated while attempting re-entry. All seven
crew members aboard lost their lives in the tragedy.
The loss of the members of Columbia’s crew, including one Israeli, was felt around the
world.
The members of the Space Shuttle Columbia crew were:
shuttle commander Rick Husband
pilot William McCool
payload commander Michael Anderson
payload specialist Ilan Ramon, an Israeli Air Force colonel
payload specialist Dr. Laurel Clark
payload specialist Dr. David Brown
payload specialist Kalpana Chawla, a naturalized American born in Karnal, India.
Two members of the Columbia crew were reportedly Christians. Colonel Rick D. Husband
sang bass in his church choir and had recently recorded an album with the choir. Husband
was known to talk about how much he loved “being able to sing a song to tell God how
much I love Him.”
More reticent about his faith, Lieutenant Colonel Michael P. Anderson was also active in
his church.
Ironically, members of the Columbia crew had observed a moment of silence on Tuesday,
January 28 in memory of both the lives lost in the Challenger mission and Apollo One.
Team leader Husband said, “It is today that we remember and honor the crews of Apollo 1
and Challenger. They made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives and service to their
country and for all mankind. Their dedication and devotion to the exploration of space was
an inspiration to each of us, and still motivates people around the world to achieve great
things in service to others. As we orbit the Earth, we will join the entire NASA family for a
moment of silence in their memory. Our thoughts and prayers go to their families as well.”
President Bush requested prayer for the families and loved ones of the shuttle Columbia’s
crew. In his address to America he said, “In the skies today we saw destruction and
tragedy. Yet farther than we can see there is comfort and hope. In the words of the prophet
Isaiah, Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out
the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and
mighty strength, not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:25-26) The same Creator who
names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the
shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth, yet we can pray that all are safely home.
May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue to bless America.”

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