Space Shuttle Columbia

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Space Shuttle Columbia

The Space Shuttle Columbia (OV-102)was a spacecraft used by NASA to fly into outer space. It was the first Space Shuttle to fly into space, on April 12, 1981. It broke apart while re-entering the Earth's atmosphere on February 1, 2003, killing all seven people who were on it at the time. The shuttle flew a total of 28 missions. The Columbia was named after a US Navy ship that circumnavigated the world in 1836.[1] It was also the name of the Apollo 11 Lunar Excursion Module.

Cause of destruction[change | change source]

A piece of insulating foam from the external fuel tank peeled off during the launch 16 days earlier and struck the shuttle's left wing.[2]

A hole was punctured in the leading edge of the wing. During the intense heat of re-entry, hot gases entered the interior of the wing, destroying the support structures and causing the rest of the shuttle to break apart.[3]

Crew[change | change source]

The crew of STS-107. L to R: Brown, Husband, Clark, Chawla, Anderson, McCool, Ramon.

Missions[change | change source]

# Date Designation Launch pad Landing location Notes
1 12 April 1981 STS-1 39-A Edwards Air Force Base First Shuttle mission
2 12 November 1981 STS-2 39-A Edwards Air Force Base First re-use of manned space vehicle
3 22 March 1982 STS-3 39-A White Sands Space Harbor First mission with an unpainted External tank.
Only time that a space shuttle has landed at the White Sands Space Harbor. This launch was dedicated by Ronald Reagan to "the people of Afghanistan".
4 27 June 1982 STS-4 39-A Edwards Air Force Base Last shuttle R&D flight
5 11 November 1982 STS-5 39-A Edwards Air Force Base First four-person crew, first deployment of commercial satellite.
6 28 November 1983 STS-9 39-A Edwards Air Force Base First six-person crew, first Spacelab.
7 12 January 1986 STS-61-C 39-A Edwards Air Force Base Representative Bill Nelson (D-FL) on board/ final successful shuttle flight before Challenger disaster
8 8 August 1989 STS-28 39-B Edwards Air Force Base Launched KH-11 reconnaissance satellite
9 9 January 1990 STS-32 39-A Edwards Air Force Base Retrieved Long Duration Exposure Facility
10 2 December 1990 STS-35 39-B Edwards Air Force Base Carried multiple X-ray & UV telescopes
11 5 June 1991 STS-40 39-B Edwards Air Force Base 5th Spacelab - Life Sciences-1
12 25 June 1992 STS-50 39-A Kennedy Space Center U.S. Microgravity Laboratory 1 (USML-1)
13 22 October 1992 STS-52 39-B Kennedy Space Center Deployed Laser Geodynamic Satellite II
14 26 April 1993 STS-55 39-A Edwards Air Force Base German Spacelab D-2 Microgravity Research
15 18 October 1993 STS-58 39-B Edwards Air Force Base Spacelab Life Sciences
16 4 March 1994 STS-62 39-B Kennedy Space Center United States Microgravity Payload-2 (USMP-2)
17 8 July 1994 STS-65 39-A Kennedy Space Center International Microgravity Laboratory (IML-2)
18 20 October 1995 STS-73 39-B Kennedy Space Center United States Microgravity Laboratory (USML-2)
19 22 February 1996 STS-75 39-B Kennedy Space Center Tethered Satellite System Reflight (TSS-1R)
20 20 June 1996 STS-78 39-B Kennedy Space Center Life and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS)
21 19 November 1996 STS-80 39-B Kennedy Space Center 3rd Wake Shield Facility flight/ longest Shuttle flight as of 2006
22 4 April 1997 STS-83 39-A Kennedy Space Center Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL)- cut short
23 1 July 1997 STS-94 39-A Kennedy Space Center Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL)- reflight
24 19 November 1997 STS-87 39-B Kennedy Space Center United States Microgravity Payload (USMP-4)
25 13 April 1998 STS-90 39-B Kennedy Space Center Neurolab - Spacelab
26 23 July 1999 STS-93 39-B Kennedy Space Center Deployed Chandra X-ray Observatory
27 1 March 2002 STS-109 39-A Kennedy Space Center Hubble Space Telescope service mission (HSM-3B)
28 16 January 2003 STS-107 39-A Did not land (Planned to land at Kennedy Space Center) Earth science research mission. Shuttle destroyed during re-entry on 1 February 2003. All seven astronauts on board died.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Space Today Online - Space Shuttle Stories". spacetoday.org. Retrieved November 19, 2010. 
  2. "Columbia's Problems Began on Left Wing". Space.com. Retrieved February 26, 2008. 
  3. "Molten Aluminum found on Columbia's thermal tiles". USA Today. Associated Press. March 4, 2003. https://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-03-04-shuttle-investigation_x.htm. Retrieved August 13, 2007.