Space Shuttle Columbia

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Space Shuttle Columbia
Space Shuttle Columbia launches on STS-109(HST-3B) to repair the Hubble Space telescope. This was the final successful mission of Columbia before STS-107.
OV designationOV-102
CountryUnited States
Contract awardJuly 26, 1972
Named afterColumbia (1773)
(renamed Columbia Rediviva, 1787)
StatusDestroyed February 1, 2003
First flightSTS-1
April 12, 1981 – April 14, 1981
Last flightSTS-107
January 16, 2003 – February 1, 2003
Number of missions28
Crew members160
Time spent in space300 days 17:40:22[1]
Number of orbits4,808
Distance travelled201,497,772 km (125,204,911 miles)
Satellites deployed8
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Space Shuttle Columbia
Space Shuttle Columbia launches on STS-109(HST-3B) to repair the Hubble Space telescope. This was the final successful mission of Columbia before STS-107.
OV designationOV-102
CountryUnited States
Contract awardJuly 26, 1972
Named afterColumbia (1773)
(renamed Columbia Rediviva, 1787)
StatusDestroyed February 1, 2003
First flightSTS-1
April 12, 1981 – April 14, 1981
Last flightSTS-107
January 16, 2003 – February 1, 2003
Number of missions28
Crew members160
Time spent in space300 days 17:40:22[1]
Number of orbits4,808
Distance travelled201,497,772 km (125,204,911 miles)
Satellites deployed8

Space Shuttle Columbia (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-102) was the first spaceworthy Space Shuttle in NASA's orbital fleet. First launched on the STS-1 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle program, it completed 27 missions before disintegrating during re-entry on February 1, 2003 near the end of its 28th mission, STS-107, resulting in the deaths of all crew members aboard.


Construction began on Columbia in 1975 at Rockwell International's (formerly North American Aviation/North American Rockwell) principal assembly facility in Palmdale, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. Columbia was named after the historical poetic name for the United States of America, like the explorer ship of Captain Robert Gray and the Command Module of Apollo 11, the first manned landing on another celestial body. Columbia was also the female symbol of the U.S. After construction, the orbiter arrived at Kennedy Space Center on March 25, 1979, to prepare for its first launch. Columbia was originally scheduled to lift off in late 1979, however the launch date was delayed by problems with both the SSME components, as well as the thermal protection system (TPS).[2] On March 19, 1981, during preparations for a ground test, workers were asphyxiated while working in Columbia's nitrogen-purged aft engine compartment, resulting in (variously reported) two or three fatalities.[3][4]

Columbia in the Orbiter Processing Facility after delivery to Kennedy Space Center in 1979.

The first flight of Columbia (STS-1) was commanded by John Young, a Gemini and Apollo veteran who was the ninth person to walk on the Moon in 1972, and piloted by Robert Crippen, a rookie astronaut originally selected to fly on the military's Manned Orbital Laboratory (MOL) spacecraft, but transferred to NASA after its cancellation, and served as a support crew member for the Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz missions.

Columbia spent 610 days in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF), another thirty-five days in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), and 105 days on Pad 39A before finally lifting off.[2] Columbia was successfully launched on April 12, 1981, the 20th anniversary of the first human spaceflight (Vostok 1), and returned on April 14, 1981, after orbiting the Earth 36 times, landing on the dry lakebed runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Columbia then undertook three further research missions to test its technical characteristics and performance. Its first operational mission, with a four-man crew, was STS-5, which launched on November 11, 1982. At this point Columbia was joined by Challenger, which performed the next three shuttle missions, while Columbia underwent modifications for the first Spacelab mission.

Columbia astronauts Thomas K. Mattingly and Pilot Henry Hartsfield salute President Ronald Reagan, standing beside his wife, Nancy, upon landing in 1982.

In 1983, Columbia, under the command of John Young for his sixth spaceflight, undertook its second operational mission (STS-9), in which the Spacelab science laboratory and a six-person crew was carried, including the first non-American astronaut on a space shuttle, Ulf Merbold. After the flight, Columbia spent 18 months at the Rockwell Palmdale facility beginning in January 1984, undergoing modifications that removed the Orbiter Flight Test hardware and bringing it up to similar specifications as that of its sister orbiters. At that time the shuttle fleet was expanded to include Discovery and Atlantis.

Columbia returned to space on January 12, 1986, with the launch of STS-61-C. The mission's crew included Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz, as well as the first sitting member of the House of Representatives to venture into space, Bill Nelson.

The next shuttle mission was undertaken by Challenger. It was launched on January 28, 1986, ten days after STS-61-C had landed. The mission ended in disaster 73 seconds after launch. In the aftermath NASA's shuttle timetable was disrupted, and Columbia was not flown again until 1989 (on STS-28), after which it resumed normal service as part of the shuttle fleet.

STS-93, launched on July 23, 1999, was commanded by Lt. Col. Eileen Collins, the first female Commander of a U.S. spacecraft.

Following an independent investigation into the cause of the Columbia accident, President Bush decided to retire the Shuttle orbiter fleet by 2010 in favor of the Constellation program and its manned Orion spacecraft. However, President Obama signed the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 on October 11 which officially brought the Constellation program to an end.

Construction milestones[edit]

July 26, 1972Contract Awarded to North American Rockwell
March 25, 1975Start long lead fabrication aft fuselage
November 17, 1975Start long-lead fabrication of crew module
June 28, 1976Start assembly of crew module
September 13, 1976Start structural assembly of aft-fuselage
December 13, 1976Start assembly upper forward fuselage
January 3, 1977Start assembly vertical stabilizer
August 26, 1977Wings arrive at Palmdale from Grumman
October 28, 1977Lower forward fuselage on dock, Palmdale
November 7, 1977Start of Final Assembly
February 24, 1978Body flap on dock, Palmdale
April 28, 1978Forward payload bay doors on dock, Palmdale
May 26, 1978Upper forward fuselage mate
July 7, 1978Complete mate forward and aft payload bay doors
September 11, 1978Complete forward RCS
February 3, 1979Complete combined systems test, Palmdale
February 16, 1979Airlock on dock, Palmdale
March 5, 1979Complete postcheckout
March 8, 1979Closeout inspection, Final Acceptance Palmdale
March 8, 1979Rollout from Palmdale to Dryden
March 12, 1979Overland transport from Palmdale to Edwards
March 20, 1979SCA Ferry Flight from DFRC to Bigs AFB, Texas
March 22, 1979SCA Ferry flight from Bigs AFB to Kelly AFB, Texas
March 24, 1979SCA Ferry flight from Kelly AFB to Eglin AFB, Florida
March 24, 1979SCA Ferry flight from Eglin, AFB to KSC
November 3, 1979Auxiliary Power Unit hot fire tests, OPF KSC
December 16, 1979Orbiter integrated test start, KSC
January 14, 1980Orbiter integrated test complete, KSC
February 20, 1981Flight Readiness Firing
April 12, 1981First Flight (STS-1)

Prototype orbiter[edit]

Columbia launching during STS-1. Its distinctive black chines and "USA" painted on the starboard wing are visible. Columbia was the only orbiter launched with its external tank painted white, which was later discontinued to save weight.

As the second orbiter to be constructed, yet the first able to fly into space, Columbia was roughly 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) heavier than subsequent orbiters such as Endeavour, which were of a slightly different design, and had benefited from advances in materials technology.[6] In part, this was due to heavier wing and fuselage spars, the weight of early test instrumentation that remained fitted to the avionics suite, and an internal airlock that, originally fitted into the other orbiters, was later removed in favor of an external airlock to facilitate Shuttle/Mir and Shuttle/International Space Station dockings.[7] Due to its weight, Columbia could not have used the planned Centaur-G booster (cancelled after the loss of Challenger).[8] However, the retention of the internal airlock allowed NASA to use Columbia for the STS-109 Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, along with the Spacehab double module used on STS-107. Due to Columbia's heavier weight, it was less ideal for NASA to use it for missions to the International Space Station, though modifications were made to the Shuttle during its last refit in case the spacecraft was needed for such tasks.

Externally, Columbia was the first orbiter in the fleet whose surface was mostly covered with High & Low Temperature Reusable Surface Insulation (HRSI/LRSI) tiles as its main thermal protection system (TPS), with white silicone rubber-painted Nomex — known as Felt Reusable Surface Insulation (FRSI) blankets – in some areas on the wings, fuselage and Payload Bay Doors. FSRI once covered almost 25% of the orbiter, though the first upgrade resulted in its removal from many areas, and in later flights was only used on the upper section of the Payload Bay Doors and inboard sections of the upper wing surfaces.[9] The upgrade also involved replacing many of the white LRSI tiles on the upper surfaces with Advanced Flexible Reusable Surface Insulation (AFRSI) blankets (also known as Fibrous Insulation Blankets, or FIB's) after their successful use on shuttle Discovery and Atlantis. Originally, Columbia had 32,000 tiles – the upgrade reduced this to 24,300. The AFRSI blankets consist of layers of pure silica felt sandwiched between a layer of silica fabric on the outside and S-Glass fabric on the inside, stitched together using pure silica thread in a 1-inch grid, then coated with a high-purity silica coating. The blankets are semi-rigid and can be made as large as 30" by 30". Each blanket can replace as many as 25 tiles and is bonded directly to the orbiter.[9] The direct application of the blankets to the orbiter results in weight reduction, improved producibility and durability, reduced fabrication and installation cost, and reduced installation schedule time.[10] The work was performed during Columbia's first retrofitting and the post-Challenger stand-down.

Columbia landing at Edwards Air Force Base following STS-28.

Despite refinements to the launcher's thermal protection system and other enhancements, Columbia would never weigh as little unloaded as the other orbiters in the fleet. The next-oldest shuttle, Challenger, was also relatively heavy, although 2,200 lb (1,000 kg) lighter than Columbia.

Until its last refit, Columbia was the only operational orbiter with wing markings consisting of an American flag on the port (left) wing and the letters "USA" on the starboard (right) wing. Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour all, until 1998, bore markings consisting of the letters "USA" afore an American flag on the left wing, and the pre-1998 NASA "worm" logo afore the respective orbiter's name on the right wing. (Enterprise, the test vehicle which was the prototype for Columbia, originally had the same wing markings as Columbia but with the letters "USA" on the right wing spaced closer together; Enterprise's markings were modified to match Challenger in 1983.) The name of the orbiter was originally placed on the payload bay doors much like Enterprise but was placed on the crew cabin after the Challenger disaster so that the orbiter could be easily identified while in orbit. From its last refit to its destruction, Columbia bore markings identical to those of its operational sister orbiters – the NASA "meatball" logo on the left wing and the American flag afore the orbiter's name on the right; only Columbia's distinctive wing "chines" remained. These black areas on the upper surfaces of the shuttle's forward wing were added because, at first, shuttle designers did not know how reentry heating would affect the craft's upper wing surfaces. The "chines" allowed Columbia to be easily recognized at a distance, as opposed to the subsequent orbiters. The "chines" were added after Columbia arrived at KSC in 1979.

Another unique external feature, termed the "SILTS" pod, was located on the top of Columbia's tailfin, and was installed after STS-9 to acquire infrared and other thermal data. Though the pod's equipment was removed after initial tests, NASA decided to leave it in place, mainly to save costs, along with the agency's plans to use it for future experiments. The tailfin was later modified to incorporate the drag chute first used on Endeavour in 1992.

Columbia landing at the Kennedy Space Center following STS-62.

Columbia was also originally fitted with Lockheed-built ejection seats identical to those found on the SR-71 Blackbird. These were active for the four orbital test flights, but deactivated after STS-4, and removed entirely after STS-9. Columbia was also the only orbiter not delivered with head-up displays for the Commander and Pilot, although these were incorporated after STS-9. Like its sister ships, Columbia was eventually retrofitted (at its last refit) with the new MEDS "glass cockpit" display and lightweight seats.

Had Columbia not been destroyed, it would have been fitted with the external airlock/docking adapter for STS-118, an International Space Station assembly mission, originally planned for November 2003. Columbia was scheduled for this mission due to Discovery being out of service for its Orbital Maintenance Down Period, and because the ISS assembly schedule could not be adhered to with only Endeavour and Atlantis.

Columbia preparing for launch for STS-109

Columbia’s career would have started to wind down after STS-118. It was to service the Hubble Space Telescope two more times, once in 2004, and again in 2005, but no more missions were planned for it again until 2009 when, on STS-144, it would retrieve the Hubble Space Telescope from orbit and bring it back to Earth. Following the Columbia accident, NASA flew the STS-125 mission using Atlantis, combining the planned fourth and fifth servicing missions into one final visit to Hubble. Because of the expected retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet, the batteries and gyroscopes that keep the telescope pointed will eventually fail, which would result in its reentry and break-up in Earth's atmosphere. A "Soft Capture Docking Mechanism", based on the docking adapter that was to be used on the Orion spacecraft, was installed during the last servicing mission in anticipation of this event.

Columbia was also scheduled to launch the X-38 V-201 Crew Return Vehicle prototype as the next mission after STS-118, until the cancellation of the project in 2002.


Space Shuttle Columbia flew 28 flights, spent 300.74 days in space, completed 4,808 orbits, and flew 125,204,911 miles (201,497,772 km) in total, including its final mission.

Columbia was the only shuttle to have been spaceworthy during both the Shuttle-Mir and International Space Station programs and yet to have never visited either Mir or ISS. In contrast, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour have all visited both stations at least once, as Columbia was not suited for high-inclination missions. Challenger was destroyed before the Shuttle-Mir Program began, and Enterprise never flew in space.

#DateDesignationLaunch padLanding locationNotes
11981, April 12STS-139-AEdwards Air Force BaseFirst shuttle mission.
21981, November 12STS-239-AEdwards Air Force BaseFirst re-use of manned space vehicle
31982, March 22STS-339-AWhite Sands Space HarborFirst mission with an unpainted External tank.
Only time that a space shuttle landed at the White Sands Space Harbor.
41982, June 27STS-439-AEdwards Air Force BaseLast shuttle R&D flight
51982, November 11STS-539-AEdwards Air Force BaseFirst four-person crew, first deployment of commercial satellite.
61983 November 28STS-939-AEdwards Air Force BaseFirst six-person crew, first Spacelab.
71986, January 12STS-61-C39-AEdwards Air Force BaseRepresentative Bill Nelson (D-FL) on board/ final successful shuttle flight before Challenger disaster
81989, August 8STS-2839-BEdwards Air Force BaseLaunched KH-11 reconnaissance satellite
91990, January 9STS-3239-AEdwards Air Force BaseRetrieved Long Duration Exposure Facility
101990, December 2STS-3539-BEdwards Air Force BaseCarried multiple X-ray & UV telescopes
111991, June 5STS-4039-BEdwards Air Force Base5th Spacelab – Life Sciences-1
121992, June 25STS-5039-AKennedy Space CenterU.S. Microgravity Laboratory 1 (USML-1)
131992, October 22STS-5239-BKennedy Space CenterDeployed Laser Geodynamic Satellite II
141993, April 26STS-5539-AEdwards Air Force BaseGerman Spacelab D-2 Microgravity Research
151993, October 18STS-5839-BEdwards Air Force BaseSpacelab Life Sciences
161994, March 4STS-6239-BKennedy Space CenterUnited States Microgravity Payload-2 (USMP-2)
171994, July 8STS-6539-AKennedy Space CenterInternational Microgravity Laboratory (IML-2)
181995, October 20STS-7339-BKennedy Space CenterUnited States Microgravity Laboratory (USML-2)
191996, February 22STS-7539-BKennedy Space CenterTethered Satellite System Reflight (TSS-1R)
201996, June 20STS-7839-BKennedy Space CenterLife and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS)
211996, November 19STS-8039-BKennedy Space Center3rd flight of Wake Shield Facility (WSF)/ longest Shuttle flight
221997, April 4STS-8339-AKennedy Space CenterMicrogravity Science Laboratory (MSL)- cut short
231997, July 1STS-9439-AKennedy Space CenterMicrogravity Science Laboratory (MSL)- reflight
241997, November 19STS-8739-BKennedy Space CenterUnited States Microgravity Payload (USMP-4)
251998, April 13STS-9039-BKennedy Space CenterNeurolab – Spacelab
261999, July 23STS-9339-BKennedy Space CenterDeployed Chandra X-ray Observatory
272002, March 1STS-10939-AKennedy Space CenterHubble Space Telescope service mission (HSM-3B)
282003, January 16STS-10739-ADid not land (Planned to land at Kennedy Space Center)A multi-disciplinary microgravity and Earth science research mission. Shuttle destroyed during re-entry on February 1, 2003 and all seven astronauts on board killed.

Mission insignia[edit]

Mission insignia for Columbia flights
STS-5 mission insignia.png
Sts9 flight insignia.svg
STS-61-E (Mission was Canceled)
STS-32 patch.png
STS-107 Flight Insignia.svg
STS-118 patch new.png
STS-121 patch.png
STS-118 (Mission flown by Endeavour due to loss. See STS-107)
STS-121 (Mission flown by Discovery due to loss. See STS-107)

Final mission and destruction[edit]

The official crew photo of STS-107. From left to right: Brown, Husband, Clark, Chawla, Anderson, McCool, Ramon
Columbia memorial in Arlington National Cemetery

Columbia was destroyed at about 09:00 EST on February 1, 2003 while re-entering the atmosphere after a 16-day scientific mission. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board determined that a hole was punctured in the leading edge on one of Columbia's wings, made of a carbon composite. The hole had formed when a piece of insulating foam from the external fuel tank peeled off during the launch 16 days earlier and struck the shuttle's wing. During the intense heat of re-entry, hot gases penetrated the interior of the wing, destroying the support structure and causing the rest of the shuttle to break apart. The nearly 84,000 pieces of collected debris of the vessel are stored in a 16th floor office suite in the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center. The collection was opened to the media once and has since been open only to researchers.[11][12] Unlike Challenger, which had a replacement orbiter built, Columbia did not.

The seven crew members who died aboard this final mission were: Rick Husband, Commander; William C. McCool, Pilot; Michael P. Anderson, Payload Commander; David M. Brown, Mission Specialist 1; Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist 2; Laurel Clark, Mission Specialist 4; and Ilan Ramon, Payload Specialist 1.[13]


Although the debris field encompassed hundreds of miles across North East Texas and into Louisiana, the nose cap and remains of all seven crew members were found in the East Texas county of Sabine. To honor those who lost their lives aboard the shuttle and during the recovery, The Patricia Huffman Smith Museum; Remembering Columbia, was opened in Hemphill, Texas. The museum tells the story of space exploration from the first mission of Columbia to its last mission, STS-107. It also reveals the efforts of local citizens during the recovery of Columbia and its crew. An area is dedicated to each crew member that was lost in the tragedy, including the Texas Forest Service employee and the helicopter pilot who lost their lives during the recovery effort. The families of the crew have contributed personal items belonging to their loved ones for permanent display. The museum houses many items and artifacts from NASA and its contractors, the families of the STS-107 crew, as well as from other individuals. The museum will feature two simulator interactive devices that emulate activities of the shuttle and orbiter. The classroom for the digital learning center will provide opportunities for the advancement of education for people of all ages.

The shuttle's final crew was honored in 2003 when the USGS's Board of Geographic Names approved the name Columbia Point for a 13,980-foot (4,260 m) mountain in Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Mountains, less than a half-mile from Challenger Point, a peak named after America's other lost shuttle. The Columbia Hills on Mars were also named in honor of the crew, and a host of other memorials were dedicated in various forms.

Fans of the original Star Trek television series were largely responsible for NASA naming the first Space Shuttle Enterprise. In the television series Star Trek: Enterprise both the first and second starships of the human-built NX-Class, registry numbers NX-01 & NX-02 respectively, were named in honor of pre-existing NASA Space Shuttles. The second vessel's name was first revealed in the season 3 episode "" to be Columbia, in honor of the Space Shuttle Columbia following its destruction on February 1, 2003. The uniforms on NX-02 Columbia bear a crew patch depicting 7 stars, in honor of the astronauts who died in the accident.

The Deep Purple song "Contact Lost" on their 2003 album Bananas was dedicated to, and written for, the astronauts whose lives were lost in the disaster. Astronaut Kalpana Chawla, one of the victims of the crash, took three CDs into space with her, two of which were Deep Purple albums (Machine Head and Purpendicular). Both CDs survived both the shuttle destruction and the 39-mile plunge.[14] Chawla also traded e-mails with the band while in space, making the tragedy even more personal for the group.[15]

The musical group Echo's Children included singer-songwriter Cat Faber's "Columbia" on their final album "From the Hazel Tree." [16]

The Long Winters 2005 Album "Ultimatum" features the song "The Commander Thinks Aloud", a tribute to the final Columbia crew.[17]

The Eric Johnson instrumental "Columbia" from his 2005 album Bloom was written as a commemoration and tribute to the lives that were lost. Johnson said "I wanted to make it more of a positive message, a salute, a celebration rather than just concentrating on a few moments of tragedy, but instead the bigger picture of these brave people’s lives."[18]

The graphic novel Orbiter by Warren Ellis and Colleen Doran was dedicated to the "lives, memories and legacies of the seven astronauts lost on space shuttle Columbia during mission STS-107."

The Columbia supercomputer at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division located at Ames Research Center in California was named in honor of the crew lost in the 2003 disaster. Built as a joint effort between NASA and technical partners SGI and Intel in 2004, the supercomputer is used in scientific research of space, the Earth's climate, and aerodynamic design of space launch vehicles and aircraft.[19] The first part of the system, built in 2003, was dedicated to STS-107 astronaut and engineer Kalpana Chawla, who prior to joining the Space Shuttle program, worked at Ames Research Center.[20]

In popular culture[edit]

A restored Columbia was used in episode 19 ("Wild Horses") of the anime Cowboy Bebop to rescue Spike when his Swordfish enters a steep orbit and is going to burn up. The anime, made in 1998, predated the Columbia disaster by five years.[21]

The beginning of Kate Bush's song Hello Earth, from the Hounds of Love album, samples signals to and from Columbia during a re-entry during the early 1980s.

Homer Hickham's novel Back to the Moon is mostly set on Columbia. The structural differences between Columbia and the other shuttles is central to the plot.

In the finale of the first season of The West Wing, "What Kind of Day Has It Been", the Columbia does not land on schedule due to technical problems with a door mechanism. Toby Ziegler's brother is on board. The shuttle lands successfully by the end of the episode.

The rock band Rush wrote and recorded the song "Countdown" about the launch of STS-1. All three members of the group were present at the launch, and the credits of the album Signals dedicated the song to "the astronauts Young & Crippen and all the people of NASA for their inspiration and cooperation."

Similarly, guitarist Steve Morse of the rock band Deep Purple wrote the instrumental "Contact Lost" in response to the news of the tragedy, recorded by Deep Purple and featured as the closing track on the 2003 Deep Purple album "Bananas". Mission specialist Chawla, a fan of Deep Purple, had exchanged e-mails from "Columbia" with the band and had Deep Purple and Rainbow albums aboard the shuttle. Morse donated songwriting royalties to the families of lost astronauts.[22]

The short documentary 'Columbia's 28' premiered on YouTube in December 2012. It used the pop single 'Shine Ya Light' by Rita Ora to tell the story of Columbia's 28-mission career.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harwood, William (October 12, 2009). "STS-129/ISS-ULF3 Quick-Look Data". CBS News. Retrieved November 30, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Slovinac, Patricia; Deming, Joan. "Avionics Systems Laboratory/Building 16. Historical Documentation". NASA Technical Reports Server. NASA. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ "March 19, 1981: Shuttle Columbia's First Fatalities". Wired News. March 19, 2009. Retrieved July 29, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Space shuttle worker dies in fall at launch pad". MSNBC. March 14, 2011. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Shuttle Orbiter Columbia (OV-102)". NASA/KSC. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Orbiter Overhaul: The Columbia weight loss plan". Spaceflight Now. April 14, 2000. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Orbiter Overhaul: Flying into the future". Spaceflight Now. April 14, 2000. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  8. ^ Lardas, Mark (2012). Space Shuttle Launch System: 1972-2004. Osprey Publishing. p. 35. 
  9. ^ a b "Orbiter Thermal Protection System (PDF)". NASA's Kennedy Space Center Public Affairs Office. 2006. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Advanced Flexible Reusable Surface Insulation Blankets". NASA. April 7, 2002. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Shuttle Columbia's wreckage finds final resting place". New York Times. February 8, 2004. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Columbia's Arlington". Collect Space. February 1, 2004. 
  13. ^ [1]'s crew profiles page. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ NASA Unveils Its Newest, Most Powerful Supercomputer
  20. ^ NASA to Name Supercomputer After Columbia Astronaut
  21. ^ "ghostlightning" (March 14, 2012). "How to Do Nostalgia in a Badass Way: Cowboy Bebop 19 'Wild Horses'" (blog). We Remember Love. Wordpress. Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  22. ^ "Deep Purple's Shuttle Connection". Archived from the original on 2007-02-15. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  23. ^ Columbia's 28 on YouTube

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

External links[edit]