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Space Shuttle Columbia 10th Anniversary Today; Texas Remembers
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- NASA will honor the seven astronauts who perished when the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed 10 years ago.
The space agency will mark the anniversary Friday at a public memorial service at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Speakers include Evelyn Husband Thompson, who was married to the shuttle's commander.
The accident on Feb. 1, 2003, killed six Americans and Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, Mission Commander Rick Husband, William McCool,
David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson and Laurel Clark.
They were returning home from a 16-day science mission when the shuttle disintegrated over Texas, just minutes from landing in Florida.
An investigation board later determined the cause was damage to the wing that occurred during liftoff. The shuttles were grounded for more than two years, and resumed flying with more safety features in place. The shuttles retired in 2011.
The North Texas university where Kalpana Chawla earned her master's degree in aerospace engineering marked the 10th anniversary of her death as part of the Space Shuttle Columbia crew.
The University of Texas at Arlington released biodegradable white balloons in Chawla's memory at 7:59 a.m. Friday, the moment when NASA Mission Control lost radio contact with the shuttle as it broke up over Texas.