Today In Aviation History – 2003 – Loss of STS-107

aviation history

2003 The Space Shuttle Columbia, OV-102, is lost as it reenters after a two-week mission, STS-107. Damage to the shuttle’s thermal protection system (TPS) leads to structural failure in the shuttle’s left wing and, ultimately, the spacecraft breaking apart as it decelerated over Texas. Investigations after the tragedy reveal the damage to the reinforced carbon-carbon leading edge wing panel had resulted from a piece of insulation foam breaking away from the external tank during the launch and hitting shuttle’s wing. Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel B. Clark and Ilan Ramon were killed.