Ten years ago Friday, the shuttle Columbia crumbled to Earth after 16 days in the heavens.
As the shuttle passed over Texas en route to a routine landing in Florida, its left wing failed to withstand the heat of reentry. The craft burst into more than 83,000 pieces, showering the land below for hundreds of miles.
The seven astronauts aboard were killed: Air Force Col. Rick Husband, 45, the crew commander; Navy Cmdr. William McCool, 41, the pilot; Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Anderson, 43, payload commander; Navy Capt. Laurel Clark, 41; Navy Capt. David Brown, 46; Israeli Air Force Col. Ilan Ramon, 48, Israel’s first astronaut; and Kalpana Chawla, 41, a civilian.