It was 10 years ago today, 1 February 2003, that the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart on its way back to Earth. The STS-107 crew had spent 16 days in orbit and were just 16 minutes from landing when the accident tragically occurred.
This photograph survived on a roll of unprocessed film recovered from the accident. Bottom row (L to R): Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Rick D. Husband, mission commander; Laurel B. Clark, mission specialist, and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist. Top row (L to R): David M. Brown, mission specialist; William C. McCool, pilot, and Michael P. Anderson, payload commander.
On a trip to the USA in 2002, I attended a talk by astronaut and astronomer, John Grunsfeld. He was asked “why fly into space when the risks are so high?” and his reply has always stuck with me. It was pretty much “because it’s the most amazing thing to do.”
He went on to explain that while astronauts are fully aware of the risks involved – and they don't take them lightly – they are also certain that the benefits of what they are doing will lead to greater things for our future.
Today we remember the amazing men and women who have believed in the spirit of space exploration. I hope there will always be pioneers just like them, who are willing to push the limits of what’s possible and dream big for all of us.
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