Columbia Space Shuttle Explosion - Preface

Columbia Space Shuttle Explosion (Illustration) American History American Presidents Disasters STEM Aviation & Space Exploration Famous Historical Events Social Studies

The Launch of STS-1, Space Shuttle Columbia.  Photo online courtesy Wikimedia Commons. 


It's gone.
There are no survivors.

President George W. Bush 
February 1, 2003


Ronald Reagan, a survivor of John Hinkley’s bullet, studied the television screen as Columbia - America’s first shuttle - blasted into space. It was April 12, 1981. The President had been shot two weeks before (on March 30, 1981 - barely two months after taking office) and was recovering in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House.

In 2001, as Mr. Reagan battled the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease, NASA celebrated the 20th anniversary of that historic first flight. Although the oldest shuttle in the fleet, Columbia (OV-102) had been refitted. She would soon be ready for another mission - STS 107 - which was delayed until January 16, 2003.

This time, however the shuttle would fly without a robotic arm onboard. This time, there would be no space walks. This time, the mission was completely dedicated to scientific experiments.

And this time, an American Space Transportation System would fail to successfully re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 4279stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: Apr 27, 2015

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Columbia Space Shuttle Explosion" Feb 01, 2003. Dec 02, 2015.
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