Black Bunting

"We join the United States Of America, India and Israel in expressing our sympathy and support for the families and friends suffering in the wake of our national tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as well."

In Memorium
Flag at half-mast Space Shuttle Columbia Crew Flag at half-mast
Crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia
David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark,
Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson,
William McCool, Ilan Ramon
  February 1, 2003

Bush Leads Nation In Mourning

Bush and Familes Photo

For the second time with only two years in office, a young President and his wife lead the Nation and World in mourning. Bush President Bush bows his head in prayer with family members of the deceased astronauts during a memorial service Feb. 4 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. With Bush, center, are, from left to right, Christopher McCool, the son of pilot William McCool; Christopher's brother Sean (obscured); Lani McCool, the pilot's widow; Evelyn Husband, widow of mission commander Rick Husband; her daughter, Laura, and son, Matthew. (More Below)

Sun Pillar Launch
On January 16, NASA's space shuttle Columbia roared into blue morning skies above Kennedy Space Center on STS-107, the first shuttle mission of 2003. But this is not a picture of that launch! It was taken on the morning of January 16 though, at sunrise, looking eastward toward Lake Ontario from just outside of Caledon, Ontario, Canada. In the picture a sun pillar, sunlight reflecting from ice crystals gently falling through the cold air, seems to shoot above the fiery Sun still low on the horizon. By chance, fog and clouds forming over the relatively warm lake look like billowing smoke from a rocket's exhaust plume and complete the launch illusion. Amateur photographer Lauri Kangas stopped on his way to work to record the eye-catching sun pillar launch.

President Bush’s Statement To Nation

‘The Columbia’s Lost. There Are No Survivors.’

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 — My fellow Americans. This day has brought terrible news and great sadness to our country. At 9:00 this morning Mission Control in Houston lost contact with our space shuttle Columbia. A short time later debris was seen falling from the skies above Texas.

The Columbia’s lost. There are no survivors.

On board was a crew of seven: Colonel Rick Husband, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Anderson, Commander Laurel Clark, Captain David Brown, Commander William McCool, Dr. Kalpana Chawla and Ilan Ramon, a colonel in the Israeli Air Force. These men and women assumed great risk in a service to all humanity.p> In an age when space flight has come to seem almost routine, it is easy to overlook the danger of travel by rocket and the difficulties of navigating the fierce out atmosphere of the earth. These astronauts knew the dangers and they faced them willingly, knowing they had a high and noble purpose in life. Because of their courage and daring and idealism, we will miss them all the more.

All Americans today are thinking as well of the families of these men and women who have been given this sudden shock and grief. You’re not alone. Our entire nation grieves with you, and those you love will always have the respect and gratitude of this country. The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on. In the skies today we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther than we can see, there’s comfort and hope. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens who created all these. He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them, each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. The same creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to earth, yet we can pray that all are safely home.

May God bless the grieving families and may God continue to bless America.

Statement from the families of STS-107

On January 16th, we saw our loved ones launch into a brilliant, cloud-free sky. Their hearts were full of enthusiasm, pride in country, faith in their God, and a willingness to accept risk in the pursuit of knowledge --- knowledge that might improve the qality of life for all mankind. Columbia's 16-day mission of scientific discovery was a great success, cut short by mere minutes ---- yet it will live on forever in our memories. We want to thank the NASA family and people from around the world for their incredible outpouring of love and support. Although we grieve deeply, as do the families of Apollo 1 and Challenger before us, the bold exploration of space must go on. Once the root cause of this tragedy is found and corrected, the legacy of Columbia must carry on --- for the benefit of our children and yours.