SABINE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia is being remembered 15 years after it broke apart over East Texas.
On February 1, the Sabine County Columbia Memorial Committee and the Patricia Huffman Smith NASA Museum will pay tribute to the seven astronauts who perished aboard STS-107 in 2003 and the two volunteers who lost their lives in the recovery effort.
A memorial program at First Baptist Church in Hemphill will begin at 7:45 a.m. The public is invited to attend the free event. Family members of the crew and several NASA representatives are expected to be in attendance.
At 9:30 a.m., area students will compete in the inaugural Columbia Museum Robotics Competition, held at the Patricia Huffman Smith NASA Museum - Remembering Columbia. This event is sponsored through a grant from the Thomas L. Keller Grant Program administered by the T.L.L. Temple Foundation.
Authors Mike Leinbach and Jonathan Ward will hold a book signing in the museum at 10:00 a.m. for their newly released book, 'Bringing Columbia Home.'
At 1:00 pm., the NASA Museum will host a viewing of the short film 'Of Good Courage.'
Dr. Ellen Ochoa, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center and the first Hispanic female astronaut, will serve as a guest speaker, along with Gerald Schumann, who manages NASA's Institutional Safety and Mishap Investigation/Prevention Program.
Throughout the day in the auditorium, NASA personnel and other guest speakers will deliver presentations and sign autographs.
The Patricia Huffman Smith NASA Museum, which is also marking its 7th anniversary, is located at 375 Sabine Street in Hemphill.