‘Remembering Columbia’ Museum pays tribute to shuttle crew on anniversary of disaster

Updated: Feb. 1, 2021 at 10:56 AM CST
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SABINE COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - A small gathering was held Monday morning at the Patricia Huffman Smith NASA Museum Museum to remember and pay tribute to the lives lost in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster 18 years ago.

“This is a day of remembrance. Many people remember where we were or what we were doing when it occurred. It was a very dramatic day for NASA and in our community. So here we are 18 years later commemorating lives lost, those who were on the Columbia itself and those who died in the recovery effort. We’re here today to celebrate them but also mourn them,” said Steve Mills, master of ceremonies and board member for the Huffman Museum.

The tragedy on February 1, 2003 thrust East Texas into international headlines when the space shuttle broke apart in the sky on approach to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. An investigation later revealed that the shuttle was impacted by frozen foam on liftoff, which led to the vehicle breaking apart during re-entry 15 days later.

The STS-107 crew of seven astronauts perished in the accident. An investigation later revealed the shuttle was impacted by frozen foam on liftoff, which led to the vehicle to breaking apart during the re-entry phase 15 days later.

Each year since 2003, Sabine County has organized a memorial service to honor the lives of the fallen astronauts, as well as two volunteers who died in a helicopter crash during the search and recovery effort.

A moment of silence was held at the time NASA lost contact with STS-107, followed by a reading of the crew members’ names.

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