shravya | On 02, Feb 2013
A memorial service was held at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to mark the 10th anniversary of Columbia disaster. World lost 7 astronauts on that fateful day in 2003, when the space shuttle burned up in the atmosphere over Texas after a 16-day mission. Wayne Hale, who went on to become space shuttle programme manager, has written in his blog-post that NASA chiefs decided not to tell the crew that they might die on re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere.
The mission control suspected the shuttle’s heat shield had been damaged but the crew had no way of repairing it. Even with a rescue plan they was no hope for them as they would run out of oxygen. He said flight director Jon Harpold told him: “You know, there is nothing we can do about damage. Don’t you think it would be better for them to have a happy successful flight and die unexpectedly during entry than to stay on orbit, knowing that there was nothing to be done, until the air ran out?”
An investigation into the disaster later revealed a piece of foam had torn off and left a hole in the protective tiles on the wing which resulted in the death of seven astronuts – Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Michael Anderson, William McCool and Ilan Ramon.