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Columbia: The oldest of US shuttles

February 02, 2003 01:22 IST

The Columbia, which broke-up over Texas on Saturday, killing Indian America Kalpana Chawla and six other astronauts, was the oldest member of the US space fleet.

Its maiden voyage was in 1981 and the last, which commenced on January 16, was its 28th trip into space.

The original Columbia was a sloop out of Boston, Massachusetts, which was captained by Robert Gray, who was the first American to go around the world in the 18th century.

The first US navy ship to circle the globe was also baptised Columbia, and so was the command module of Apollo 11, the first mission to the moon.

Four shuttles joined Columbia: The Challenger [1982], Discovery [1983], Atlantis [1985], and the Endeavour [1991].

The last one replaced the Challenger, which blew up in 1986, killing all seven astronauts on board.

Following the loss of the Challenger, NASA made around 200 modifications in the other shuttles before flights resumed in 1988.

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Number of User Comments: 11

Sub: Cause of the accident

It seems the space shuttle was the cause of the accident.

Posted by Tsunami

Sub: what happened to Columbia

The shuttle may have crashed because of age and it hit the atnosphere the wrong way

Posted by Morgan

Sub: Columbia and Chawla

First things first. The allegedly "primitive" Russian Soyuz craft have an infinitely superior record to the shuttle and is far more economical to boot. Also ...

Posted by Bill Purkayastha

Sub: Little Prevention and attention

Little preventive steps and attention after detection 0f a piece of insulating foam from the liquid fuel tank which had broken off and struck the ...

Posted by Amit Raman Jha

Sub: Columbia: The oldest...

Why not wait until accurate information is available, if there will be any, before making conjectures on the cause(s) of the crash? Typically, traject events ...

Posted by Jerry Miller


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