Nasa marks decade since Columbia loss

2013-02-01 14:00

((James Nielsen, AFP))

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Cape Canaveral, Florida – Nasa will honour the seven astronauts who perished when the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed 10 years ago.

The space agency will mark the anniversary Friday at a public memorial service at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Speakers include Evelyn Husband Thompson, who was married to the shuttle's commander.

The accident on 1 February 2003 killed six Americans and Israel's first astronaut. They were returning home from a 16-day science mission when the shuttle disintegrated over Texas, just minutes from landing in Florida.

An investigation board later determined the cause was damage to the wing that occurred during lift-off. The shuttles were grounded for more than two years, and resumed flying with more safety features in place. The shuttles retired in 2011.

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