NASA marks 10 years since loss of Columbia, crew

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NASA marks 10 years since loss of Columbia, crewFILE - In this Jan. 2003 file photo, astronaut Rick D. Husband, mission commander of the space shuttle Columbia, is pictured on the aft flight deck. Husband and six crew members were lost when Columbia broke up during re-entry over north Texas on Feb. 1, 2003, . This picture was on a roll of unprocessed film recovered by searchers from the debris later, released by NASA on June 24, 2003. Ten years later, reminders of Columbia are everywhere, including up in the sky. Everything from asteroids, lunar craters and Martian hills, to schools, parks, streets and even an airport (Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport) bear the Columbia astronauts' names. Two years ago, a museum opened in Hemphill, Texas, where much of the Columbia wreckage rained down, dedicated to "remembering Columbia." About 84,000 pounds of that wreckage, representing 40 percent of NASA's oldest space shuttle, are stored at Kennedy and loaned for engineering research. (AP Photo/NASA)(Credit: AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — It’s a special day of remembrance for NASA.

Ten years ago, space shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts were lost. They were returning from a 16-day mission, and were just 16 minutes from home when the shuttle disintegrated on Feb. 1, 2003.

A few hundred people gathered at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on Friday morning to remember the Columbia seven. NASA officials joined family members, astronauts and schoolchildren for the outdoor ceremony.

The widow of Columbia’s commander told the crowd the accident was so unexpected and the shock so intense, that she could not cry at first. Evelyn Husband Thompson says the tears came “in waves and buckets” in the week, months and years that followed. She assured everyone, though, that healing is possible.

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