CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami/AP) – It’s been a decade since seven astronauts aboard the space shuttle Columbia died in a fiery disaster over the state of Texas. NASA will honor those seven astronauts Friday to mark the 10th anniversary of the catastrophe.
The space agency will mark the anniversary Friday at a public memorial service at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Speakers include Evelyn Husband Thompson, who was married to the shuttle’s commander.
The accident on Feb. 1, 2003, killed six Americans and Israel’s first astronaut. The crew was 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 liftoff. The shuttles were grounded for more than two years, and resumed flying with more safety features in place.
The space shuttle program was retired for good in 2011. NASA lost two shuttles and 14 crew members to disasters during the history of the program.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)