Thursday, February 01, 2007

Where were you on February 1, 2003?

The morning the accident happened, I was driving from College Station, TX. to Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. Family and friends were calling me as they knew I was supporting the mission.

I, along with other co-workers from the Spacecraft Technology Center at Texas A&M, were supporting the payload operations of StarNav I. StarNAV I was a star-tracker experiment built by STC at Texas A&M onboard Columbia's SpaceHab payload module.

About three days prior to the end of mission, we had finished receiving all the data we needed during the mission and were able to go back home to College Station. The next time we needed to go back to JSC was during landing to pick up our stuff. When I was driving back to Houston, I thought I was going to pick up our binders, computers, and other belongings. As I arrived at Johnson Space Center, there were balloons and flowers at the front gate from locals who were impacted from the accident. As I walked through the halls at JSC, it was quiet. The JSC community was sad, disappointed, and mourning the loss of 7 friends.

We were unable to take any of our belongings with us. We had to back-up our data on CDs and then our data and hardware were confiscated. We were able to retrieve everything at a later date once the investigation was underway.

You can view the 13 minutes of flight deck audio and video recovered before the tragedy occurred: Click HERE

The 28th and final flight of Columbia (STS-107) was a 16-day mission dedicated to research in physical, life, and space sciences. The seven astronauts aboard Columbia worked 24 hours a day, in two alternating shifts, successfully conducting approximately 80 separate experiments. On February 1, 2003, Columbia and its crew were lost over the southern United States during the spacecraft's re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

1 comment:

mark_smith said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. It was a sad day in human space exploration.