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A Statement from the Families of Space Shuttle Columbia

On January 16th, we saw our loved ones launch into a brilliant, cloud-free sky. Their hearts were full of enthusiasm, pride in country, faith in their God, and a willingness to accept risk in the pursuit of knowledge --- knowledge that might improve the quality of life for all mankind.

Columbia's 16-day mission of scientific discovery was a great success, cut short by mere minutes ---- yet it will live on forever in our memories. We want to thank the NASA family and people from around the world for their incredible outpouring of love and support.

Although we grieve deeply, as do the families of Apollo 1 and Challenger before us, the bold exploration of space must go on. Once the root cause of this tragedy is found and corrected, the legacy of Columbia must carry on --- for the benefit of our children and yours.

STS-107 crew in front of Columbia's hatch at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
The crew of STS-107: Kneeling in front are (left to right) Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon of Israel, Pilot William "Willie" McCool and Mission Specialist David Brown. Standing in back, left to right, are Mission Specialists Michael Anderson and Kalpana Chawla, Commander Rick Husband and Mission Specialist Laurel Clark.
Please take some time to read the many messages of sympathy in the Columbia Condolence Book.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 03/12/2003
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