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Life Facts
Born:July 12, 1957
Amarillo, Texas
Died:Feb. 1, 2003
during re-entry of Space Shuttle Columbia
Space Agency:NASA
Astronaut Class:1995
Time in Space:26 days,
3 hours,
33 minutes
Education:1980, B.S., Texas Tech University.
1990, M.S., Cal. State University, Fresno
Military:U.S. Air Force, Colonel

Visit the Gallery to see photos of Commander Rick Husband and the STS-107 crew.
*STS-107 Tribute
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*Flight Day 11
*Flight Day 14
Wake-up Calls
*Flight Day 2 - "America, the Beautiful" by the Texas Elementary Honors Choir, with Husband's daughter, Laura.
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| Net Show | RealAudio
* Flight Day 6 - "God of Wonders" by Steve Green. (6.3 MB) .wav file | Net Show | RealAudio
*Flight Day 10 - "The Prayer" (4.2 MB) .wav file | Net Show | RealAudio
* Flight Day 14 - "Up on the Roof" by James Taylor.
(7.8 MB) .wav file
| Net Show | RealAudio
Related Links
*A Letter to America from the Columbia Crew Families
*Husband's Biography
*Husband's Preflight Interview
*Husband's STS-107 Menus
*STS-107 Science
*STS-107 Wake-up Calls
* STS-107 Ask the Crew Answers
Tree-Planting Ceremony
Tree-planting ceremony
Evelyn Husband, the wife of Columbia Astronaut Rick Husband, participates in a tree-planting ceremony at Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. Visit the Memorial Gallery for more images.
STS-107 Crew Memorial
Rick HusbandWilliam McCoolDavid BrownKalpana ChawlaMichael AndersonLaurel ClarkIlan Ramon

Rick Husband

U.S. Air Force Col. Rick Husband's childhood dream was to become an astronaut. He said that the early human space flight programs -- Mercury, Gemini and Apollo -- made an impression on him. "…watching the Moon landings and everything," he said, "it was just so incredibly adventurous and exciting to me that I just thought, 'There is no doubt in my mind that that's what I want to do when I grow up.'"

The Amarillo, Texas, native was born in 1957. Growing up in West Texas he developed an interest in flying. "I'd be out in my backyard playing," he said in a preflight crew interview. "And, any time I heard any kind of an airplane, you know, it's like, stop what you're doing and take a look and see, 'Where's that airplane? What kind is it? Where is it going? How high is it? How fast is it going?'"

Rick Husband

After graduating from Amarillo High School in 1975, Husband went to Texas Tech University where he received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1980. He was a member of the school's Air Force ROTC, which culminated with a commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force.

Remembering Apollo 1 and Challenger
On Jan. 28, 2003, STS-107 Commander Rick Husband and his crew took a moment to remember the crews of Apollo 1 and Space Shuttle Challenger. The Apollo 1 crew died in a fire on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Jan. 27, 1967. The crew of STS-51L was lost on Jan. 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff.
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While at Texas Tech, he sent a letter to NASA asking about requirements to become an astronaut. "I got a package back, and it told about the pilots and the mission specialists and the requirements that were necessary," he said. "And so, that kind of laid the pathway for what I needed to do if I wanted to be a pilot-astronaut."

During his tenure in the Air Force, Husband logged more than 3,800 hours of flight time in more than 40 different types of aircraft and served as a flight instructor and a test pilot. He also earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1990 from California State University, Fresno.

After applying four times and being interviewed twice, NASA selected Husband as an astronaut candidate in December 1994. He reported to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, in March 1995.

"And so, it was the achievement of a lifelong dream and a goal," he said. "And, it's very humbling, I'd say, and exciting at the same time to be able to actually go and do the kind of thing that I'd wanted to do and the thing that I had looked forward to doing for such a long time."

His first space flight occurred in May and June 1999 when he served as pilot for the 10-day STS-96 mission. That was the first time that a space shuttle docked with the International Space Station.

Husband was commander of his second trip to space, STS-107 -- a mission devoted to research. The seven-member STS-107 crew conducted more than 80 experiments during its 16 days in space.

Rick Husband feature video

STS-107 was the second trip to space for Commander Rick Husband, who had previously piloted the first shuttle mission to dock with the International Space Station. This feature video was produced before STS-107 launched on Jan. 16, 2003.

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#Netshow Video - 28K / 56K
#RealVideo - 28K / 56K

Husband and the STS-107 crew died on Feb. 1, 2003, over north central Texas during Space Shuttle Columbia's re-entry. Columbia was only about 16 minutes away from landing in Florida.

Husband was respected by his peers in the astronaut corps. Astronaut Office Chief Kent Rominger was the commander of Husband's first mission. During a memorial ceremony at Johnson Space Center on Feb. 4, 2003, he said that Husband was a great leader.

"Rick was a terrific human being and a great leader," Rominger said. "... He molded seven individuals from different parts of the world with diverse backgrounds, various religious beliefs, into an incredibly tight-knit and productive family."

In his life outside of NASA, Husband was known for his love for his family and his religious faith. He leaves behind his wife and two children. Prior to STS-107 he was asked in an interview what was the most memorable experience outside of his astronaut career.

"Well, I think apart from NASA," Husband said, "the most enjoyable part of my life has been my time with my family."

One of Husband's hobbies was singing. He sang most of his life: beginning as member in the church choir as a kid, to singing in the Texas Tech choir and as a member of the choir in his church in the Houston area.

President George W. Bush best summed up Husband's life during the memorial service.

"Rick Husband was a boy of four when he first thought of being an astronaut," Bush said. "As a man and having become an astronaut, he found it was even more important to love his family and serve his Lord."

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 12/03/2004
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