In this Feb. 1, 2003 file photo, debris from the space shuttle Columbia streaks across the sky over Tyler, Texas. The Columbia broke apart in flames 200,000 feet over Texas on Saturday, killing all seven astronauts just minutes before they were to glide to a landing in Florida. 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/Scott Lieberman)
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA will honor the seven astronauts who perished when the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed 10 years ago.
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. They were 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 shuttles retired in 2011.