This Day in History
Launch of Space Shuttle Columbia

Tragedy Strikes Space Shuttle Columbia
February 1, 2003

On this day in 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates 40 miles above earth, just 15 minutes before its scheduled landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. All astronauts aboard were killed – commander Rick D. Husband, pilot William C. McCool, payload commander Michael P. Anderson, mission specialists David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla and Laurel Clark, and Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon.

This painting by Mort Künstler shows the first launch of the Columbia on April 12, 1981.

March's Archived Features:

Monday March 1, 2021
Tuesday March 2, 2021



All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.