On this day in 2003, Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates over Texas

On February 1st, 2003, during its descent to earth on mission STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates killing all seven astronauts on board. Heat shield tiles, which suffered damage during the shuttle’s launch, fail during reentry, allowing hot gases to enter the left wing and eventually cause it to break off, quickly leading to the destruction of the entire spacecraft.

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