Friday, January 16, 2009

Mission STS 107

"This day has brought terrible news and great sadness to our country ... The Columbia is lost; there are no survivors."

US President, George W. Bush, 14:04 EST, February 1, 2003

At 10:39 EST, on 16 January 2003, 6 years ago, Space Shuttle Columbia was launched from Launch Complex 39A of the Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Florida.


Designated STS107 and comprising 7 astronauts including Kalpana Chawla, Columbia embarked on what was a 16 day multi-disciplinary microgravity and Earth science research mission with a multitude of international scientific investigation programs on-board. Tragically, the Columbia and its passengers never returned, disintegrating upon re-entry on February 1, 2003.

Commander Rick Husband, Pilot William McCool, Mission Specialist David Brown, Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla, Payload Commander & Mission Specialist Michael Anderson, Mission Specialist Laurel Clark and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon lost their lives in the tragedy.

February 1, 2003, I remember was an unusually cold day in Ooty. I had returned from an evening walk at about 8pm and lost no time cuddling up in a warm blanket in front of the television when BBC brought up the story and the video showing the burning space shuttle over Texas. I was in shock and yelled for my folks to come to the television. Today, 6 years later I remember these souls along with the track that was used to pay tributes to them, sung in 2001 by Josh Groban, titled To Where you are!

Who can say for certain, Maybe you're still here, I feel you all around me, Your memory, so clear

Josh Groban - To Where you are

Footnotes:

Image Courtesy: NASA, STS-107 Shuttle Mission Imagery

Spaceflight now: Re-entry Conversation Transcripts

26 comments:

  1. That was a tragic day indeed. I do remember it clearly,, how the kids came rushing to the TV when they heard, and the collective shock at school.

    A fine tribute too, to remember the day. And them.

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  2. It was by far one of the most tragic lost for our country

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  3. I find all this ga-ga over these space researchers SO FUNNY in this world where millions die is WAR and POVERTY!

    Yet, let all deaths be acknowledged and bereaved.

    & their life and dreams remembered..

    wishes,
    devika

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  4. Dude...my first here...shall be here often..

    Yeah!!! That was a sad for all Indians!!!

    A perfect ode!!

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  5. Forgive me for asking this, but was not Kalpana an US citizen. Did she not go to space as it was her dream? I mean, I fail to get her contribution to India. I mean, ISRO did not send her to space, and she thought that since she cannot do it here, she might as well go to the US and do it there. I mean, if she went to the moon, and planted the Indian flag there, I still cannot understand how she contributed to our country. Do not get me wrong here, but I think that her contribution to India as a country is ZILCH and I have to agree with Devika, her loss is meant to be mourned as a loss of a human being, nothing else.
    If you are saying that she was a shining star for India, please, I beg of you to show me how India improved, what was the change that she brought about!

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  6. Ask Aditya ask :)

    I wanted to say all that you said..BUT if I say, the effect is going to be ddiferent...

    So, thanks Aditya for that comment..you spoke for me too..

    One shouldn't be mocking what the media presents, Rak...

    Think, think and Think -- all in one go and then synthesise thoughts...

    People only pursue their own dreams, not of the country of nation...When so many divisive forces rule, its hard to pursue a 'national dream.' :)

    love,
    devika

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  7. indeed a sad day in the history of man's adventures in space...

    @devika's comment
    "I find all this ga-ga over these space researchers SO FUNNY "
    I think that was going a bit too far. To even think that the men who has done so much painstaking research and risked their lives to develop new technologies which could change our lives for the better, dint contribute anything to mankind is blasphemy. yes, when compared with the case of people losing their lives to poverty and war, it may look so useless..But just because of that we can never discount the immense contributions these people have done to us..

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  8. I understand and appreciate what you say Rakesh, Not Rakesh Vanamali, but the previous commentator

    But i stand by what I said -- I would still choose to live in the bullock cart era with people sharing the resources on earth equally..

    than a few ones exploiting wealth to better their lives, pursuing their dreams and in their course of research offering us the possibilities of space science and technologies

    But yeah, given the state of things..I too benefit from the research they did...and I pay my reverence to them...

    But NOT as I pay my tribute to many who bettered the lives of many others through their 'decided' sacrifice and not losing lives by 'accidents' arising from their actions or destiny...

    Thats what i find funny about...

    wishes,
    devika

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  9. oh sorry, that was Praveen to whom I responded...

    Don't know what made me read as Rakesh...sorry Praven. :)

    wishes,
    devika

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  10. Do visit here to pick up a something I have for you :)

    Shall come back to this later :) For now, do accept my thanks again, and congratulations too!

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  11. Dear Raku,

    I would go with devika ma’m and aditya in this, I do have a great respect for Kalpana, for she told in one of her interviews, that she was born for the world and it’s not in her to live in one corner of the earth, Her death is a great loss to her family n friends and of course to every good Samaritan people on the earth! But making it as the greatest or a greater loss to India as what media did is, indeed ignorantly stupid. She can be an inspiration for an individual but certainly cannot be a NATIONAL STAR… and going by Devika mam’s words

    (sorry It may sound pessimistic) And over-simplifying it! Why worry when someone died doing something they loved to do… As how Erma Bombeck puts, “ I want to die, doing something I love to do.”

    “People only pursue their own dreams, not of the country of nation...When so many divisive forces rule, its hard to pursue a 'national dream.' :)”

    Yeah. when everyone (call it society or nation) painstakingly place/give obstacles in one’s achievement of dreams, It’s always the individual who aspires/inspires.. and there can be NOTHING national….

    I REMEMBER reading your article … Why FREEDOM in 1947 was a disaster to India… You yourself have explained things in that! It’s quite difficult to bring oneness by ignoring/eroding many others.. I DON BELIEVE in UNITY in DIVERSITY… sorry!!!! Why strive for unity by killing the diversity…

    And this is my own humble opinion… NO OFFENCE meant to you or anyone… Take care and Indeed a thought-provoking post bro….

    Love,
    Barath

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  12. You wouldnt believe(becuz very few did when I told them), I dreamt this disaster 5 days before the actual incident. and I felt terrible when it happened; shell shocked! It had never happened to me before and it never happened after that too ! A great loss indeed !

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  13. Satheesh

    Yes, quite a tragedy indeed!

    Rakesh

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  14. Usha Ma'am

    True! The memories are very vivid even till this day!

    Thanks very much for the awards and the kind mention! Greatly appreciate it!

    Rakesh

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  15. Rakesh

    This is perhaps a tragedy to humanity, not just any nation or agency!

    Rakesh

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  16. Devika Ma'am

    While I respect your views, I do not concur one bit!

    Firstly, I dont see anything funny in condoling the lives of people who were lost in a tragedy and that does not mean that the lives of people lost in war or disease are ignored!

    Two, for me, people are quite the same irrespective of their caste, creed, nationality, social status and so on and hence, to condole the death of a person of another nationality does not mean that I have ignored a fellow citizen!

    One cannot ignore the magnitude of the tragedy such as what happened to the columbia and lie back and say "its not for me to pay tribute because I am not associated with the incident/nation."

    We are World Citizens, as rightly said by H.H. Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati and to condole the death of a fello human being is no crime or people-pleasing

    Thanks for your comments, as always!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  18. Aditya

    I'll respond to your comments, part by part!

    Does Kalpana having been a US Citizen necessarily mean that I do not condole hear death?

    Does Kalpana having died pursuing her dream necessarily mean that I do not condole hear death?

    Should I condole the death of only those people who have made a contribution to India?

    Would She as a person, be any different if she was sent to space by ISRO and not NASA?

    Why do we have to measure her contribution to India? For me, she is the shining example of an Indian who made it an American endeavour come true!

    Her contribution to India might be Zilch, but that to the United States was in multitudes... Dont you feel proud that an Indian made the US proud?

    I have not made her anything more than a human being, but I have certainly highlighted the extraordinary zeal that some jingoistic nationalists lack!

    I have not said that she is a shining star of India, for I very well know that she belonged to the US and endeavoured to make a dream come true for her country, but that does not prevent me from paying my tributes (unless, I am one of those silly jingoistic losers, which I certainly am not)

    Lastly, and most importantly, why must we as a people always surf the under current to verify if a person worthy of an applause and recognition is a fellow citizen?

    Can we not whole heartedly feel for another fellow-human of another country? Is it a crime to honour the dead of another nation!

    I am reminded of the times of Achilles and Priam, when during war, even the most bitter enemies ceased hostilities for a brief while to pay homage the those dead at the rival camps!

    Today, in this age of democracy and freedom, do we still have to hagger that since a person does not belong to our nation, that person shall not be accorded tribute?

    It is a shame!

    Meanwhile, I do understand that you have a right to your views!

    Thanks for your comments, which make me see a shade of people unseen before! No disrespects!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  19. Deepak

    Yes, the Columbia tragedy is one that cannot be forgotten, for its magnitude, for its loss and for its legacy!

    Rakesh

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  20. Praveen

    Yes, it was a very sad day indeed!

    Do read thru my response to Aditya, in which I have summed up quite well!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  21. Bharath

    I do respect your views completely and understand that you are entitled to them!

    However, let me ask you the same questions that I have asked Aditya,

    Does Kalpana having been a US Citizen necessarily mean that I do not condole hear death?

    Does Kalpana having died pursuing her dream necessarily mean that I do not condole hear death?

    Should I condole the death of only those people who have made a contribution to India?

    Would She as a person, be any different if she was sent to space by ISRO and not NASA?

    Why do we have to measure her contribution to India? For me, she is the shining example of an Indian who made it an American endeavour come true!

    Her contribution to India might be Zilch, but that to the United States was in multitudes... Dont you feel proud that an Indian made the US proud?

    I have not made her anything more than a human being, but I have certainly highlighted the extraordinary zeal that some jingoistic nationalists lack!

    I have not said that she is a shining star of India, for I very well know that she belonged to the US and endeavoured to make a dream come true for her country, but that does not prevent me from paying my tributes (unless, I am one of those silly jingoistic losers, which I certainly am not)

    Lastly, and most importantly, why must we as a people always surf the under current to verify if a person worthy of an applause and recognition is an Indian?

    Can we not whole heartedly feel for another fellow-human of another country? Is it a crime to honour the dead of another nation!

    I am reminded of the times of Achilles and Priam, when during war, even the most bitter enemies ceased hostilities for a brief while to pay homage the those dead at the rival camps!

    Today, in this age of democracy and freedom, do we still have to hagger that since a person does not belong to our nation, that person shall not be accorded tribute?

    Do respond!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  22. Dear Rak,

    I appreciate your views very much. I have said this, if you would note:

    "Yet, let all deaths be acknowledged and bereaved.

    & their life and dreams remembered.."

    I have clearly mentioned in that and subsequent comments why I find it funny about "yelling" before the TV...

    Well, you have a right to do it, as I have a right to express my opinion.

    I understand your reaction.

    wishes,
    devika

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  23. Vimmuuu

    ESP is a gift! You should fine tune yourself to be a better receipient! I can understand how freaked you must have been when the whole incident happened!
    Indeed a tragic loss!

    Rakesh

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  24. Rajesh

    Welcome to my space! Thanks for your visit and comments!

    Indeed a sad day for the world at large!

    Do keep coming often!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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