Saturday, 3 February 2007

OV-102, may she rest in peace

And from the I can't believe I nearly forgot to post about it files comes some thing that is very dear to me.

February 1 2003 (Thursday was the 4th aniversary) the space shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry killing all seven astronauts aboard.

I have always felt a special bond with the space race and Columbia in particular since my birthday falls on Cosmonaut's Day (April 12), which is the anniversary of the first manned space mission Vostok 1 (1961) in which Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. And what does that have to do with Columbia, on the 2oth aniversary of Vostok 1, STS-1 the first orbital test flight of the space shuttle was launched. So Columbia (OV-102) with two people on board was launched on my first birthday (1981). Of course I was only one and didn't really register such things, but looking back on it well I thought it was cool and special (ok I really am a nerd aren't I - but is that really such a bad thing) and that Columbia was my shuttle.

Also the STS107 mission was a science mission and one of the experiments was using the Isreali Dust storms Experiment camera to try to take picture of Red Sprites (to put it simply a form of upwards lightning) and to help orient themselves on the storms the made use of the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN - pronounced "woollen" as in made of wool) which was started by a now retired member of my research group and is a project that we are still much involved in. So I hade multiple connections to this tragedy

So like I mentioned February 1 she broke up on re-entry, killing all seven of the crew, so if we could take a moment to remember Brown, Husband, Clark, Chawla, Anderson, McCool, Ramon. And please give me a moment to mourn my shuttle.