|THE CREW OF COLUMBIA|
February 1, 2003
|Seven astronauts died when the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart as it attempted to re-enter the atmosphere. The following are brief biographies of the five men and two women who served on board.|
Husband, Columbia Commander |
Commander Rick Husband, 45, was an Air Force colonel and former test pilot who was selected to become an astronaut in 1994, on his fourth attempt.
After completing a year of NASA training, Husband worked on space shuttle upgrades, the crew return vehicle and studies on possible travel to Mars. More recently, he served as chief of safety for the astronaut office.
In the spring of 1999, Husband completed a ten-day mission during which the crew performed the first docking with the International Space Station. That mission delivered supplies to prepare the for the arrival of the station's first resident crew.
Husband was born on July 12, 1957 in Amarillo, Texas. He graduated from Texas Tech University and received a master of science degree from California State University.
"It's been pretty much a lifelong dream and just a thrill to be able to get to actually live it out," he said in an interview before Columbia's launch, his second space flight.
William McCool, Columbia Pilot
Pilot William McCool, 41, was a Navy commander from Lubbock, Texas. He was married and the father of three sons, aged 22, 19 and 14. This was his first space flight.
Selected by NASA in April 1996, McCool then completed two years of training and evaluation. He has served as technical assistant to the director of flight crew operations has also worked on shuttle cockpit upgrade issues.
McCool was born on Sept. 23, 1961 in San Diego, California. He graduated second in his 1983 class at the Naval Academy and received master's degrees from the University of Maryland and the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.
Michael Anderson, Columbia Payload Commander
Payload commander Michael Anderson, 43, was flying for the Air Force when NASA chose him in 1994 as one of only a handful of African-American astronauts.
The lieutenant colonel was in charge of Columbia's dozens of science experiments. He lived in Spokane, Wash.
During his previous space mission, Anderson traveled to Russia's Mir space station during an eight day assignment.
Anderson graduated from the University of Washington and received a master's degree from Creighton University. His father was also in the Air Force.
In an interview, Anderson said he thought the benefits of space flights outweighed their risks.
"I take the risk because I think what we're doing is really important," he said. "If you look at this research flight and if you really take an opportunity to look at each experiment ... the potential yield that we have is really tremendous."
Kalpana Chawla, Columbia Mission Specialist
Kalpana Chawla, 41, emigrated to United States from India in 1980s and became an astronaut in 1994.
She graduated from Punjab Engineering College, India and received a master's of science degree from the University of Texas and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from University of Colorado.
She originally wanted to design aircraft, saying in an interview that the space program was the furthest thing from her mind.
"That would be too far-fetched," Chawla said. But "one thing led to another," and she was chosen to become astronaut after working at NASA's Ames Research Center and Overset Methods Inc. in Northern California.
David Brown, Columbia Mission Specialist
David Brown, 46, was a Navy captain, pilot and doctor. This was his first space flight.
Brown became an astronaut in 1996 and has worked in the astronaut response team responsible for orbiter cockpit setup, crew strap-in, and landing recovery.
Brown was born in Arlington, Va. on April 16, 1956. He graduated from the College of William and Mary and received a doctorate in medicine from Eastern Virginia Medical School.
When asked in a recent interview about the risks of flying in space, Brown, who was not married, said: "I made a decision that is part of my job, I would incur some real risk as a routine part of my job when I joined the Navy and started flying ... airplanes off of ships, particularly airplanes off of ships at night. And I think that was a decision that I made some years ago and the decision to go fly in space is just an extension of that."
Laurel Clark, Columbia Mission Specialist
Laurel Clark, 41, was a medical doctor from Racine, Wis. who was aboard her first shuttle mission. She has an eight year-old son.
Clark was previously a Navy diving medical officer aboard submarines, and was then a flight surgeon. NASA selected her to be an astronaut in 1996.
Ilan Ramon, Columbia Mission Specialist
Ilan Ramon, a colonel in Israel's air force, was his country's first astronaut. He lived in Tel Aviv with his wife and four children before moving to Houston in 1998 to train for a shuttle flight.
He became a national hero overnight, garnering front-page newspaper coverage. Israeli television stations carried live broadcasts of the Jan. 16 liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
His mother and grandmother survived the Auschwitz death camp during World War II, and his father was a Zionist who fought for Israel's statehood. Ilan Ramon also fought for his country, serving during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the Lebanon War in 1982.
"I was born in Israel as an Israeli, so I'm kind of a dream fulfillment for all this last-century generation," he said during an interview.
Ramon, 48, served as a fighter pilot during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, flying F-16s and F-4s. He was promoted in 1994 to lead Israel's department of operational requirement for weapon development and acquisition. He was selected to become his country's first astronaut in 1997.
While his death shocked
Israel, Ronit Federman, a friend of Ramon's since their high school days 30 years
ago, took comfort from e-mails she received from the astronaut during his flight.