Friday, September 25, 2015

Legacy of Space Shuttle Columbia

Space exploration changed the world. The sheer curiosity of human nature caused illumination in the minds of last century. The knowledge we gained from space made us to be humble and enlightened. 

The legendary space organization, NASA, had this idea of a re-usable transportation system to space very early in 1966. After successfully putting man in the moon and ending cold-war in 1969; NASA soon turned to the idea of Space Transportation System. 

The idea was to build a "space truck" which could be used to transport various components for both military and US Space station (later evolved into International Space Station). After years of struggle and hard work from the brightest minds; Space Shuttle Columbia took its first flight to space in 1981.

Space shuttles are the pinnacle of engineering craftsmanship. They are designed to sustain flight speeds of more than Mach 25 (More than 8 km/s). At such higher speeds, the air is heated to become an ionized plasma of gas. The space shuttle has thermal protection and other advanced system stopping it from melting away. With the additional fittings come additional weight and yet, the same shuttle has to glide when coming back to earth.

4 space ships took its wing to space: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery and Atlantis.Whether awaiting liftoff from Kennedy Space Center's launch pods or under going space-age upgrades, NASA's space shuttle orbiters were majestic in  appearance, intricate in design, and advanced in the possibilities they offered mankind in the exploration of our universe.

Space shuttle Columbia became one of the most iconic spacecraft in the world after its first flight. It was designed to operate for 10 years with 100 flights. Although, the delay in ISS assembly caused it fly for another decade until it met its doom.

 In 2003, Columbia and its 7 crew members met an unfortunate death when the shuttle was re-entering atmosphere. A thermal foam factor peeled of during launch, penetrating the leading edge of the wing. While re-entering the plasma gas gushed inside the wing, compromising the entire structure. The space shuttle was exploded into 84,000 pieces. It took many days to collect the debris of both the spacecraft and members. 

Columbia disaster remains one of the deadly tragedies in aviation history and will never be forgotten.

I take this opportunity to pay my respects to the deceased astronauts who left a mark in our world and hearts. 

This image of the STS-107 shuttle Columbia crew in orbit was recovered from wreckage inside an undeveloped film canister. The shirt colors indicate their mission shifts. From left (bottom row): Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Rick Husband, commander; Laurel Clark, mission specialist; and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist. From left (top row) are astronauts David Brown, mission specialist; William McCool, pilot; and Michael Anderson, payload commander. Ramon represents the Israeli Space Agency.
Credit: NASA/JSC

Remember that our life has a definite ending. When you face challenges in life, remember that you have what it takes to win. People have sacrificed their lives to make this world a better place. Respect that fact everyday. Let's believe in ourselves and push-on; because we are the mankind.

Thank You for reading. 

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