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Amazing Grace

.Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found.
Was blind, but now I see. 

'Twas grace that taught my heart to feel
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed. 

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home

When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun.
Than when we first begun. 

Sung by: Lee Greenwood

"There is no better place to emphasize the unity of people in the world than flying in space. We are all the same people, we are all human beings, and I believe that most of us, almost all of us, are good people"
Ilan Ramon
Israel's First Astronaut
On Januray 16, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia was launched and was to spend 16 days in space on a science mission. On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded during what appeared to be re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.  NASA speculates that damage to thermal tiles during liftoff may be the cause of this explosion.

Aboard Columbia were five men and two women:

Rick Douglas Husband:  Born July 12, 1957, Rick was married and had two children.  Rick was a Colonel in the United States Air Force as well as a NASA Astronaut.

Michael P. Anderson: Born December 25, 1959, Michael was married.  Michael was a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force as well as a NASA Astronaut.

Laurel Clark: Born Born March 10, 1961 Laurel was married and had one child.  Laurel was a Commander in the United States Navy as well as a  NASA Astronaut.

William C. McCool: Born September 23, 1961, William was married. William was a Commander in the United States Navy as well as a NASA Astronaut.

Ilan Ramon: 48 years old, Ilan was married and had four children. Ilan was a Colonel in the Israeli Air Force as well as a NASA Astronaut.

Kalpana Chawla: : Born January 7, 1961, Kalpana was married and had no children. She had a PH D and was a NASA Astronaut.

David M Brown: Born April 16, 1956 David was not married and had no children.  David was a Captain in the United States Navy as well as a NASA Astronaut.

In God's Hands 

As the last friends wander home
having said all they could say
And for now you're left alone
when you settle down to pray

As night descends upon you
with the loss that you must face
It could be rather comforting
to think about a better place

As you bow your head in silence
for the ones who have gone home
Remember that you'll meet again
God's promised you won't be alone

As daytime turns to nighttime
and night becomes day again
shed no tears for the lost ones
who in your heart always remain

As you hold your head up high
when you're trying not to grieve
trust in God to help you see
that it was their time to leave

As you finally come to realize
that there were bigger plans
For those who will be missed
and now are in God's hands

Author: Sharon Schafer
February 3, 2003
For the families and friends of the crew of the shuttle Columbia.
May they all rest in peace.

The flags at the Washington Monument flew
at half-staff Saturday, February 1, 2003 to
honor the seven Astronauts.

A private meeting was held with the family members of the Astronauts on the day after the shuttle exploded, Sunday, February 2, 2003. Evelyn Husband, the wife of Rick Husband has this to say about the meeting:

''They are doing remarkably well. We've gotten strength from each 
other, and it was great to see them yesterday. We just cried and 
laughed and hugged each other, and it was very helpful.''

On the Today show, Monday morning, Evelyn read this statement:

"On January 16th we saw our loved ones launch into a brilliant, 
cloud-free sky. Their hearts were full of enthusiasm, pride in country, 
faith in their God and a willingness to accept risk in the pursuit of 
knowledge - knowledge that might improve the quality of life for 
all mankind. 'Although we grieve deeply, as do the families of 
Apollo I and Challenger before us, the bold exploration of space must 
go on. Once the root cause of this tragedy is found and corrected, the 
legacy of Columbia must carry on for the benefit of our children 
and yours.''

Comments from the astronauts

Rick Husband - Rick had decided as a young child that he wanted to be an astronaut:

"It's been pretty much a lifelong dream and just a thrill to be able to get to 
actually live it out"

Michael Anderson - "I take the risk because I think what we're doing is really important. 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. For me, it's the fact that what I'm doing can have great 
consequences and great benefits for everyone, for mankind"

Kalpana Chawla - When first becoming an astronaut in 1994, she wanted to build aircraft, the space program had not entered her mind.  She stated:

"That would be too far-fetched''

David Brown - When he was asked about the risk of space travel he has this to say: 

"I made a decision that is part of my job, I would incur some real risk as a r
outine 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 t
hink 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

"I think my family has a fairly practical and pragmatic view of this whole t
hing, and that's that the actual launching into space is much more 
dangerous than any of the other security concerns. There's a lot of 
different things that we do during life that could potentially harm us and 
I choose not to stop doing those things"

Ilan Ramon - When asked if he was nervous or afraid he had this to say:

"I think the only thing that will worry me is the launch sequence and the s
ystems and the launch, being launched on time. The tenseness is there 
because everybody wants to be launched on time with no failures. That's it. 
Once you're there, you're there''

Comments from others about the astronauts

Michael Anderson

Michael's mother had this to say:

'He told me some years ago the word 'can't' should be taken out of the dictionary because there wasn't nothing that can't be done,''

Reverend Simmons from Michael's family church has this to say:

''He was a young man who would always think deep,
He never said much. ... He would listen to what I said, 
especially scientific things.''

Laurel Clark

Laurel's brother had this to say:

"She was my big sister. Heroes to me are something other, 
something big. All of them are heroes. They were 
serving humanity.''

Laurel's mother had this to say:

''She loved to take hikes be outdoors,'her favorite thing to do 
at home was taking care of her flowers. She worried about 
them not getting watered when she was away.''

Reverend Tony Larson read from one of Laurel's final e-mails sent from the
space shuttle Columbia where she told of looking at the earth and finding it
to be "truly awe-inspiring.''

Rick Husband

One of Ricks Professors had this to say:

''If you just wanted an all-American boy, that was Rick''

Dr. Thomas Burton, director of the engineering department, had this to say:

''He was just a wonderful guy,He was famous around here, 
regarded as a hero, but he never let it affect him. 
He was always low-key and unassuming"

Ilan Ramon

Ilan's wife had this to say:

"He was such an optimist that he didn't even write a will.
He thought it was unnecessary"

Ilan's wife said that during lift off, her five
year old daughter didn't seem to be celebrating
like those around her, she simply said 
''I lost my Daddy.'' ''Apparently she knew'' 

William McCool

William's Father had this to say:

"There's nothing that can prepare you for the loss of 
a son or a daughter''

Williams Mother had this to say:

''He had a great smile; he had a great personality to go with 
that smile. He was outgoing, upbeat, always positive''

Witnesses said:

Doug Ruby and his father were on their way to go fishing when when 
they saw the shuttle explode:
"It was right at 8 a.m. We saw it coming across the sky real bright and shiny and all in one piece. We thought it was the sun shining off an airplane. Then it broke up in about six pieces, they were all balls of fire, before it went over the tree line''

Patricia Hernandez saw 
"fire in the sky, like the sky was falling"

Chris Linville was working when he took a break to go outside and
watch the shuttle:
"We went outside to see if it was landing. We saw a streak going across
the sky. From the viewpoint we had, we did see some flames. We knew
it was flying over, and we were actually looking for the shuttle passing
by. We had no idea''

While taking a walk, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
"heard this boom, which I thought was the breaking of the sound 
barrier. It's a shock and it just brings home to you that when we are 
exploring in space and pushing the envelope that we can't be 100 
percent accurate''

All pictures, comments and infomation collected from the internet
and from various news stories are used here for education purposes
only and are copyrighted to their owners.


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