Five years ago on February 1 2003 the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart as it left orbit to return to Earth.
The shuttle had been damaged on it’s launch by a small piece of foam hitting the leading edge of the wing causing a gaping hole in the protective heat tiles.
7 Astronauts where killed which raised the number of Astronauts killed by the space shuttle program 14, not including the accidents that killed and maimed many of the people working on the program too.
But even with all of this, the Space shuttle is still one of my most favorite machines of the twentieth century.
Her beauty and sheer stupidity of design (only a group of scientests would come up with the a solution like the thousands of individual heat tiles, each a uniquely different shape that had to be painstakingly created) was stunning.
I used to wake at 3 in morning as a teenager to watch the space shuttles take off.
I still watch the shuttle launches and marvel at the power of that old lady of the sky the space shuttle.