STS-107 Fact Sheet

By Cliff Lethbridge

STS-107 – Columbia

113th Space Shuttle Mission

28th Flight of Columbia


Rick Husband, Commander

William McCool, Pilot

Michael Anderson, Payload Commander

Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist

David Brown, Mission Specialist

Laurel Clark, Mission Specialist

Ilan Ramon, Mission Specialist

Orbiter Preparations:

Tow to Orbiter Processing Facility – March 12, 2002

Rollover to Vehicle Assembly Building – November 20, 2002

Rollout to Launch Pad 39A – December 9, 2002


January 16, 2003 – 10:39 a.m. EST. Launch occurred on time with no delays.


Landing at the Kennedy Space Center was planned for 9:16 a.m. EST on February 1. Columbia and crew were lost at 9:00 a.m. EST over east Texas as the Shuttle burned up in the upper atmosphere.

Mission Summary:

The main payload was the SPACEHAB Research Double Module, a pressurized laboratory stored in Columbia’s cargo bay. The crew kept busy 24 hours a day on a variety of scientific investigations. Experiments included nine commercial payloads involving 21 separate investigations, four payloads for the European Space Agency involving 14 investigations, one payload for International Space Station (ISS) Risk Mitigation and 18 payloads supporting 23 investigations for NASA’s Office of Biological and Physical Research.

Even though Columbia was lost during re-entry, volumes of valuable science were achieved. A plethora of investigation results were transmitted from Columbia to the ground during the mission, and some experiments were recovered on the ground following the tragic accident.

A seven-month investigation followed Columbia’s loss. It was determined that insulating foam fell from the Shuttle’s External Tank (ET) during launch, striking the underside of Columbia and damaging a number of insulating tiles. About 38 percent of the dry weight of Columbia were recovered on the ground, allowing investigators to pinpoint the location of damage to the Shuttle’s underbelly. Two years of re-design of the ET followed the accident prior to return to flight.