Space Shuttle Columbia Disintegrates, Crew Lost

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Flight controllers in Mission Control secured all information, notes and data pertinent to today's entry and landing by Space Shuttle Columbia, methodically following contingency plans.

The loss of Columbia came almost 17 years to the day (January 28, 1986) after the explosion of the shuttle Challenger in Cape Canaveral, Florida. That shuttle blew up after only a minute into its flight, also killing all seven on board. NASA suspended its shuttle flights for three years after the accident, investigating the causes and improving safety margins before resuming piloted journeys into space.

Columbia was NASA's oldest shuttle and had flown 28 times in space.

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