Thinking about these folks today …
It’s nine years since Columbia fell from the sky, ending the lives of Kalpana Chawla, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Ilan Ramon, David Brown, William McCool and Michael Anderson.
The accident also ultimately led to the end of the shuttle program, as the investigation team went beyond finding out what doomed Columbia — foam falling off the fuel tank during launch — and made recommendations for the program’s future.
The final flight last year fell during President Obama’s watch, but it was the result of a decision made during the previous administration that sealed the shuttle’s fate and landed America where it is today — without the means to fly people in space.
Of course, there are plans to restart U.S. human spaceflight with a new commercial sector and by the government as well. But especially for those of us living on Florida’s “Space Coast,” it’s awfully quiet in the gap.