Space shuttle Columbia crew memorialized on Mars
NASA NEWS RELEASE
Posted: January 6, 2004

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe today announced plans to name the landing site of the Mars Spirit Rover in honor of the astronauts who died in the tragic accident of the space shuttle Columbia in February. The area in the vast flatland of the Gusev Crater where Spirit landed this weekend will be called the Columbia Memorial Station.


A plaque honoring the fallen heroes of Columbia is mounted on the back of Spirit's high-gain antenna. Credit: NASA/JPL
 
Since its historic landing, Spirit has been sending extraordinary images of its new surroundings on the red planet over the past few days. Among them, an image of a memorial plaque placed on the spacecraft to Columbia's astronauts and the STS-107 mission.

The plaque is mounted on the back of Spirit's high-gain antenna, a disc-shaped tool used for communicating directly with Earth. The plaque is aluminum and approximately six inches in diameter. The memorial plaque was attached March 28, 2003, at the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Chris Voorhees and Peter Illsley, Mars Exploration Rover engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., designed the plaque.


The plaque on Spirit as seen prior to launch. Credit: NASA-KSC
 
"During this time of great joy for NASA, the Mars Exploration Rover team and the entire NASA family paused to remember our lost colleagues from the Columbia mission. To venture into space, into the unknown, is a calling heard by the bravest, most dedicated individuals," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. "As team members gazed at Mars through Spirit's eyes, the Columbia memorial appeared in images returned to Earth, a fitting tribute to their own spirit and dedication. Spirit carries the dream of exploration the brave astronauts of Columbia held in their hearts."

Spirit successfully landed on Mars Jan. 3. It will spend the next three months exploring the barren landscape to determine if Mars was ever watery and suitable to sustain life. Spirit's twin, Opportunity, will reach Mars on Jan. 25 to begin a similar examination of a site on the opposite side of the planet.

Status quicklook
NASA has approved an extended mission for the Mars Exploration Rovers, handing them up to five months of overtime assignments as they finish their three-month prime mission.


Check the status center for complete coverage.


Soviet Space
For the first time ever available in the West. Rocket & Space Corporation Energia: a complete pictorial history of the Soviet/Russian Space Program from 1946 to the present day all in full color. Available from our store.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Viking patch
This embroidered mission patch celebrates NASA's Viking Project which reached the Red Planet in 1976.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Apollo 7 DVD
For 11 days the crew of Apollo 7 fought colds while they put the Apollo spacecraft through a workout, establishing confidence in the machine what would lead directly to the bold decision to send Apollo 8 to the moon just 2 months later.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Gemini 12
Gemini 12: The NASA Mission Reports covers the voyage of James Lovell and Buzz Aldrin that capped the Gemini program's efforts to prove the technologies and techniques that would be needed for the Apollo Moon landings. Includes CD-ROM.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Final Shuttle Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

STS-134 Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Ares 1-X Patch
The official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Project Orion
The Orion crew exploration vehicle is NASA's first new human spacecraft developed since the space shuttle a quarter-century earlier. The capsule is one of the key elements of returning astronauts to the Moon.
 U.S. STORE


Fallen Heroes Patch Collection
The official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Get e-mail updates
Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest news in astronomy and space e-mailed direct to your desktop (privacy note: your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose).
Enter your e-mail address:
MISSION STATUS CENTER

INDEX | PLUS | NEWS ARCHIVE | LAUNCH SCHEDULE
ASTRONOMY NOW | STORE

ADVERTISE

© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.