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NASA marks 10 years since loss of Columbia, crew

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Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013 10:42 am | Updated: 10:53 am, Fri Feb 1, 2013.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA will honor the seven astronauts who perished when the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed 10 years ago.

The space agency will mark the anniversary Friday at a public memorial service at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Speakers include Evelyn Husband Thompson, who was married to the shuttle's commander.

The accident on Feb. 1, 2003, killed six Americans and Israel's first astronaut. They were returning home from a 16-day science mission when the shuttle disintegrated over Texas, just minutes from landing in Florida.

An investigation board later determined the cause was damage to the wing that occurred during liftoff. The shuttles were grounded for more than two years, and resumed flying with more safety features in place. The shuttles retired in 2011.

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