Columbia crew

This photo provided by NASA in June 2003 shows STS-107 crew members,from the left (bottom row), wearing red shirts to signify their shifts color, are astronauts Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Rick D. Husband, mission commander; Laurel B. Clark, mission specialist; and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist. From the left (top row), wearing blue shirts, are astronauts David M. Brown, mission specialist; William C. McCool, pilot; and Michael P. Anderson, payload commander. The astronauts were killed on Feb. 1, 2003, in the final minutes of their 16-day scientific research mission aboard Columbia. Altogether, 12 children lost a parent aboard Columbia. The youngest is now 15, the oldest 32.

(AP Photo/NASA, File)

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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