Howard Sends Condolences To US On Columbia Disaster

This is the text of the Message of Condolence sent by the Prime Minister, John Howard, to the United States.


On behalf of all Australians, I wish to extend to the American people my deepest condolences for the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew over the skies of Texas on 1 February. Our thoughts today are with the families and loved ones of those who perished.

This is a tragedy that affects us all. Space exploration is a universal endeavour which the United States has taken forward on behalf of all mankind. In this spirit, Columbia provided a platform for vigorous international scientific collaboration on a number of important projects. Columbia was also carrying an experiment designed by Melbourne schoolchildren, the latest chapter in a long Australian involvement in the shuttle programme.

Over the past two years the United States has faced unexpected adversity with a steady determination not to be cowed but to overcome. I have no doubt that America’s commitment to the exploration of space and its possibilities for all humanity will not be undone by this setback.

John Howard
Prime Minister

Space Shuttle Columbia Breaks Up On Re-Entry: Seven Astronauts Killed

The space shuttle Columbia broke up as it re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere this morning, Australian time, just minutes before it was to land at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

ColumbiaPresident Bush, addressing the nation on television, said “Columbia is lost. There are no survivors.”

The shuttle, the oldest in the US fleet, was carrying 7 people, including Israel’s first astronaut. They were: William McCool, Rick Husband, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark and Ilan Ramon, pictured above on January 20. [Read more…]

List Of Space Exploration Fatalities Since 1967

This is the list of human casualties in the history of space exploration.

January 27, 1967 – three astronauts died when a fire engulfed their command module during a ground test at Kennedy Space Centre.

  • Gus Grissom
  • Edward H. White
  • Roger B. Chaffee

April 24, 1967 – one astronaut died when his Soyuz I spacecraft crashed on return to Earth

  • Vladimir Komarov

June 29, 1971 – three astronauts died during re-entry of their Soyuz 11 spacecraft. A government investigation said they died 30 minutes before landing because of depressurisation.

  • Georgy Dobrovolsky
  • Vladislav Volkov
  • Viktor Patsayev

January 28, 1986 – seven astronauts died when the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch. McAuliffe was intended to be the first teacher in space.

  • Christa McAuliffe
  • Francis “Dick” Scobee
  • Michael J. Smith
  • Ellison S. Onizuka
  • Judith A. Resnik
  • Ronald E. McNair
  • Gregory B. Jarvis.

February 1, 2003 – seven astronauts died when space shuttle Columbia broke apart in flames about 203,000 feet over Texas, 16 minutes before it was supposed to touch down in Florida. Ramon was Israel’s first astronaut.

  • William McCool
  • Rick Husband
  • Michael Anderson
  • Kalpana Chawla
  • David Brown
  • Laurel Clark
  • Ilan Ramon