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Debris from fallen space shuttle Columbia has new mission 15 years after tragedy
[i]Fifteen years after the space shuttle Columbia and its crew of seven were lost returning home from a 16-day mission, pieces of the winged orbiter are still being found and the debris is now being used by NASA to educate and inspire a new generation of space workers.
On Feb. 1, 2003, Columbia broke apart during its re-entry into Earth's atmosphere after sustaining damage during its launch. A strike from a piece of insulating foam that fell off the shuttle's external fuel tank left a hole in the orbiter's left wing leading edge that went unaddressed during the flight. On Columbia's return, hot plasma entered through the hole and tore the wing apart. The resulting loss of control led to Columbia's disintegration over the state of Texas.[/i]
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