NASA TV/AP Photo
  • Space Disasters

    The shuttle Columbia broke up in the sky over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003, as it re-entered the atmosphere for a landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Seven astronauts died. Investigators said the shuttle was doomed on liftoff, when a loose piece of insulating foam broke off and damaged Columbia's wing.
    Jason Hutchinson/AP Photo
  • Space Disasters

    Columbia's seven astronauts clearly enjoyed their flight, never knowing their ship was damaged. They posed for this group picture during the mission. Bottom row from left: William McCool, Rick Husband and Laurel Clark. Upside down from left: Michael Anderson, David Brown, Ilan Ramon and Kalpana Chawla.
    NASA TV/AP Photo
  • Space Disasters

    The end of January and start of February are always a tough time for NASA. Jan. 27 is the anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire in 1967, Feb. 1 marks the loss of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003, and Jan. 28, 1986 is the day Challenger (above) exploded. They are the only three cases in which American astronauts have died in their spacecraft.
    NASA
  • Space Disasters

    Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from Concord, N.H., was one of the seven members of the Challenger crew. She's seen here during weightlessness training inside a modified jetliner. Her backup, Barbara Morgan, later became a full-time astronaut, and made a shuttle flight in 2007.
    NASA
  • Space Disasters

    The Challenger crew outside the shuttle's hatch on a prelaunch visit. From left: Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnick, Francis (Dick) Scobee, Ron McNair, Michael Smith, and Ellison Onizuka.
    NASA
  • Space Disasters

    Astronauts Roger Chaffee, Ed White and Gus Grissom, left to right, were chosen for the first flight of the Apollo spacecraft, which would eventually take astronauts to the moon. But on Jan. 27, 1967, while running a routine launch test in the ship's cabin, they were killed in a flash fire.
    NASA
  • Space Disasters

    This is the cockpit of Apollo 1 after the fire that killed astronauts Grissom, White and Chaffee. Investigators concluded a short circuit started the fire, which spread quickly through the ship's oxygen-pressurized cabin. After the tragedy, Apollo was completely redesigned.
    NASA
  • Space Disasters

    Apollo 13, in April 1970, was one accident that ended in triumph. A damaged oxygen tank exploded as the astronauts approached the moon -- but through luck, ingenuity and endurance, the astronauts rode their crippled ship safely home.
    NASA
  • Space Disasters

    The Apollo 13 astronauts did not know how badly their ship had been damaged until they jettisoned the ship's service module a few hours before re-entry -- and realized its side had been blown away.
    NASA
  • Space Disasters

    The Apollo 13 astronauts, safely on the deck of the USS Iwo Jima after splashdown. Here, from left, are astronauts Fred Haise, Jack Swigert and James Lovell.
    NASA
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