FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2003 file photo, debris from the space shuttle Columbia streaks across the sky over Tyler, Texas. The Columbia broke apart in flames 200,000 feet over Texas on Saturday, killing all seven astronauts just minutes before they were to glide to a landing in Florida. Ten years later, reminders of Columbia are everywhere, including up in the sky. Everything from asteroids, lunar craters and Martian hills, to schools, parks, streets and even an airport (Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport) bear the Columbia astronauts' names. Two years ago, a museum opened in Hemphill, Texas, where much of the Columbia wreckage rained down, dedicated to "remembering Columbia." About 84,000 pounds of that wreckage, representing 40 percent of NASA's oldest space shuttle, are stored at Kennedy and loaned for engineering research. (AP Photo/Scott Lieberman) MANDATORY CREDIT (The Associated Press)
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FILE - This photo provided by NASA in June 2003 shows STS-107 crew members,from the left (bottom row), wearing red shirts to signify their shift’s 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) (The Associated Press)
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – It's a special day of remembrance for NASA.
Ten years ago, space shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts were lost. They were returning from a 16-day mission, and were just 16 minutes from home when the shuttle disintegrated on Feb. 1, 2003.
A few hundred people gathered at Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Friday morning to remember the Columbia seven. NASA officials joined family members, astronauts and schoolchildren for the outdoor ceremony.
The widow of Columbia's commander told the crowd the accident was so unexpected and the shock so intense, that she could not cry at first. Evelyn Husband Thompson says the tears came "in waves and buckets" in the week, months and years that followed. She assured everyone, though, that healing is possible.