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In space history, today is one of those days where you look back to the root cause of an impending disaster. The STS-107 mission via the orbiter Columbia would re-define how the United States operates in space for almost two decades and would also be the catalyst to end the Space Shuttle program.
On January 16th, 2003, the seven members of STS-107 would board the orbiter Columbia and begin their sixteen day scientific mission in orbit. This flight of Columbia would be the 28th flight of NASA's oldest operating orbiter and the 113th shuttle mission. Once on orbit the crew would make use of the Spacehab Research Double Module (pictured above) to complete their mission of "providing 24/7 space science research". This expanded science lab located in the orbiter's cargo bay would allow for two teams of astronauts to work 24 hours a day in two alternating shifts to carry out experiments in the areas of astronaut health and safety; advanced technology development; and Earth and space sciences.
Over the next few days I'll be posting additional information about their flight including crew profiles and how research from the STS-107 mission has helped society.