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Published on: Monday, June 13, 2022

Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial

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Section 46

On February 1, 2003, Space Shuttle Columbia was headed home after a 16-day scientific mission, its 28th venture into space. As Columbia re-entered Earth's atmosphere, it suddenly burst into flames, killing all seven crew members: Richard "Rick" Husband, commander; William C. McCool, pilot; Michael P. Anderson, payload commander; David M. Brown, mission specialist; Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Laurel Blair Salton Clark, mission specialist; and Ilan Ramon, mission specialist. 

In April 2003, Congress approved and President George W. Bush signed into law the Columbia Memorial Act, authorizing the secretary of the Army, in consultation with NASA, to place a memorial to the Columbia crew in Arlington National Cemetery. NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe, accompanied by more than 400 family members, former astronauts and friends, dedicated the memorial on February 2, 2004. Standing just a few feet away from the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial, the marker features a silhouette of the space shuttle imprinted with the names of the astronauts and surrounded by seven stars. 

In addition to the memorial, three Columbia astronauts whose remains could be identified individually have individual gravesites nearby: 

  • Captain David Brown, U.S. Navy: Section 46, Grave 1180-3
  • Captain Laurel Blair Salton Clark, M.D., U.S. Navy: Section 46, Grave 1180-2
  • Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson, U.S. Air Force: Section 46, Grave 1180-1

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