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Industry and goverment leaders, former astronauts and Hollywood luminaries join forces to support Columbia Shuttle families

Press Release From: Columbia Shuttle Memorial Trust
Posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2003

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Washington, September 16, 2003 - The launch of the Columbia Shuttle Memorial Trust, a campaign to raise funds to support the families of Columbia shuttle mission STS-107 astronauts and pay tribute to their achievements through the creation of appropriate memorials, was announced at a news conference in Washington today by Richard Gelfond, Chairman of the Columbia Shuttle Memorial Trust Steering Committee and Co-Chief Executive and Co-Chairman of IMAX Corporation, former astronaut Dr. Guion "Guy" Bluford of the Aerospace Technology Group, and NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe.

A high-profile group of leaders from the aerospace and entertainment industries have volunteered their time and resources to establish and guide the Columbia Shuttle Memorial Trust. Trust members include Academy Award-winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment who directed and produced, respectively, Apollo 13; former astronaut Frank Culbertson of SAIC; Alan Horn, President and COO of Warner Bros. Entertainment; former astronaut Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, President and CEO of COSI; Norman Augustine, Chairman Emeritus of Lockheed Martin Corporation; former astronaut Dr. Guion "Guy" Bluford of the Aerospace Technology Group; General Jack Dailey, Director of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum; Elliot Pulham, President and CEO of the Space Foundation; former astronaut Charles Bolden of TechTrans International; Richard Edelman, President and CEO of public relations firm Edelman; and Shawn Smeallie, Executive Director of the Trust and Managing Director, American Continental Group. The Trust is also championed by former astronaut John Glenn and an ex officio membership of public officials including Sean O'Keefe, NASA Administrator.

The crew of STS-107 dedicated themselves to pursuing scientific challenges, on behalf of those of us here on Earth," said NASA Administrator Sean O' Keefe. "This initiative, supported by a dynamic combination of leaders from Hollywood and the space industry, will undoubtedly yield great benefit for the families of these honorable men and women. I applaud this effort by entertainment and business to pay tribute to the Columbia shuttle crew who gave their lives to serve us all."

The Trust hopes to raise $1 million for each of the seven Columbia families to help compensate for the current and future economic impact of the loss of their loved ones. A portion of the funds raised over that amount will help to memorialize the STS-107 mission and crew.

Following the dedication of a memorial at Arlington Cemetery in February 2004, the Columbia Shuttle Memorial Trust will host a gala event, tentatively scheduled to be held in the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, to present funds raised by the Columbia Shuttle Memorial Trust to the families of the Columbia crew.

"On February 1, 2003, America and the world lost seven dedicated men and women when the Columbia shuttle fell from the skies," said IMAX's Richard Gelfond, who serves as chairman of the Columbia Shuttle Memorial Trust Steering Committee. "The deep sense of loss was felt by millions in the United States and throughout the world. While we cannot ease their sadness, we are honored to help ease the burdens of those who feel this loss the deepest."

Shawn Smeallie, Executive Director of the Trust and Managing Director of the American Continental Group added, "This worthy cause has attracted an outpouring of support from high-profile leaders in the United States and beyond. The Trust is committed to the raising of funds to provide for the families of the Columbia crew, and the creation of memorials and activities to honor the astronauts of the STS-107 mission."

The Columbia Shuttle Memorial Trust received an inaugural gift of $1 million from Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Donations of all amounts are greatly appreciated. Donations may be made by visiting www.columbia7trust.org or calling 1-877-99SPACE.

About the Columbia Shuttle Memorial Trust

The Columbia Shuttle Memorial Trust is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in the District of Columbia in August 2003. The Trust's mission is to assist the families of the Columbia crew, help erect memorials for the Columbia Shuttle and pursue activities that build awareness about space programs.

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