Press Release

President Addresses Nation on Space Shuttle Columbia Tragedy -Remarks by the President on the Loss of Space Shuttle Columbia

By SpaceRef Editor
February 1, 2003
Filed under , ,

The Cabinet Room

2:04 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans, this day has brought
terrible news and great sadness to our country. At 9:00 a.m.
this morning, Mission Control in Houston lost contact with
our Space Shuttle Columbia. A short time later, debris was
seen falling from the skies above Texas. The Columbia is
lost; there are no survivors.

On board was a crew of seven: Colonel Rick Husband; Lt.
Colonel Michael Anderson; Commander Laurel Clark; Captain
David Brown; Commander William McCool; Dr. Kalpana Chawla;
and Ilan Ramon, a Colonel in the Israeli Air Force. These
men and women assumed great risk in the service to all

In an age when space flight has come to seem almost routine,
it is easy to overlook the dangers of travel by rocket, and
the difficulties of navigating the fierce outer atmosphere
of the Earth. These astronauts knew the dangers, and they
faced them willingly, knowing they had a high and noble
purpose in life. Because of their courage and daring and
idealism, we will miss them all the more.

All Americans today are thinking, as well, of the families
of these men and women who have been given this sudden
shock and grief. You’re not alone. Our entire nation
grieves with you. And those you loved will always have the
respect and gratitude of this country.

The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led
into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of
discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into
space will go on.

In the skies today we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet
farther than we can see there is comfort and hope. In the
words of the prophet Isaiah, “Lift your eyes and look to
the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the
starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name.
Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one
of them is missing.”

The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names
of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle
Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray
that all are safely home.

May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue
to bless America.

END 2:08 P.M. EST

[NOTE: Video and audio of the remark are available at ]

SpaceRef staff editor.