Triumph and tragedy
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STS-107 lifted off at the beginning of a solo Shuttle flight on January 16, 2003. The “Freestar” flight carried a seven-person crew and was designed to appease the critics of the ISS science programme. Columbia, the oldest of NASA’s Shuttle orbiter fleet, had just completed an extensive refit programme and this was her first flight after being returned to operations. The orbiter now carried the Extended Duration Orbiter fuel cell system, which would allow Columbia to remain in orbit for 16 days. STS-107 did not visit ISS, which was in a completely different orbit, and did not carry sufficient propellant to make the manoeuvres to do so, but it would have a major impact on the ISS programme.
KeywordsInternational Space Station Circuit Breaker Thermal Protection System Docking System External Tank
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