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Sunday, 2 February, 2003, 13:03 GMT
Families remember those lost
Family friend of Michael Anderson holds pictures of the astronauts outside her home
Friends and relatives said space exploration must continue
Families of the seven astronauts killed in the space shuttle accident have begun to speak of their loss, relating both the pride and sorrow felt following the deaths of their family members.

We want the space mission to go on, we don't want those people to have died in vain

Astronaut David Brown's mother

Dorothy Brown, mother of astronaut David Brown, said her son had always insisted that, should he lose his life in a mission, space exploration should still continue.

"Our hopes are in our young people you see, so this programme has to go on, that's what David would want," she said.

"He said that to his brother Doug, he asked 'David, what if you would die?', and Dave said 'Well, this programme has to go on'."

'Blessed'

Mrs Brown's words were echoed by those of shuttle pilot William McCool's mother.

Rick Husband
Husband: Tried four times to get into Nasa
McCool had told people before his first ever space mission that he felt "blessed" to be given such an opportunity.

And Audrey McCool, despite her distress, insisted the programme should continue.

"We want the space mission to go on," she told the Associated Press news agency. "We don't want those people to have died in vain."

'A frontier experience'

The family of Michael Anderson, one of Nasa's first black astronauts and a veteran of one spaceflight, said her son had made the most of opportunities that could only have been offered to him in the US.

He said that he was so happy he didn't want to come back to Earth... and he didn't come back to Earth

Ilan Ramon's brother
"Only in America could he achieve what he did achieve," his sister said. The family of Laurel Clark praised her determination, saying they had received e-mails from her on Friday in which she noted her love of space, although her eight-year-old son had at times worried about her travelling there.

"She was proud to be representing her country and dealing with advanced scientific projects from all over the world," her aunt Betty Havilan told a news channel in Clark's adoptive home state, Wisconsin.

"It was a frontier experience as far as she was concerned."

Shuttle commander Rick Husband, whose voice was the last heard before communications with the Columbia were severed, had tried for four years to convince Nasa to accept him on their space programme.

Only a few days ago, at a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the Challenger disaster, in which seven astronauts died, he spoke of how the exploration of space had inspired people across the world.

"He was very dedicated to God and helping other people," his neighbour said.

'A source of pride'

The family of Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut and widely considered a national hero, appeared to still be in shock at the news of his death, and distraught that they might never be able to lay him to rest.

Chawla on the cover of an Indian magazine, which states
Chawla: Wanted to show the sky "was not the limit"
"He [Ilan] won't have a grave... I don't have Ilan, and I still can't grasp that," his 79-year-old father, Eliezer Wolferman, told Israeli radio.

One Israeli told BBC News that Ramon had been "a source of pride to us all".

"We were so happy for him," his brother Gadi told the Associated Press news agency after hearing of Ramon's death.

"Just two days ago I got the last e-mail from him, and he was so happy. He said that he was so happy he didn't want to come back to Earth. And he didn't come back to Earth."

Prepared for news

In India, children who had gathered to celebrate the safe arrival of Indian-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla at her former school instead found themselves offering prayers in her memory.

Relatives gathered at the home of her brother, Sanjay Chawla, in Delhi, as news of the accident spread across the country.

"When you are involved in this kind of work, you know somewhere deep down you have to be prepared for this type of news," he told Indian television.


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02 Feb 03 | Americas
02 Feb 03 | Americas
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01 Feb 03 | Americas
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02 Feb 03 | Middle East
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