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Saturday, 1 February, 2003, 16:33 GMT
In pictures: Columbia's final mission
The space shuttle Columbia had been returning from a 16-day mission when it lost contact with controllers.

Take-off of Shuttle
The crew were in good spirits and fine weather made for a perfect take-off (AP AFP)

Clockwise from bottom right: David Brown, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla and Ilan Ramon
The Columbia's crew found time to relax during their 16-day mission

Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon
Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon showed how to eat cornflakes while weightless

Ilan Ramon and Kalpana Chawla with the Combustion Module-2 (CM-2) facility
But there were serious engineering and scientific tasks to perform, too

 Laurel Clark and Kalpana Chawla
Mission specialists Laurel Clark and Kalpana Chawla were kept busy

Pilot William McCool
Compressing trash for stowage was not too small a job for Pilot William McCool

Trail of shuttle
But disaster struck as the shuttle made its final descent


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16 Jan 03 | Middle East
15 Jan 03 | Science/Nature
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