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Shuttle Disaster

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The Investigation

Seven astronauts Rick Husband, William McCool, Ilan Ramon, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, and Laurel Clark - died when Columbia broke up.

Despite their devastating loss the astronauts' families said in a joint statement: "The bold exploration of space must go on".

In a massive investigation, an independent team pored over data recovered from computers tracking Columbia's final moments, and thousands of pieces of recovered debris.

In their final statement, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that flawed practices within Nasa were as much to blame for the disaster as any technical fault.

It said that while the space shuttle is not inherently unsafe, a number of mechanical changes should be made in order to ensure safety before flights resume.

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