CHAPTER 2 Columbias Final Flight
CHAPTER 2 Columbias Final Flight
― 第2章 コロンビア最後の飛行 ―

Space Shuttle missions are not necessarily launched in the same order they are planned (or "manifested," as NASA calls the process). A variety of scheduling, funding, technical, and - occasionally - political reasons can cause the shuffling of missions over the course of the two to three years it takes to plan and launch a flight. This explains why the 113th mission of the Space Shuttle Program was called STS-107. It would be the 28th flight of Columbia.

While the STS-107 mission will likely be remembered most for the way it ended, there was a great deal more to the dedicated science mission than its tragic conclusion. The planned microgravity research spanned life sciences, physical sciences, space and earth sciences, and education. More than 70 scientists were involved in the research that was conducted by Columbias seven-member crew over 16 days. This chapter outlines the history of STS-107 from its mis-sion objectives and their rationale through the accident and its initial aftermath. The analysis of the accidents causes follows in Chapter 3 and subsequent chapters.