Honoring the 6th Anniversary of Shuttle Columbia accident

The STS-107 crew. (NASA/file)
The STS-107 crew. (NASA/file)(KWTX)
Published: Feb. 2, 2009 at 1:19 AM CST
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LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Today marks a tragic anniversary for NASA and East Texas. It was six years ago that the Space Shuttle Columbia burst into pieces over East Texas.

Though 6 years have past since the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over East Texas people are still feeling the impact of the catastrophic event.

"I was walking my dog that morning and I felt this concussion, the concussion of the shuttle breaking up and saw a kind of distorted contrail in the sky, went home and was made aware that there needed to be a response."

That's when Darrel McDonald, of the Columbia Geospatial Center of SFA, along with many other East Texans, jumped in to help in anyway possible.

"There were students and volunteers from all over Texas who stepped forward and gave their all to try to do their best to honor the astronauts and to help NASA and other agencies to secure these pieces that fell all across East Texas", said McDonald.

Only four days earlier was the 17th anniversary of the Challenger crash.

"This didn't seem like this would happen again so there was that sort of shock and uneasiness", remembers McDonald. "There was a feeling of real despair for the loss of these pioneers, these, scientists, these adventurers who were willing to do everyday what was necessary to help expand our understanding of our world and what was beyond."

On this day East Texans are still reflecting, and honoring those brave seven of the Columbia Space Shuttle.

A report released in December 2008 said the crew realized they’d lost control of the shuttle just 40 seconds before likely being knocked unconscious. NASA is continuing to study the disaster to hopefully design a new spacecraft more likely to survive an accident.