Astronaut to help mark Columbia tragedy

DOWNEY - NASA astronaut James M. Kelly, a crew member on the "Return to Flight" mission after the Columbia Shuttle tragedy, will be at the Columbia Memorial Space Center on Feb. 1 to help mark the disaster's 10th anniversary. Kelly also was part of STS-102 Discovery, the eighth shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station. His experience includes more than 3,800 flight hours in 35 different aircraft.

The city will pay tribute to the Columbia crew, who lost their lives on Feb. 1, 2003 as the shuttle reentered the earth's atmosphere. Killed that day were Rick Husband, Willie McCool, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark and Ilan Ramon.

The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. inside the space center, which serves as the official national memorial to the space shuttle Columbia.

"On this special anniversary event, we want to honor the courage and dedication of these true American heroes," said Mayor Mario Guerra. "We will continue to pay tribute to the legacy of crew STS-107 and their heroic commitment to space exploration."

The public is invited to the ceremony. Admission to the space center will be free from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"We are extremely honored to have astronaut Kelly join us on this special day and look forward to welcoming him to our city," added Guerra.

For more information, call the space center at (562) 231-1200 or log on to

********** Published: January 24, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 41