East Texas museum to mark 19th anniversary of Shuttle Columbia tragedy
HEMPHILL, Texas (News release) - The Patricia Huffman Smith NASA Museum will honor the legacy of the Space Shuttle Columbia with special events planned on the 19th anniversary of the tragedy that unfolded in the skies over East Texas.
On Tuesday, February 1, the public is invited to the museum in Hemphill to take part in a solemn observance in memory of the seven-member crew of Columbia’s STS-107 mission.
The museum will open at 7:30 a.m., with the program beginning 15 minutes later. A moment of silence will be observed at the time NASA lost contact with the orbiter’s crew. The names of the astronauts, as well as two volunteers who lost their lives during the 2003 search and recovery effort, will be read aloud.
Due to ongoing concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the use of face masks are encouraged for those attending the memorial. For those unable to attend in-person, the museum is planning to live stream the program from its Facebook page.
First-time and return visitors are invited to explore the museum’s 3,400-square-foot main gallery, which features displays documenting Space Shuttle Columbia’s 28 missions, STS-107 artifacts, scale models, a flown-in-space shuttle launch suit, and a visual account of Columbia’s final mission and the recovery effort that followed. A shuttle flight deck simulator constructed by former NASA engineers allows visitors to experience a virtual landing of the Space Shuttle.
Also part of the permanent collection -- displays filled with artifacts illustrating the accomplishments and personalities of the STS-107 crew members.
A gift shop also features a wide variety of souvenirs, from apparel and astronaut food, to books, DVDs and NASA patches, including the ‘Hail & Farewell’ Columbia patch, which is available exclusively at the museum.
Free admission will be offered all day, as the museum is also marking its 11th anniversary of operation.
The Patricia Huffman Smith NASA Museum is located at 375 Sabine Street in Hemphill.
Learn more about the Patricia Huffman Smith NASA Museum ‘Remembering Columbia’ at www.nasacolumbiamuseum.com.
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