On the 10th anniversary of the Columbia accident, a small group of friends and I gathered at Johnson Space Center in Houston to pay tribute to the fallen crews of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia. A small rose-laying ceremony at the astronaut memorial grove was followed by a morning-long tour of the space center and nearby Ellington Field as part of a small effort to show that JSC is still alive after the shuttle program's conclusion.
The ten stars represent the ten years that have passed since that fateful morning in 2003, as well as the ten people who took part in the event (the seven stars to the left form the constellation Columba, also seen on the STS-107 patch). The white orbiter serves as a reminder of what we lost, but the red, white and blue trails behind her signify the legacy, knowledge and safety measures gained in the wake of the accident. Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 905 encircles the trails, as the 747-123 was part of the tour for that day, as well as a special connection shared by those in the group. The three trails, NASA 905's wake and the Lone Star of the Texas flag combine to complete the astronaut symbol as a nod to the veteran shuttle flyer and ISS commander who led our tour that day.
- Nathan Moeller