On February 1 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart as it reentered Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members.
The disaster was caused by a piece of foam that had fallen from the shuttle’s external fuel tank and slammed into the left wing of the orbiter during launch. The impact caused a hole in the leading edge of the wing which went unnoticed but ultimately led the vehicle to disintegrate.
While returning to Earth, the shuttle faced temperatures approaching 3,000 degrees causing the super heated gas to burn through the hole in the wing and Columbia to fly out of control.
The disaster was the second fatal accident in the Space Shuttle program after Space Shuttle Challenger which broke apart and killed the seven-member crew 73 seconds after liftoff in 1986.