The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior INF Koko Wooley (3) catches the ball during Texas A&Ms game against Kentucky on April 7th, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
Troubles in ‘Loosa
April 13, 2024
Sophomore LHP Ryan Prager (18) celebrates getting the last strikeout during A&Ms games against Vanderbilt on Friday, April 12, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Ring Day run rule
April 12, 2024
Junior INF Koko Wooley (3) catches the ball during Texas A&Ms game against Kentucky on April 7th, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
Troubles in ‘Loosa
April 13, 2024
Sophomore LHP Ryan Prager (18) celebrates getting the last strikeout during A&Ms games against Vanderbilt on Friday, April 12, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Ring Day run rule
April 12, 2024
Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
When it rains, it pours
February 24, 2024
Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024
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Dr. Weston Porter (top left) and researchers from the breast cancer lab. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Weston Porter)
New A&M research initiative provides cutting-edge cancer treatments
J.M. Wise, News Reporter • April 8, 2024

It has been 20 months since Michelle Pozzi, Ph.D, of Texas A&M’s Biochemistry and Biophysics department was diagnosed with cancer. However,...

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Junior INF Koko Wooley (3) catches the ball during Texas A&Ms game against Kentucky on April 7th, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
Troubles in ‘Loosa
Braxton Dore, Sports Writer • April 13, 2024

After taking the home series over Kentucky last weekend, No. 12 Texas A&M softball received a well-deserved break over the week before traveling...

Sophomore LHP Ryan Prager (18) celebrates getting the last strikeout during A&Ms games against Vanderbilt on Friday, April 12, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Ring Day run rule
April 12, 2024
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Students, residents commemorates Eid Al-Fitr
Lasan Ukwatta Liyanage, Life & Arts Writer • April 11, 2024

This year's Eid Al-Fitr celebration, hosted by Texas A&M’s Muslim Student Association, or MSA, drew over 1,500 attendees on Wednesday,...

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Student housing located right outside off campus boundaries on George Bush Drive. 
Guest Commentary: An open letter to City Hall
Ben Crockett, Guest Contributor • April 11, 2024

City Council, As representatives of the Texas Aggie Classes of 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, we write to you today to urge a reconsideration...

Columbia remembered

 
 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – One year after Columbia broke apart and fell in flaming streaks from the Texas sky, NASA workers who launched the shuttle and its seven astronauts and then gathered up the remains stood united in sorrow Sunday at the precise moment of destruction.
The first anniversary of the catastrophe was a time for everyone – rocket engineers, debris searchers, school children, space enthusiasts, even football fans – to pause and remember.
”One year ago, at this very hour, the unthinkable occurred,” Kennedy Space Center’s director, Jim Kennedy, told the crowd of a few hundred who gathered on a gray, drizzly morning at NASA’s astronauts memorial.
Kennedy quietly recited the names of the Columbia astronauts, carved into the black granite monument behind him: Commander Rick Husband, co-pilot William McCool, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark and Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon.
”They were our friends. They are our heroes. Their loss will not be in vain. We will come back bigger, better and stronger than ever before, and I can assure you that crew and their beloved families will never, ever be forgotten,” Kennedy said.
Almost all of the mourners held a long-stemmed rose. After the brief outdoor ceremony, they tucked the red, yellow, peach and ivory-colored roses into the white fence surrounding the memorial.Many wiped away tears.
The ceremony began at 9 a.m. EST, the instant NASA lost communication with Columbia over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003.
It ended at 9:16 a.m., the time the spacecraft should have landed on the Kennedy Space Center runway. By then, Columbia had shattered into tens of thousands of pieces that crashed down on Texas and Louisiana.
A piece of fuel-tank foam insulation had torn a hole in Columbia’s left wing during the mid-January liftoff and allowed hot atmospheric gases to enter during atmospheric re-entry.
Knowing the astronauts well made the anniversary all the more painful for Arthur Willett, a shuttle recovery worker who spent three weeks in Texas picking up the pieces. ”Even though working in this program day to day, you realize those things can happen – until they do, it’s hard to take that burden on,” he said, gripping a rose.
Tributes also were held in many of the East Texas towns where the wreckage fell. The husbands of the two women who died aboard Columbia attended a memorial in Hemphill, in a packed Veterans of Foreign Wars hall. The memorial ended more than an hour later with a 21-gun salute.
Jean-Pierre Harrison said he wanted to thank the people who recovered the remains of his wife, Kalpana Chawla. ”You are among the best America has to offer,” he said.
Dr. Jon Clark, a NASA neurologist who was married to astronaut Laurel Clark, said going to East Texas was ”like coming home.”
”This is where the crew came home and this is where I wanted to be,” Clark told the grieving crowd.
In Houston, where the Columbia astronauts lived and Mission Control is located, the biggest salute of all was saved for last – the Super Bowl. The Columbia astronauts’ families were invited to the football game, along with NASA’s top officials.
The NFL, which had scheduled the Super Bowl in Houston long before the Columbia disaster, paid an upbeat pregame tribute to the astronauts.
Aerosmith and Josh Groban offered musical tributes, and the seven astronauts scheduled to fly the next mission as early as September aboard shuttle Atlantis accompanied the color guard onto the field.
Eileen Collins, commander of the next shuttle mission, said she thought about the Columbia crew the whole time. ”I think they were with us today, and I think they’re glad NASA didn’t say no to the high-profile salute,” she said.

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