In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

Remembering and celebrating a legacy

Visit the East Texas museum dedicated to the legacy of the Space Shuttle Columbia

February 1, 2003 was the day the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart during re-entry from a successful scientific mission (STS-107). Debris rained down over most of Texas. The nose cone of Columbia as well as several parts from the cockpit were discovered near the city of Hemphill, Texas. Eight years after the demise of Columbia, The Patricia Huffman Smith NASA “Remembering Columbia” Museum opened its doors to celebrate the legacy of Columbia’s mission. It also honors the memories of the seven lives lost on the shuttle and the two men who died in the recovery efforts: Mission Commander Rick Husband, Pilot William McCool, Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist Laurel Clark, Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, Mission Specialist David Brown, Payload Specialist Michael Anderson, Helicopter Pilot Jules Mier, Jr., and Charles Krenek. You can view many items and artifacts from NASA and its contractors, the families of the crew of STS-107, as well as from other individual On display are some of the scientific experiments that were performed on Columbia as well as displays from NASA. A 1/15 scale model of the shuttle sits in the museum.

Currently, a Space Shuttle simulator is under construction. You can experience what it is like to land the orbiter. Other missions are being added. School groups are welcome. The Patricia Huffman Smith NASA Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00am-5:00pm. Reservations only for Sundays and Mondays. The museum accepts donations. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students. Check out the gift shop that features memorabilia such as patches, books, and t-shirts. The museum can be found at 375 Sabine Street in Hemphill. Check out their website here. The Facebook page for the museum does a terrific job of posting the historical timeline of Columbia.