February 1, 2003


The world has lost 7 great heroes today. The catastrophic loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew was a shock to everyone world-wide. On behalf of the entire Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) team, I would like to extend our deepest expressions of sympathy to the friends and family of the STS-107 crew.

Today's events clearly demonstrated the challenging and sometimes sobering aspects of space travel. Space travel is not easy. It is hard. We do our best to ensure there are adequate safety nets in place to ensure mission success. But sometimes something goes wrong and we are not successful. Unfortunately, this is what we all experienced today.

It is essential that we learn from what happened from today and use this information, and our new heros' spirit, to springboard us to new, safer levels of space travel. Our quest for space must continue despite these tragic losses...just like the sailing and arctic explorers of old.

It should be noted that 3 of the 7 crew members on STS-107 were amateur radio operators: Mission Specialists David M. Brown, KC5ZTC, Kalpana Chawla, KD5ESI and Laurel Clark, KC5ZSU. On a personal note, Kalpana Chawla or "KC" as she affectionately called, worked closely with the ARISS team for several years as our astronaut liaison. She stepped down from this position when she began preparations for the STS-107 shuttle flight. We will deeply miss her tremendous support, positive attitude, and heroism.

This is a difficult time for all of us. Let's work together to keep the torch of space travel alive in the hearts and spirits of humans worldwide. And most importantly, please keep the astronauts, their family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO
Chairman, ARISS International