US space shuttle Columbia broke apart in flames before landing on Saturday with seven astronauts on board. It was the latest in a series of accidents since space exploration began.
The following is a chronology of astronauts and cosmonauts killed in the history of space exploration:
-- Jan. 27, 1967: Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee die when a fire sweeps their command module during a ground test at Kennedy Space Center.
-- April 24, 1967: Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov became thefirst person to die in a space mission when his Soyuz I spacecraftcrashes on return to Earth.
-- June 29, 1971: Soviet cosmonauts Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev die during re-entry of their Soyuz 11 spacecraft after 24 days in an orbiting space laboratory.
-- Jan. 28, 1986: The space shuttle Challenger explodes 73 seconds after launch, killing all seven astronauts aboard, including Christa McAuliffe, intended to be the first teacher in space.
-- Feb. 1, 2003: Space shuttle Columbia breaks apart in flamesabout 60,900 meters over Texas, 16 minutes before it was supposed to touch down in Florida. All seven aboard were killed. They were:William McCool, Rick Husband, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla,David Brown, Laurel Clark and Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut.
(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2003 )