WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- This morning, the President of the
American Astronomical Society, Dr. Catherine A. Pilachowski, who holds the
Kirkwood Chair in Astronomy at Indiana University Bloomington, sent the
following letter of condolence to Mr. Sean O'Keefe, the NASA Administrator in
light of the space shuttle tragedy this weekend.
I write on behalf of the members of the American Astronomical Society to
express our extreme grief over the loss of the Columbia crew this Saturday.
Our hearts go out to the families of the astronauts who have given their
lives in the pursuit of scientific knowledge and human achievement. Through
the manned space flight program, technological hurdles to living in space are
being overcome and scientific research is being facilitated.
The space shuttle Columbia played an important role supporting
astronomical research. On July 23, 1999 Columbia successfully carried the
Chandra X-Ray Observatory (STS-93), one of NASA's Great Observatories, into
orbit and also carried out a servicing mission on the Hubble Space Telescope
in March, 2002 (STS-109). As we carry out scientific research with these
orbiting telescopes, we always remember that they were placed into orbit and
repaired by men and women willing to risk their lives to support science.
We stand united with NASA in this time of sorrow and offer whatever
services we can provide along with our heartfelt grief.
Images of the Shuttle Columbia launching the Chandra X-Ray Observatory may
be found at: http://chandra.harvard.edu/resources/ppt/deployment/index.html
Images of the Shuttle Columbia during the HST 3B servicing mission may be
found at: http://sm3b.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/images/latest.html
SOURCE American Astronomical Society