American Astronomical Society Offers Condolences to NASA

Feb 03, 2003, 00:00 ET from American Astronomical Society

    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:
     Images of the Shuttle Columbia during the HST 3B servicing mission may be
 found at:

SOURCE American Astronomical Society