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Dedicate poetry in sculpture to be put in a place of honor to memorialize the great heroes of STS107 who gave their lives for America. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on February 1, 2013.

Dedicate poetry in sculpture to be put in a place of honor to memorialize the great heroes of STS107 who gave their lives for America.

About this project

I wish to memorialize the brave crew of STS107 into a sculpture that contains the following poem among other elements:


Across the sky streaked white and blue,
incandescence ... turquoise too. The flame of
heroes old and new, of peace and joy of
heaven do ... the things that make us better
still are written in these flames unreal.
The stars therein we made this day burned
shortly bright and found their way to homes
and live-forever found the new beginning:
The final round!
They took their craft in gleaming gloam,
its beauty bound to heavens roam.
They took their time to find the plane,
where only they can be today.
And now their being, essence ... zest, its
poignancy, its magnificence ...
find words to weather the task of saying,
how they gave their last ...
The final measure!

R. Arthur Harker
(C) February 1, 2003
Free to distribute to anyone for any personal reason.
All other rights reserved.

We intend to raise these funds to present a fitting sculptural  memorial at the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.  Appropriate dignitaries will be in attendance and the moment will be recorded for posterity.

Thanks to you,

R. Arthur Harker

Some background of the tragedy from

"The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the death of all seven crew members. Debris from Columbia fell to Earth in Texas along a path stretching from Trophy Club to Tyler, as well as into parts of Louisiana.

The loss of Columbia was a result of damage sustained during launch when a piece of foam insulation the size of a small briefcase broke off from the Space Shuttle external tank (the 'ET' main propellant tank) under the aerodynamic forces of launch. The debris struck the leading edge of the left wing, damaging the Shuttle's thermal protection system (TPS), which shields it from the intense heat generated from atmospheric compression during re-entry. While Columbia was still in orbit, some engineers suspected damage, but NASA managers limited the investigation, on the grounds that little could be done even if problems were found.[1]

NASA's original shuttle design specifications stated that the external tank was not to shed foam or other debris; as such, strikes upon the shuttle itself were safety issues that needed to be resolved before a launch was cleared. Launches were often given the go-ahead as engineers came to see the foam shedding and debris strikes as inevitable and unresolvable, with the rationale that they were either not a threat to safety, or an acceptable risk. The majority of shuttle launches recorded such foam strikes and thermal tile scarring.[2] On STS-112, two launches before, a chunk of foam broke away from the ET bipod ramp and hit the SRB-ET Attach Ring near the bottom of the left solid rocket booster (SRB) causing a dent four inches wide and three inches deep in it.[3] After that mission, the situation was analyzed and NASA decided to press ahead under the justification that "The ET is safe to fly with no new concerns (and no added risk)"[4] of further foam strikes, justification that was revisited while Columbia was still in orbit and Chair of the Mission Management Team (MMT) Linda Ham re-assessed, stating that the “Rationale was lousy then and still is”. Ham as well as Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore had both been present at the October 31, 2002 meeting where this decision to continue with launches was made.[5]

During re-entry of STS-107, the damaged area allowed hot gases to penetrate and destroy the internal wing structure,[6] rapidly causing the in-flight breakup of the vehicle. An extensive ground search in parts of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas recovered crew remains and many vehicle fragments.

Mission STS-107 was the 113th Space Shuttle launch. It was delayed 18 times[7] over the two years from its planned launch date of January 11, 2001, to its actual launch date of January 16, 2003. (It was preceded by STS-113.) A launch delay due to cracks in the shuttle's propellant distribution system occurred one month before a July 19, 2002 launch date. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) determined that this delay had nothing to do with the catastrophic failure six months later.[7]

The Columbia Accident Investigation Board's recommendations addressed both technical and organizational issues. Space Shuttle flight operations were delayed for over two years, similar to the delay following the Challenger accident. Construction of the International Space Station was put on hold, and for 29 months the station relied entirely on the Russian Federal Space Agency for resupply until Shuttle flights resumed with STS-114 and 41 months for crew rotation until STS-121. Major changes to shuttle operations, after missions resumed, included a thorough on-orbit inspection to determine how well the shuttle's thermal protection system had endured the ascent, and keeping a designated rescue mission at the ready in case irreparable damage was found. Also it had been decided that all missions would be flown only to the ISS so that the crew could use that spacecraft as a "safe haven" if need be. Later NASA decided it would be an acceptable risk to make one exception to that policy for one final mission to repair Hubble in its high-altitude low-inclination orbit."

Columbia STS-107
Columbia STS-107

Risks and challenges

The risk is I won't have enough time to complete the sculpture. This risk is mitigated by using automation to complete much of the work.

Feb 1 is coming up fast. I have already written the poetry. I have found a place to do the 3D milling. Now it is a matter of materials.

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    The eternal thanks of a grateful nation.

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    A beautiful image suitable for framing of the sculpture.

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    Actual STS 107 mission lapel pin

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    Your name on the sculpture as a Gold level Backer.

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    You will choose the location of the place of honor to place the sculpture.

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Funding period

- (20 days)