NO. R-20.  House concurrent resolution in memory of the Columbia Space Shuttle astronauts who sacrificed their lives in exploration of outer space.


Offered by:  Representatives Mazur of South Burlington, Obuchowski of Rockingham, Partridge of Windham, Perry of Richford, Allaire of Rutland City, Baker of West Rutland, Bolduc of Barton, Bostic of St. Johnsbury, Botzow of Pownal, Branagan of Georgia, Carey of Chester, Chen of Mendon, Clark of St. Johnsbury, Clark of Vergennes, Connell of Warren, Dakin of Colchester, Deen of Westminster, Donaghy of Poultney, Donovan of Burlington, Dunsmore of Georgia, Emmons of Springfield, Endres of Milton, Errecart of Shelburne, Freed of Dorset, Gervais of Enosburg, Grad of Moretown, Haas of Rutland City, Hall of Newport City, Head of South Burlington, Helm of Castleton, Houston of Ferrisburgh, Howrigan of Fairfield, Hube of Londonderry, Hudson of Lyndon, Hummel of Underhill, Hunt of Essex, Jewett of Ripton, Johnson of South Hero, Keogh of Burlington, Kilmartin of Newport City, Kitzmiller of Montpelier, Klein of East Montpelier, Koch of Barre Town, Krawczyk (Albert) of Bennington, Krawczyk (Joseph) of Bennington, Larocque of Barnet, LaVoie of Swanton, Lippert of Hinesburg, Marek of Newfane, Martin of Springfield, Masland of Thetford, McAllister of Highgate, Miller of Elmore, Morrissey of Bennington, O'Donnell of Vernon, Parent of St. Albans City, Peaslee of Guildhall, Robinson of Richmond, Rusten of Halifax, Schiavone of Shelburne, Severance of Colchester, Sheltra of Derby, Smith of New Haven, Smith of Morristown, Sunderland of Rutland Town, Sweaney of Windsor, Towne of Berlin, Trombley of Grand Isle, Valliere of Barre City, Waite of Pawlet, Webster of Randolph, Westman of Cambridge, Winters of Swanton, Winters of Williamstown and Wright of Burlington, and Senator Collins of Franklin County.

     Whereas, at the dawn of the 21st century, flights by men and women of many nationalities sojourning beyond the confines of the earth’s atmosphere, aboard the United States’ fleet of winged spaceships, the space shuttles Atlantis, Columbia, Discovery, and Endeavor, have become so common an event that the riveting attention paid a generation ago to the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo liftoffs typically no longer exists, and

     Whereas, on Saturday, February 1, 2003, when the space shuttle Columbia, carrying a crew of seven, disintegrated 40 miles above the Texas countryside as it was rapidly descending toward a landing at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, the world was tragically reminded that journeying into space remains a perilous voyage, and

     Whereas, the Columbia’s crew, comprising men and women from different nations and diverse backgrounds, was earthbound after a successful 16‑day scientific mission, and

     Whereas, Columbia’s commander, U.S. Air Force Colonel Rick D. Husband had harbored an ambition to be an astronaut since boyhood, and he was on his second space flight, having previously participated in the first docking between a space shuttle and the international space station, and

     Whereas, Dr. Laurel Salton Clark, a U.S. Navy commander, Navy Seal veteran, and physician, relished the challenge of being an astronaut and found the perspective from space awe‑inspiring, and

     Whereas, Colonel Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli to ever fly into space, carried remembrances from Nazi concentration camps, including a young boy’s pencil drawing of an idealized earth portrait as seen from the moon and a Jewish Torah scroll, and

     Whereas, Dr. Kalpana Chawla, a native of Karnal, India, emigrated to the United States, earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado, and, in 1994, was one of 20 persons, from a group of 4,000 applicants, to be admitted into the astronaut corps, and

     Whereas, U.S. Navy Captain David M. Brown, a flight surgeon and test pilot, entered his astronaut training class with an unusual resume, having been a circus stilt walker, and

     Whereas, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson was motivated to become an astronaut when he watched the first moon landing as a nine‑year‑old, and pursued his dream into space, becoming an inspiration to African‑American youth who sought to fly far above the clouds, and

     Whereas, U.S. Navy Commander William C. McCool, the shuttle’s pilot, who graduated second in his class at the U.S. Naval Academy, was making his first trip into space, and as an avid football fan, carried with him a spirit towel from his home town’s high school football team, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

     That the General Assembly honors the memory of the space heroes who sacrificed their lives in pursuit of scientific advancement aboard the shuttle Columbia, and affirms its strong support, following the announced internal and external examinations of this tragedy, for continuation of human space flight, and be it further

     Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send eight copies of this resolution to Ron Dittemore, the shuttle program manager at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, one for distribution to the family of each Columbia astronaut, and one for permanent retention; one copy to Sean O’Keefe, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Washington. D.C.; one copy to the Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; one copy each to the Embassies of India and Israel in Washington, D.C.; and one copy to each member of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.