Kennedy Space Center, FL -- U.S. Congressman Dave Weldon (FL-15) released the following statement in the wake of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident.
I mourn the loss of 7 brave men and women today. These dedicated pioneers -- Commander -Rick Husband, Pilot-William McCool, Payload Commander - Michael Anderson, Specialist - Kalpana Chawla, Specialist - David Brown, Specialist - Laurel Clark and Specialist - Ilan Ramon -- gave their lives in the name of science and exploration. This is a tragic day for America, for Israel, and for the world and we will forever be in their debt.
While we must learn the cause of this tragedy, and I know NASA will be working diligently to do so, we must not let this deter our exploration efforts. We should never retreat from our progress in space exploration.
We will reevaluate, however, how we conduct our human space flight operations, we will reexamine our processes, and we will learn how to make space flight safer. Then we will return to space. I believe the crew of Columbia would expect nothing less.
"I would ask all Americans, and, indeed, everyone around the world, to keep the families, friends, and colleagues of these heroic astronauts in your thoughts and prayers. Their contribution to opening the frontier will not be forgotten," said Rep. Weldon.