Onboard were Rick D. 1, 2003. This time of year marks multiple somber anniversaries for NASA. Anderson, Payload Commander; David M. 16, 2003. 27, 1967. 28, 1986, the Challenger space shuttle broke apart shortly after takeoff, killing all seven onboard. An investigation would later determine that tiles damaged during lift-off allowed super-heated atmospheric gasses to penetrate the shuttle’s wing during re-entry, causing the ship to become unstable and quickly disintegrate. Husband, Commander; William C. The crew was not told about any risk and didn’t know something was wrong until very late in re-entry, according to ABC News.The space shuttle broke apart during its return to Earth over Texas. McCool, Pilot; Michael P. They returned on Feb. On Jan. The Apollo 1 fire that killed three was on Jan. Brown, Mission Specialist; Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist; Laurel Blair Salton Clark, Mission Specialist and Ilan Ramon, Payload Specialist.For 16 days, they worked on 80 experiments, conducting research in physical, life, and space sciences. HOUSTON — Wednesday marks 14 years since seven astronauts were killed in the space shuttle Columbia disaster.The crew launched on Jan.