Columbia Memorial

The House Science Committee unanimously approved legislation Wednesday calling for a memorial to be built at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of the seven astronauts killed on board the space shuttle Columbia.

The bill, sponsored by House Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. “Bill” Young, R-Indian Rocks Beach, would take $500,000 from the 2003 Pentagon budget to build a marker similar to the one that memorializes the astronauts killed in the 1986 explosion of the Challenger.

The bill must also pass the House Veterans Affairs Committee before going to the full House for a vote. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, has introduced similar legislation.

Commander Rick Husband, pilot Willie McCool, payload commander Michael Anderson, payload specialist Ilan Ramon and mission specialists Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark and David Brown died Feb. 1 when the Columbia broke apart on re-entry over Texas. Anderson, Clark and Brown are buried at Arlington, near the Challenger memorial.

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