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Space Shuttle Columbia

Remains from all shuttle crew identified

Remains of the space shuttle Columbia astronauts arrived in seven caskets at the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on February 5.
Remains of the space shuttle Columbia astronauts arrived in seven caskets at the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on February 5.

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HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) -- Remains from all seven astronauts onboard the doomed shuttle Columbia have been positively identified, NASA said Thursday.

The astronauts died February 1 when Columbia disintegrated over east Texas, just minutes before it was to land in Florida.

"We are comforted by the knowledge we have brought our seven friends home," said Bob Cabana, director of Flight Crew Operations at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

"We are deeply indebted to the communities and volunteers who made this homecoming possible, and brought peace of mind to the crew's families and the entire NASA family."

Private memorial services for Commander Rick Husband, Pilot Willie McCool, Payload Commander Michael Anderson and Mission Specialists David Brown, Kalpana Chawla and Laurel Clark will take place within a few weeks.

Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, an Israeli Air Force colonel who was Israel's first astronaut, was buried in Israel on Tuesday.

The remains, recovered during recent searches for shuttle debris, had been taken to the National Mortuary at Dover Air Force Base to be identified.

Since then, additional recovery efforts have turned up more human remains. On Wednesday, Texas authorities said they found more body parts and an astronaut's patch along with more shuttle rubble in Sabine County near the Louisiana border.

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