NASA honoured the seven astronauts who perished when the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed 10 years ago.

The space agency marked the anniversary Friday at a public memorial service at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Speakers include Evelyn Husband Thompson, who was married to the shuttle's commander.

The accident on Feb. 1, 2003, killed six Americans and Israel's first astronaut. They were returning home from a 16-day science mission when the shuttle disintegrated over Texas, just minutes from landing in Florida.

An investigation board later determined the cause was damage to the wing that occurred during liftoff. The shuttles were grounded for more than two years, and resumed flying with more safety features in place. The shuttles retired in 2011.

NASA's Day of Remembrance also honoured:

  • The seven crew of the space shuttle Challenger who died in 1986 when the shuttle's booster engine failed and the spacecraft broke apart less than two minutes after it blasted off.
  • The three Apollo 1 astronauts who died in flash fire during a pre-flight test for what was supposed to be NASA's first manned mission to the moon in 1967.
With files from CBC News