Ten years ago today, the space shuttle Columbia launched on its final, disastrous mission. That flight became the beginning of the end of the shuttle program. Within months, the Bush administration decided to retire the shuttle and begin a new manned space program that would take astronauts back to the Moon, and eventually, on to Mars.
That new program was scrapped by the Obama administration, which instead wants to build the infrastructure that will support deep space human voyages in the decades ahead.
American manned spaceflight policy changed completely with a fireball over Texas.