Space shuttle Columbia

First launched on April 12, 1981, Columbia was the first operational space shuttle. The craft completed 27 missions. On the 28th mission, Feb. 1, 2003, Columbia broke up during re-entry with debris falling in Texas. The seven-member crew were killed.

Shuttle flights were suspended for more than two years and once they resumed, new safety procedures were in place.

All 10 images in this photo gallery are by Los Angeles Times photographers. The last three images by photographer Wally Skalij are from the search for Columbia debris in Texas.

Two of the photos are from earlier From the Archive posts:

April 28, 2011, post about when Columbia moved to Edwards Air Force Base.

An Aug. 31, 2010, post on a Columbia pre-dawn landing.

For more Columbia images, check out this Space shuttle history gallery.