Columbia astronauts to be commemorated in Israel

The name of Israel's first astronaut Ilan Ramon, together with those of the six other astronauts who perished on February 1, 2003 when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during its reentry into the atmosphere, will be officially commemorated at a ceremony at Beit Hanassi on Sunday. The ceremony which will also honor the memories of David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson and William McCool will be attended by Ramon's widow Rona, members of the families of the other astronauts, a three-member NASA delegation who are on the Space Shuttle Discovery team, diplomats and members of Israel's space exploration program. The deceased astronauts, whose almost triumphal landing ended in tragedy, will have hills named after them, to stand reaching to the sky in perpetuity.