On this day: February 1

POSTED: 10:51 PM PST Jan 31, 2013    UPDATED: 11:00 PM PST Jan 31, 2013 

The Beatles hit No. 1 for the first time in America, tragedy strikes space shuttle Columbia, and Janet Jackson suffers a Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction," all on this day.

OTD February 1 - space shuttle Columbia
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NASA

2003: Space shuttle Columbia disintegrates over Texas and Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard. The accident was blamed on damage Columbia had sustained during launch when a piece of foam insulation the size of a small briefcase broke off from the shuttle's external tank and struck the edge of the left wing. The strike damaged Columbia's thermal protection system, which shields the shuttle from the intense heat generated from atmospheric compression during re-entry. Major changes to shuttle operations, enacted before missions resumed more than two years later, included a thorough on-orbit inspection to determine how well the shuttle's thermal protection system had endured the ascent, and keeping a designated rescue mission at the ready in case irreparable damage was found.

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