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TV Shows Explore Return to Flight, Honor Columbia Crew


Dave Brown with video camera. Photo credit: Science Channel/Estate of Dave Brown A pair of TV documentaries are highlighting NASA, exploring the Shuttle's Return to Flight and paying tribute to the fallen heroes of Columbia.

Image left: Columbia astronaut Dave Brown documented the two years of training leading up to the STS-107 mission. Photo credit: Estate of Dave Brown/Science Channel.

"Astronaut Diaries: Remembering the Columbia Shuttle Crew" premiered on The Science Channel on Saturday, May 14 at 9 p.m. EDT. It offers never-before-seen footage taken by astronaut Dave Brown during two years of pre-flight training with his six STS-107 crewmates -- Rick Husband, Willie McCool, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, Michael Anderson and Ilan Ramon.

The Science Channel's sister network, The Discovery Channel, premiered a documentary the following night at 8 p.m. on the Shuttle's Return to Flight.

Brown, a former Navy pilot and doctor, was making a film about his experiences training for his life-long dream of being an astronaut. His footage is juxtaposed with surviving family members, who describe their observations of the training process and offer moving insights into the personalities of the crew members.

STS-107 crew Image right: The STS-107 poses for a group shot in a photo recovered from Columbia's wreckage. In blue shirts, from left: Dave Brown, Willie McCool, Michael Anderson. In red shirts, from left, Kalpana Chawla, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Ilan Ramon. Photo credit: NASA.

The special opens with the crew preparing for launch, including the traditional -- and never-before-seen -- card game played between Shuttle crew members during the hours before countdown, then jumps back in time to show how the disparate members of the team came to form such a close working bond during more than two years of training.

Brown's brother Doug pushed to get the film made, and talked with "The Today Show" about the importance of showing astronauts as "human beings" (+ View Video).

+ View Flash Feature: Remembering STS-107

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