The Space Shuttle Columbia was lost on February 1, 2003, with her seven crew members, astronauts Commander Richard D. Husband, Pilot William C. McCool, Payload Commander Michael P. Anderson, Mission Specialist 1 David M. Brown, Mission Specialist 2 Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist 4 Laurel Blair Salton Clark and Payload Specialist 1 Ilan Ramon. Captain David Brown, U.S. Navy, was interred in Arlington in Section 46, Grave 1180-3 on March 12, 2003. Captain Laurel Blair Salton Clark, M.D., U.S. Navy, was interred in Section 46, Grave 1180-2 on March 10, 2003. Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson, U.S. Air Force, was interred in Section 46, Grave 1180-1 on March 7, 2003.
On April 16, 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the “Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2003”. The “Columbia Orbiter Memorial Act” is contained in that act, which is now known as Public Law Number 108-11. The Law authorized the Secretary of the Army, in consultation with NASA, to place the memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, accompanied by over 400 family members, former astronauts, and friends dedicated the memorial on February 2, 2004.