The brave astronauts waved shyly to the cameras,
Walked in their gear to be taken to the space shuttle
Soon they would be soaring into outer space,
With thunderous blast of engines that roar and rattle.
With no distinction between countries or religions
Space is pure; unscathed, tranquil creation of God,
Where a chosen few have ventured and returned
Packed in the space orbiter, like peas in a pod.
The proud accomplishments of these brave souls,
Pioneers of science, who amongst them had a special bond.
Years of training and dedication at last coming to fruition,
To explore the frontiers of space and worlds beyond.
Seven brave men and women of diverse ethnic mixture
Came together in the mission on board shuttle Columbia
To TV audience they waved floating in zero gravity,
Beaming with pride, showing off their personal insignia.
Among them Ilan Ramon, an Israeli fighter pilot,
Kalpana Chawla, India born, an expert in robotic arm.
They, with the other five members of the crew
Circled the globe, not knowing of any impending harm.
On their return after a jubilant stay of sixteen days,
Concluding a flawless mission, with no failures or scars,
In a sudden explosive accident - they were transported
To the heavens - for their souls to be merged with the stars.
Seven bold scientists, pioneers in discovery of space,
Their Eagle failed to bring them home, failed to land.
But in the realm of the great void of space,
They touched the face of God, protected by His hand.