In the weeks leading up to his second space shuttle mission, Rick was busy and isolated. He was busy with an intense preflight schedule of training and planning. He was isolated by the required isolation of pre-flight quarantine which separated him from his wife (Evelyn) and two children (Laura – 13 and Matthew – 8). During a pre-flight NASA interview he was asked "Outside of your time with NASA, what's been your most enjoyable time or experience in life?" His response revealed his heart:
"Well, I think apart from NASA, the most enjoyable part of my life has been my time with my family. And, if you think about, probably the pinnacle or the most exciting or memorable events, I would say probably my marriage and then the birth of our two children, and being there with my wife, and just the awesome experience of seeing a baby come into the world. And just being so overwhelmed with God's goodness in blessing us with two wonderful children."1
His response explains why, knowing that his coming mission was 17 days long, he diligently prepared 17 personal one-on-one video devotions for each of his kids.
The Space Shuttle roared into the skies at 10:39 AM Thursday, January 16, 2003. A successful mission was completed on February 1, 2003. Finally the payload bay doors were closed and latched, all seven astronauts including Rick Husband were dressed and ready in their orange launch and entry suits. At 8:18 AM the Columbia's braking rockets were fired and at 8:44 AM Columbia entered the upper fringes of Earths atmosphere at approximately 14,757 Miles per hour.2 A crack in the shielding on the left wing caused catastrophic failure of the craft. The entire crew was lost. The video devotions which Rick Husband had left his children changed in an instant from a gift into a treasure.3
Sometimes you might have thought (as I have), "I wish one of the apostles or God himself would come and tell me