Colonel Ilan Ramon was an Israeli Air Force combat pilot and the first Israeli astronaut to take part in a space mission, the fatal Space Shuttle Columbia mission. Colonel Ramon accumulated over 3,000 flight hours on the A-4, Mirage III-C, and F-4, and over 1,000 flight hours on the F-16. Ramon's journey into space occurred as Israelis continued to suffer through a horrendous period of violence and helped lift the nation's spirits. Ramon was a national hero and a symbol of hope.
This day in History: June 20, 1954- Ilan Ramon, an Israeli fighter pilot in the IDF and the first Israeli astronaut, was born. On February 1, 2003 , Ramon and six other Columbia's crew members were killed in the re-entry accident.
Columbia astronauts: From the left [bottom row], wearing red shirts to signify their shift’s color, are astronauts Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Rick D. Husband, mission commander; Laurel B. Clark, mission specialist; and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist. From the left [top row], wearing blue shirts, are astronauts David M. Brown, mission specialist; William C. McCool, pilot; and Michael P. Anderson, payload commander. IMAGE (AP Photo) (AP Photo) 2-1-13