Col. Ilan Ramon perished alongside the six other astronauts on board the ill-fated Columbia when it burned up on Feb. 1, 2003.

The first Israeli astronaut, former fighter pilot Ilan Ramon, goes into outer space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia on January 16.

Tragically, he and his six crewmates perished on February 1, 2003, when Columbia broke apart during reentry into the atmosphere over Texas. However, Ramon’s achievement inspired people in Israel and beyond, sparking heightened interest in Israel’s potential role in space exploration.