Michael P. Anderson, 43, payload commander.
Career: Air Force lieutenant colonel. Selected by NASA in 1994. In 1998, flew on Endeavour.
Family: Married, two daughters.
Space story: Liked to toss M&Ms in the shuttle cabin and have other astronauts try to catch them with their mouths.
David M. Brown, 46, mission specialist.
Career: Navy captain, pilot and doctor. This was his first shuttle mission.
Family: Single; his parents live in Virginia.
Space story: Grew up in Arlington, Virginia, and went to Yorktown High School. He took the school's flag with him on Columbia.
Kalpana Chawla, 41, mission specialist.
Career: Became an astronaut in 1994 and flew on Columbia in 1997, when she worked the shuttle's robotic arm.
Space story: Every year she brought two students from her home town of Karnal, India, to visit her at NASA.
Laurel Blair Salton Clark, 41, mission specialist.
Career: Worked as a doctor aboard submarines. Became an astronaut in 1996. This was her first shuttle mission.
Personal: Married, one son.
Space story: She once showed a video of her in training to a group of students. In the video, she seemed to be surfing through the air on the back of another astronaut.
Rick D. Husband, 45, shuttle commander.
Career: Became NASA astronaut in 1994. In 1999 he piloted the shuttle that docked for the first time
with the international space station.
Family: Married, one son and one daughter.
Space story: Remembered watching space mission from the time he was 4 years old. "I was in front of the TV" for every launch.
William C. McCool, 41, pilot.
Career: Navy commander. Worked as a test pilot in Patuxent River, Maryland. Selected by NASA in 1996.
Family: Married, three sons.
Space story: A graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, he landed more than 400 times on aircraft carriers.
Ilan Ramon, 48, payload specialist.
Career: He was Israel's first astronaut.
Family: Married, four children.
Space story: His main mission aboard the shuttle was filming sandstorms over the Sahara Desert.