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.

Personal: Married.

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.