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Ilan Ramon

Ilan Ramon (June 20, 1954 - February 1, 2003) was an astronaut and space shuttle payload specialist of STS-107 (Columbia) who was killed when the craft disintegrated after reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. He was the first astronaut on a NASA flight to request kosher food; because of space constraints, not all the food was certified kosher. Ramon, of Tel Aviv, Israel and Houston, Texas) started astronaut training with NASA in 1997 and was the first Israeli in space.

Air Force Career Ramon was a Colonel and fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force, with thousands of hours flying experience. He fought during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In 1980, he was in the first group of Israeli pilots to fly F-16s. In 1981, he took part in the bombing of Iraq's unfinished Osiraq nuclear reactor. He also flew in the 1982 Lebanon war.

Family Ramon's mother and grandmother survived imprisonment in Germany's Auschwitz death camp during the Holocaust of World War II.

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