The Challenger Explosion commemorates 30 years since the disaster took the lives of seven people that didn’t even make it into space. The Challenger expedition was set on making history with taking the first teacher into space. Sadly, the crew made it into the history books because of a different reason.
The National Aeronautics and Space Agency declared the 7th of February as its official Remembrance Day. They have chosen the date of the Challenger explosion because it was, and still remains the biggest disaster in the history of the Space Agency.
Thad Altman, CEO at the Memorial Foundation for Astronauts declared in a statement that space explorations are a mean of fulfilling one’s destiny. He named it a “divine mission” because it spreads light upon all that God created. In other words, astronauts are pioneers in a field that answers so many questions about the human condition. They are the avant-garde of science and technological progress.
On the 7th of February 1986, the shuttle Challenger was ready to fly its first mission into space. The crew, Christa McAuliffe (the first teacher that should have went into space), Francis Scobee (mission commander and astronaut), Mike J. Smith (pilot), Gregory Jarvis (payload specialist), Judith A. Resnik (astronaut and mission specialist), Ronald E. McNair (mission specialist) and Ellison Onizuka (mission specialist).
Only a few seconds above a minute, the shuttle’s engine started to malfunction and it lead to the explosion that destroyed the pod entirely. At first, people thought that low cabin pressure spared the crew of the horror of knowing they were going to die, but NASA discovered that all seven of them were alive and conscious at the time of the explosion.
The commemorations for the seven members of the Challenger expedition were held today, the 7th of February in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Christa McAuliffe’s family did not attend any Challenger memorials until now, so that makes this 30 year’s commemoration all the more special.
But Remembrance Day is not only meant for the Challenger crew, but also for the brave men that lost their lives on the Apollo 1 mission.
At the time, there were three astronauts in the capsule. Ed White, Roger Chaffee and Virgil Grissom, also known as Gus. The capsule they were testing caught fire and they didn’t manage to escape in time to save their lives.
There were other astronauts that died in terrible accidents throughout NASA’s history. And all of them deserve to be remembered and praised for their bravery. Because as Thad Altman said, the mission of an astronaut is a divine mission.
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