NASA's Tragedies - Remembering Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia

I wasn't born yet when the Apollo 1 fire occurred, so I can't speak to that. But I lived near Cocoa Beach, FL when the Challenger exploded. I was only in sixth grade, but many times our teachers would let us go outside to watch the launches if they knew that one was happening that day.

That day my class wasn't able to do that, but when we heard that something had happened to the shuttle on liftoff we were all thunderstruck. Somehow, in our minds, the shuttle was safe. Accidents like that didn't happen. Even the teachers didn't seem to know what to do or say. My teacher decided to have a radio on in class, but with the volume turned down, and have someone sit near it so that if there was an update they could turn it up so everyone could hear. Somehow I got that task for the day. I listened in as the radio news stations struggled to figure out what happened, and had scant little to report on as the day went by.

I can't imagine how hard it would have been for anyone working with the astronauts at the time to deal with a tragedy like these. Thank you for that insight, painful as those memories must be.

I hate to break this to you but the first woman in space was russian named:
Valentina Tereshkova

Let's not forget countless near-tragedies like Apollo 13.

I've lived in Florida the majority of my life and was in Melbourne at the time of the Challenger tragedy and Gainesville the day Columbia made its fatal return entry. I wasn't old enough to really understand what I saw with Challenger, being only 5 years old but I still remember watching the takeoff and asking why there were fireworks going off. With Columbia I actually witnessed its burnup on TV, and felt the pain of its loss profoundly. I've always been a proponent of space exploration and NASA in general but also have felt and still do feel that there should be much more universal cooperation between nations in this as I feel it is our species' future and the key to breaking down the last cultural barriers.
I also feel things have kind of stagnated in the recent past and wonder what the overall direction of space exploration is, because it seems we don't take an interest as much as we used to despite these missions to Mars and other undertakings. I feel we should be much further along, but thats probably viewed through the prism of my own upbringing in and around Kennedy Space Center.

Yeah, the January 28th one?

I was born minutes before it blew up, so I'm convinced that I stole all the souls on board so that I may live.

My bad. So going to hell.

Seriously though, NASA missions have always fascinated me and it's amazing to me that a good portion of them go off without too much trouble seeing as all the amount of shit that can go horribly wrong. I do remember the 2003 one though, I was a junior in high school and I remember watching and talking about the whole thing in my history class. What's amazing to be is that the drive into space hasn't halted and people still want to go up despite the tragedies, and that's something that should be more celebrated.

I love that in these and the facebook comments, you immediately get people trying to prove themselves by pointing out little inconsequential inaccuracies in the article, not once commenting on what a beautiful, emotional and though provoking piece it is.

Ashamed to be a "geek" right now.

Hey guys, thanks for reading. Just to clear up a couple points. The story is from a NASA perspective and Sally Ride was the first woman in space from NASA. You are indeed correct about the Russians beating us there, as they did in several things except a moon landing.

As for Apollo 13, that is mentioned in the article, but I prefer to think if that as a victory as no precious lives were lost.

On another note I'd like to extend a helluva lot of respect for NASA as we've never actually lost someone outside of the Earth's atmosphere, only on takeoff and during reentry. Thats a helluva feat considering all the crap that could go wrong up there (and did with Apollo 13 and we still managed to bring them back).

John, thank you for this somber, yet proud reminder of our treasured history of exploration, and those who died pursuing it.

Verlander:
I love that in these and the facebook comments, you immediately get people trying to prove themselves by pointing out little inconsequential inaccuracies in the article, not once commenting on what a beautiful, emotional and though provoking piece it is.

Ashamed to be a "geek" right now.

Considering it goes on about how amazing NASA is and how tragic the losses are then takes credit from other nations and makes no mention of people from other nations that have also made the same sacrifice I think it's quite fair for him to be called out. Alot of us are sick of the US rewriting history to make itself look good.

That said, quite a moving article and an interesting insight from someone closer to the events as I've only seen the 2 shuttle disasters on TV from the other side of the planet and didn't have the emotional impact. To be honest I'm surprised there wasn't another shuttle disaster, those machines were ancient and go through the most hostile environments with every trip it's a miracle another Columbia didn't happen. I know when I watched the last launch of the Atlantis it was a concern in the back of my mind due to how it's launch played out similar the the 2 disasters (as the Atlantis was originally going to be retired earlier but was pushed on for a few more launches). Must say the launch was an event I'll never forget, those that got to see it regularly (NASA or any nations rocket launches) are very lucky indeed.

RicoADF:

Considering it goes on about how amazing NASA is and how tragic the losses are then takes credit from other nations and makes no mention of people from other nations that have also made the same sacrifice I think it's quite fair for him to be called out. Alot of us are sick of the US rewriting history to make itself look good.

Look at the title of this thread. Of course it's going to be about NASA and NASA things. You completely missed the point of the article, as did a few others.

the doom cannon:

Look at the title of this thread. Of course it's going to be about NASA and NASA things. You completely missed the point of the article, as did a few others.

I did and the title screams 'remember the American heroes' because apparently only American tragedies count. I get it that due to the week having the anniversary of 3 disasters was the point of the article, however a simple mention of the others lost in the same cause of exploration would have been appropriate and respectful rather than utterly ignoring them.

I wasn't born for the first two incidents mentioned but I was 12 (I think) when the third one happened, I think I would have been in Grade 6 or Grade 7 when it happened but I'm not sure I really remember when it happened, my memory isn't so good anymore, I do remember the news stories though about the second one. It always seemed like that teacher going into space was a really big deal

That poem was absolutely beautiful. Brought a tear to my eye.

NASA's Tragedies - Remembering Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia

Through all its triumphs, the American space agency has had its dark days. This week marks three anniversaries where 17 lives were lost. John Keefer was there for each of them, and recalls the impact on his NASA family.

Read Full Article

"We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth' to 'touch the face of God.'" - Reagan

I don't believe in god, but that doesn't change the tear in my eye, nor the power of the sentiment. Brave souls all.

 

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