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Forum:Space Events & Happenings
Topic:2011 NASA Day of Remembrance: 25th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy
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At 10:30 a.m., NASA's Kennedy Space Center Director and former astronaut Bob Cabana will take part in a wreath-laying at the Space Mirror Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The ceremony is open to media representatives and the general public.

At NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Center Director Michael L. Coats will be joined by astronaut family members to lay a wreath at the Astronaut Memorial Tree Grove at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 27.

Friday, Jan. 28, marks the 25th anniversary of the Challenger accident. At 9 a.m. EST, the Astronauts Memorial Foundation will hold a remembrance service honoring the STS-51L crew members at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. NASA Television will provide live coverage of the event, which will take place at the visitor complex's Space Mirror Memorial.

Speakers at the event include Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for Space Operations; June Scobee Rodgers, widow of STS-51L Commander Dick Scobee; Robert Cabana, former astronaut and director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center; and Michael McCulley, former astronaut and chairman of the Astronauts Memorial Foundation.

Challenger's seven astronauts died shortly after launch on Jan. 28, 1986. The crew consisted of Commander Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka, and Ronald E. McNair, and Payload Specialists Gregory B. Jarvis and Sharon Christa McAuliffe.

The Astronauts Memorial Foundation, a private, not-for-profit organization, built and maintains the Space Mirror Memorial. The memorial was dedicated in 1991 to honor all astronauts who lost their lives on missions or during training. It since has been designated a National Memorial by Congress.

View an online tribute, including photographs, videos and information about the crew members on Apollo 1 and shuttle Challenger and Columbia.

Robert PearlmanKennedy Space Center Visitor Complex release
Remembrance Ceremony to Mark 25th Anniversary of Space Shuttle Challenger

On Friday, January 28, 2011, at 9:00 a.m., The Astronauts Memorial Foundation will conduct a ceremony to honor the crew of space shuttle Challenger STS-51L in remembrance of the 25th anniversary of the Challenger accident. The Astronauts Memorial Foundation will honor and memorialize all astronauts who have sacrificed their lives for the nation and the space program. The ceremony will be held at the Space Mirror Memorial at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Speakers will include June Scobee Rodgers, Ph.D., widow of space shuttle Challenger Commander Francis R. (Dick) Scobee; Michael J. McCulley, Captain, USN, Ret., Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Astronauts Memorial Foundation and former space shuttle pilot; Robert D. Cabana, Colonel, USMC, Ret., Director, NASA Kennedy Space Center and former space shuttle commander; Rick Soria, 2009 Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award Winner; William H. Gerstenmaier, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations; and Mick Ukleja, Ph.D., member of the Board of Trustees of The Astronauts Memorial Foundation. The Astronauts Memorial Foundation's President, Dr. Stephen Feldman, will moderate the ceremony.

The space shuttle Challenger's crew of seven astronauts died in the explosion of their spacecraft during the launch of STS-51L on January 28, 1986, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew included Commander Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair and Ellison S. Onizuka, Payload Specialist Gregory B. Jarvis and Sharon Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher to fly in space.

The public is invited to attend the service. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will provide flowers for all ceremony guests and visitors throughout the morning to place at the memorial.

The Astronauts Memorial Foundation, a private, not-for-profit organization, built and maintains the Space Mirror Memorial, which was dedicated in 1991 to honor all astronauts who lost their lives on missions or during training and has since been designated a National Memorial by Congress.
Robert PearlmanThe Challenger Center for Space Education, which began in the wake of the loss of space shuttle Challenger, will mark the anniversary of the accident and its founding with a series of events.
On January 28, 1986, our nation lost seven heroes as the Challenger Space Shuttle was destroyed shortly after launch. It was a tragic day, etched in the minds of us all and in the history books of our nation.

And yet tragedy let to triumph, as the families of the astronauts created an educational program to honor the astronauts and inspire the next generation. They formed the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, with a mission to "inspire, explore and learn". Now with a national network of 47 Challenger Learning Centers, the program takes students on simulated missions to space, reaching 400,000 students every year -- over 4,000,000 during our 25 year history.

Join us for a year-long series of events, as we honor the legacy of the Challenger 7 heroes – and celebrate the accomplishments of the Challenger Learning Center network.

    January 28, 2011

  • Astronaut Memorial - Kennedy Space Center
    9-10 a.m. EST: Dr. June Scobee Rodgers (wife of Challenger Commander Dick Scobee) will speak at the Astronaut Memorial

  • Houston Challenger Learning Center - Houston Museum of Natural Science
    9 a.m. - 2 p.m. CST: Media event at the first Challenger Learning Center, started in 1988

  • Challenger Inspires - Live Webcast
    1 - 2 p.m. CST: Live webcast hosted by Miles O'Brien
    • Simulated mission highlights
    • Interviews with students
    • Interactive Q&As for Challenger Learning Centers across America with special guests June Scobee Rodgers, Scott Parazynski, Gerry Griffin, John McCullough and Kevin Kregel
Additionally, local events are being organized at Challenger Learning Centers.
President George H. W. Bush's tribute to Challenger Center

A public service announcement from President George H. W. Bush, in which he pays tribute to Challenger Center's network of Challenger Learning Centers, a living legacy to the memory of the Challenger STS-51L crew.
KSCartistTwenty-five years ago today at my request Judy Resnik wrote and warm hand-written note to my niece encouraging her to "study hard in school. You can do anything you want if you get a good education."

We received the package which included photos and an autographed portrait on Saturday January, 25, 1986. Three days later I decided to volunteer with the Young Astronaut Program.

Robert PearlmanNASA release
Message from the Administrator: Day of Remembrance

The last week of January every year brings us the opportunity to reflect on the sobering realities of our space exploration enterprise. Each time men and women board a spacecraft, their actions carry great risk along with the opportunity for great discoveries and the chance to push the envelope of our human achievement. Today, we honor the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia crews, as well as other members of the NASA family who lost their lives supporting NASA's mission of exploration. We thank them and their families for their extraordinary sacrifices in the service of our nation.

Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Above: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden participates in a wreath laying ceremony as part of NASA's Day of Remembrance, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, at Arlington National Cemetery.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the loss of Challenger -- a tragedy that caused us to completely re-think our systems and processes as we worked to make the shuttle safer. The nation will never forget Jan. 28, 1986, nor its indelible images. The astronauts in that crew were personal friends of mine, as were the astronauts aboard Columbia when it was lost. The Apollo I crew perished while I was studying at the Naval Academy, and I mourned their loss in the line of duty with the nation. These brave men and women will always be a part of us, and we are still building on their legacies.

NASA has learned hard lessons from each of our tragedies, and they are lessons that we will continue to keep at the forefront of our work as we continuously strive for a culture of safety that will help us avoid our past mistakes and heed warnings while corrective measures are possible. In memory of our colleagues, I ask the NASA Family once again to always make its opinions known and to be unafraid to speak up to those in authority, so that safety can always be our guiding principle and the sacrifices of our friends and colleagues will not be in vain.

Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

On this Day of Remembrance, as we honor our fallen heroes with tributes and public ceremonies, I will take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Across the country, flags at NASA Headquarters and the NASA centers will be flown at half-mast in memory of our colleagues lost in the cause of exploration.

The legacy of those who have perished is present every day in our work and inspires generations of new space explorers. Every day, with each new challenge we overcome and every discovery we make, we honor these remarkable men and women. Please join me in working to fulfill their dreams for the future.

Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
NASA Administrator

Robert Pearlman
Statement by Steven J. McAuliffe on the 25th Anniversary of the Challenger Accident

That people across the country steadfastly remember the crew members of Challenger is both comforting and inspirational to our family. Scott, Caroline and I very much appreciate the kind thoughts and continuous support we have received over the years.

Christa confidently and joyfully embraced life, no less than her friends and colleagues on Challenger, and no less than the crews of Columbia, Apollo 1, and all of those people who courageously follow their own paths every day. I know Christa would say that that is the most precious lesson - ordinary people can make extraordinary contributions when they remain true to themselves and enthusiastically pursue their own dreams wherever they may lead. Our family knows that generations of students and teachers will continue to share her love of learning and love of life, and will do great things for our world. We believe Christa would be especially pleased by, and proud of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education and its mission. The Challenger Center honors each crew member’s devotion to learning and exploration, touching the lives of over 400,000 students and 40,000 teachers each year. In that way, Challenger Center continues the teaching mission of all the crew members of STS-51-L.

About Steven J. McAuliffe:
Originally from Massachusetts, Steven McAuliffe now lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he serves as a Federal judge. He is the widower of Christa McAuliffe, NASA's Teacher in Space candidate. Steve continues to serve as a Founding Director for Challenger Center for Space Science Education. He has two children, Scott and Caroline, and has remarried.
Robert PearlmanThe White House release
Statement by the President on NASA Day of Remembrance

Fifty years ago, a young President facing mounting pressure at home propelled a fledgling space agency on a bold, new course that would push the frontiers of exploration to new heights. Today, on this Day of Remembrance when NASA reflects on the mighty sacrifices made to push those frontiers, America’s space agency is working to achieve even greater goals. NASA’s new 21st Century course will foster new industries that create jobs, pioneer technology innovation, and inspire a new generation of explorers through education – all while continuing its fundamental missions of exploring our home planet and the cosmos.

Throughout history, however, we have seen that achieving great things sometimes comes at great cost and we mourn the brave astronauts who made the ultimate sacrifice in support of NASA missions throughout the agency’s storied history. We pause to reflect on the tragic loss of the Apollo 1 crew, those who boarded the space shuttle Challenger in search of a brighter future, and the brave souls who perished on the space shuttle Columbia.

Through triumph and tragedy, each of us has benefited from their courage and devotion, and we honor their memory by dedicating ourselves to a better tomorrow. Despite the challenges before us today, let us commit ourselves and continue their valiant journey toward a more vibrant and secure future.

Originally posted by KSCartist:
Twenty-five years ago today at my request Judy Resnik wrote and warm hand-written note to my niece encouraging her to "study hard in school. You can do anything you want if you get a good education.
I very much hope that you will post a a scan of the letter on this board sometime. Would love to see it. It is to be truly treasured.
perineauI hope that in the future the original Gemini 9 crew of Charles Bassett and Elliot See who lost their lives on February 28, 1966 in a plane crash will also be included in the remembrance day...
spacefan JC.
issman1Not forgotten.
space4uAnyone have the link for when the Columbia STS-107 crew spoke to the ISS crew on orbit about the anniversary of the Challenger accident? Been looking online for it and no luck yet.

On edit: I guess I'm answering my own question as I found it in my computer's bookmarks. So here it is to share with all.


(Moment of silence for all the US missions lost)

GoesTo11Can't believe it's been a quarter century... it seems like yesterday to me.

I was in England at the time (Air Force brat), so for me it happened in the middle of the afternoon. I got home from school, turned on "the Beeb", and there was that horrific "Y" of exhaust. Being a space geek, I immediately knew two things: What had happened (Though of course not how or why), and that they were all gone.

Just taking some time from a busy day to reflect and honor not just the Challenger Seven, but all the astronauts and cosmonauts who have made the "ultimate sacrifice" in the course of expanding humanity's horizons.

ASCAN1984The BBC has a great article: The shuttle disaster that shook the world
Twenty five years ago the Challenger space shuttle broke apart over a minute after its launch, killing all seven on board. It was both a tragedy and profoundly shocking event, the consequences of which are still being felt today.

Seventy three seconds was all it took.

Dave Clow.
ASCAN1984As we all know this time of year is the saddest. Our attention turns to not just STS-51L, STS-107 and Apollo 1 but all those who have died in the exploration of space.

This has made me think, has anyone here ever met or spoken to one of the fine people who appear on the Space Mirror Memorial? It would be wonderful to hear your stories and experiences.

Originally posted by perineau:
I hope that in the future the original Gemini 9 crew of Charles Bassett and Elliot See who lost their lives on February 28, 1966 in a plane crash will also be included in the remembrance day...
I agree with you whole heartedly. The issue (as far as the public/media are concerned) is that they didn't perish in their spacecraft or during the execution of their mission.

Even if you visit the AMF website their names are listed alphabetically as opposed to being listed with the Command Pilots name first.

The only place they are recognized properly is on the memorial itself.

So it is up to us when given the opportunity to remember them properly. This February 28th will be the 45th anniversary of their loss. Contact your local media. Email them a photo of the original Gemini 9 crew. Explain to them how history was changed because they died.

FFrenchAt the San Diego Air & Space Museum on Friday.

blue_eyesIn honor of all of our space heroes, I'd like to share this link to a poem I wrote a year after the Columbia tragedy. The poem is called "Immortal" and became part of the liner notes to my "Columbia: We Dare to Dream" CD.


Originally posted by ASCAN1984:
I very much hope that you will post a a scan of the letter on this board sometime.

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