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  STS-51L: Acknowledging the Apollo 1 anniversary

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Author Topic:   STS-51L: Acknowledging the Apollo 1 anniversary
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 28749
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-28-2014 03:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
January 27, 1986 was the 19th anniversary of the loss of the Apollo 1 crew — and it marked the third launch scrub for STS-51L.

Did Challenger's crew or the launch control team ever publicly acknowledge the Apollo 1 anniversary, either ahead of the date or on the day itself?

Did the media note the anniversary as part of its coverage of that day's attempt? (The New York Times coverage of the Jan. 27 scrub makes no mention of it.)

garyd2831
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From: Syracuse, New York, USA
Registered: Oct 2009

posted 01-28-2014 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garyd2831   Click Here to Email garyd2831     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, a very interesting read and sad to note no mention of the Apollo 1 fire.

As I read about the technicians who were addressing the bolt issue, I began to wonder if they ever blamed themselves for the accident? If they were able to fix the bolt issue in time before the winds became a problem, then Challenger would have flown on the 27th and this probably wouldn't have been a discussion.

Ronpur
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From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 01-29-2014 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know President Reagan mentioned it in his speech the night of the 28th. But no idea for the 27th. My CNN vhs tape of the 27th launch attempt has long since been worn out. And there really wasn't much coverage on the 27th.

Fra Mauro
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From: Maspeth, NY
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 02-06-2014 06:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is pretty safe to say that by 1986, the media had pretty much forgotten about Apollo 1.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 28749
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-06-2014 07:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, I don't think so. Remember, present for the STS-51L launch were dedicated space beat reporters; journalists who had covered both the Apollo 1 fire and were soon to witness the loss of Challenger. I've had the chance to get to know several of them from that time and there's no way they forgot the fire.

But I do wonder if the way in which we mark the Apollo 1 anniversary changed as a result of STS-51L. Their remembrances are now linked in part because they were both the loss of astronauts, but also because of where they happened to fall on the calendar.

Related to this, for many years, the Apollo 1 families have gathered at Pad 34 on Jan. 27 to mark the anniversary. When did that tradition begin? Were they there the day before Challenger's ill-fated launch?

Ronpur
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From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 02-06-2014 08:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good question. I have read they have gathered every year since the accident, but on Jan 27, 1986, there was a shuttle fueled a few miles away waiting for launch. Granted the shuttle was to launch in the morning and the memorial would have been in the evening at the time of the accident.

KSCartist
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From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 02-06-2014 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The families began gathering at Pad 34 around 1996 or 1997. A small group of space enthusiasts gathered at Pad 34 a few years before that. The tradition was begun by Mark Pinchal and Bob Castro. The Apollo 1 Memorial Foundation became involved in 1997.

In a related note, this year Betty Grissom announced that this was the last time she will attend.

All times are CT (US)

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