It’s one of those things that happened and everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing. On January 28, 1986, just 73 seconds after taking flight into the air, the space shuttle Challenger exploded before the eyes of millions. The Challenger disaster took the lives of seven heroes, and now on the 30th anniversary, NASA and many others are remembering them and paying tribute.
At 11:38 a.m. EST, the Challenger took off for a clear blue sky after numerous delays. Many still feel as if it was a doomed mission from the start and shouldn’t have happened, at least not when it did. Seventy-three seconds later, all seven members of its crew had perished.
The Challenger crew consisted of (L-R top row and then bottom row) the following.
- Mission specialist Ellison S. Onizuka
- Teacher-in-space specialist participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe
- Payload specialist Greg Jarvis
- Mission specialist Judy Resnick
- Pilot Mike Smith
- Commander Francis “Dick” Scobee
- Mission specialist Ron McNair
So much has changed since that day back in 1986, and CBS News even reports that the commander’s widow isn’t angry with NASA any longer. June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Francis “Dick” Scobee, who commanded the mission, won’t forget that day at Cape Canaveral, but she isn’t angry.
“I am able now to treat the event as history rather than avoiding the public scrutiny that overcame us during our private grieving. I’m envious when I look back at Dick Scobee’s pictures, and he’s so young, and I’m a great grandmother now!
“It’s also interesting to hear the perspective from my children as adults when they talk about it… I still hear from people who can tell me exactly where they were and what they were doing, if they were old enough, at the time of the accident. And it’s amazing to me. They want to share their story with me. It’s as though they are sharing the experience of their own grief with me.”
NASA plans on paying tribute to the crews of Apollo 1 along with those of the space shuttle Challenger and space shuttle Columbia. There will be a number of other NASA colleagues included in the tribute during the agency’s Day of Remembrance on Thursday, January 28, 2016.
Fox 59 reports that since it will also be the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster on Thursday, NASA will also honor those seven who lost their lives.
NASA will hold an observance on Thursday, and there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony followed by remembrance events at different NASA center for the employees and families of those lost in service to America’s space program.
There will be a good bit of television coverage and documentaries airing on Thursday as well. Please check local times and schedules to make sure it is airing in your area. Beginning today, Wednesday, January 27, NASA is also giving special tribute on its official website.
Beginning at 10 a.m. EST on Thursday, NASA Television will have live coverage of the wreath-laying ceremony at the Space Mirror Memorial.
National Geographic will also be re-airing a new documentary devoted to the space shuttle Challenger disaster. It debuted on January 25, and it is called Challenger Disaster: The Lost Tapes, and it will air again at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. EST on Thursday.
In the documentary, there are interviews, news footage, and even lost footage that was never aired by NASA or anyone else.
Thirty years ago, America suffered a horrible tragedy when the space shuttle Challenger disaster happened, and it exploded in front of millions watching around the world. Tribute and honor is deserved for those that lost their lives and their families, and that’s exactly what will happen on Thursday.
[Image by Oxford Science Archive/Print Collector/Getty Images]