NASA Marks Day of Remembrance for Challenger, Columbia, Apollo Disasters
The space agency and President Obama pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration.Throughout the storied history of the U.S. space program, which put a man on the moon, sent unmanned satellites into the farthest reaches of our solar system and inspired generations with the heroic deeds of dozens of astronauts, there have been moments of heartbreak. In 1967, three astronauts were killed when a fire broke out in the first Apollo capsule during a prelaunch test; in 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded just 73 seconds after launch, taking the lives of all seven crew members; and in 2003, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated while attempting re-entry into Earth's atmosphere. This week, NASA is honoring their memory with tributes and dedications highlighting the extraordinary courage and valor of those lost. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Jan. 28 laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery as part of the space agency's Day of Remembrance, while President Barack Obama issued a statement commemorating those who have lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration.
"Throughout history, 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," Obama's statement said. "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."