January 28 marks the 29th anniversary of the devastating Challenger space shuttle tragedy that claimed precious lives of seven astronauts. Space agency NASA has decided to revere January 28 as an act of honoring the astronauts and crews who lost their lives during different space missions.
On this special day of remembrance, various ceremonies are being organized through different sites by NASA officials. Apart from the seven astronauts from Challenger space shuttle, NASA would like pay homage to all three crewmembers who were the victims of Apollo 1 fire in 1967 and also to those seven crews who lost their lives in 2003 when shuttle Columbia broke into pieces while returning to Earth.
Charles Bolden, the NASA administrator along with other officials, will be holding an observance in the Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. Different other centers of NASA, situated in Florida and Alabama will also be paying their tribute by hosting candle lighting ceremony, confirmed NASA officials in a statement.
Apollo 1 fire tragedy happened on Jan. 27, 1967 claiming lives of crew members Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, who were testing the space vehicles.
The next unfortunate event NASA faced was the tragedy of Challenger space shuttle, exactly 19 years and one day after Apollo 1 fire accident. This devastating accident took lives of Dick” Scobee, Ronald McNair, Mike Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Judy Resnik, Greg Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe. Challenger met with the accident right after 73 seconds of its journey.
Following this tragedy, for three long years NASA stopped sending space shuttles. In September 1988, the exploration began again with the STS-26 mission. Shuttle Discovery was sent on this mission.
Then the infamous tragedy of Columbia took place on Feb.1, 2003. After successful completion of 16 day mission to space, upon its reentry into the atmosphere of Earth, Columbia broke into pieces killing Rick Husband, Willie McCool, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, David Brown, Michael Anderson and Ilan Ramon.
Apart from NASA, also renowned astronaut Sam Cristoforetti from the European Space Agency paid tribute to the astronauts and crewmembers who lost their lives for the sake of further exploration and discovery.
“May the memory of such a dark time in our past enlighten the future with wisdom and compassion”, Sam Cristoforetti twitted.