Bad Week for NASA

By | Jan 28, 2016

Yesterday I wrote about the fiery death of the first three NASA Astronauts to die in the United State’s quest for Space. I didn’t realize then how close together the three major Space Accidents actually occurred.

The first happened on January 27, 1967 when afire in the command module sitting atop a Saturn IB rocket, just weeks before the first manned Apollo mission was set to blast-off killed three astronauts. Command Pilot Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward Higgins White, II and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee.

Nineteen years later the Space Shuttle Challenger as being the first shuttle to be destroyed, when it exploded 1 minute 13 seconds into its flight on January 28, 1986. Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Commander, Michael J. Smith, pilot, mission specialist Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka and Ronald McNair, payload specialist Gregory B. Jarvis and teacher Sharon Christa McAuliffe, all of the members of its crew, lost their lives that day.

Then in 2003 on February 1st there was the last space shuttle accident. On re-entry Columbia broke apart in flames about 203,000 feet over Texas. This was 16 minutes before it was supposed to touch down in Florida. All seven aboard were killed: William McCool, Rick Husband, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark and Ilan Ramon, who was Israel’s first astronaut.

Technically none of these died in space. They all died within the Earth’s atmosphere, either on the ground, during take-off or re-entry. The beginning of space is defined at 100km.

I hope that everyone will take a few moments between January 27th and February 1st, this year and every year, to think about those who gave their lives in Space Exploration.


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