Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia

January 27-28 is a day of remembrance for the 17 astronauts who died in three separate accidents. NASA’s memorial service is scheduled for Friday at 9am (Eastern) and will air on NASA TV. At Lofty Ambitions, we remember those astronauts who sacrificed their lives in the American space program.

Apollo 1 Crew

Those who perished in a fire during a routine test of Apollo 1 on January 27, 1967:

VIRGIL “GUS” GRISSOM

EDWARD WHITE, II

ROGER CHAFFEE

Grissom and Chaffee are buried next to each other at Arlington National Cemetery. White is buried in New York.

The Roger B. Chaffee Scholarship Fund supports college attendance for a high school graduate in Kent County, Michigan, where Chaffee grew up; the fund has awarded scholarships to 43 students. Gus Grissom has a library in New Jersey and an airport in Indiana named after him. A hospital in Florida is named after Edward White.

STS-51L Challenger Crew

Earlier this week, we had dinner with two people who testified during the Presidential Commission that investigated the Challenger accident. (Their guest blogs are here and here.) We were in college in 1986.

Those who lost their lives as a result of the Challenger explosion during launch on January 28 of that year:

FRANCIS “DICK” SCOBEE

MICHAEL J. SMITH

JUDITH RESNIK

RONALD MCNAIR

ELLISON ONIZUKA

GREGORY JARVIS

S. CHRISTA MCAULIFFE

Scobee and Smith are interred in Arlington National Cemetery. The commingled remains of the crew are also buried under a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. McNair is buried in South Carolina, Onizuka is buried in Hawaii, and McAuliffe is buried in New Hampshire. The remains of Jarvis and of Resnick were cremated, their ashes scattered at sea

The Christa McAuliffe Center at Framingham State University continues to support science and math teachers, and the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center strives to educate all ages in the sciences and humanities. The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program provides grants to prepare students for doctoral study. The Women’s Network offers the Judith Resnik Scholarship to Northeast Ohio high school women graduates to pursue college studies in science and math. The Challenger Center for Space education in Texas was founded by family members of the crew.

STS-107 Columbia Crew

Those who perished as a result of the Columbia accident during reentry on February 1, 2003:

RICK HUSBAND

WILLIAM MCCOOL

MICHAEL P. ANDERSON

ILAN RAMON

KALPANA CHAWLA

DAVID M. BROWN

LAUREL CLARK

Anderson, Brown, and Clark are buried next to each other at Arlington National Cemetery. Husband is buried in Texas, McCool is buried in Washington, and Ramon is buried in Israel. Chawla’s remains were cremated.

An Article of Hope, a recent documentary directed by our Guest Blogger Chris Cowen, chronicles the life and legacy of Ilan Ramon. The Ilan Ramon Center ecourages students interested in the sciences. The University of Colorado gives the Kalpana Chawla Award to alums with significant achievements within ten years of graduation. Lamping Elementary School has developed the William McCool Science Center. Earth Camp at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum honors the legacy of Laurel Clark.

President Obama wrote, “Today, on this Day of Remembrance when NASA reflects on the mighty sacrifices made to push those frontiers, America’s space agency is working to achieve even greater goals.  NASA’s new 21st Century course will foster new industries that create jobs, pioneer technology innovation, and inspire a new generation of explorers through education – all while continuing its fundamental missions of exploring  our home planet and the cosmos.” Read the whole statement here.

For more information on NASA’s Day of Remembrance and the three crews who lost their lives while working as astronauts, visit here.

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