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Thread: Shuttle Challenger: Twenty Years Later

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    suirai
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    Shuttle Challenger: Twenty Years Later



    Shuttle Challenger: Twenty Years Later

    73 seconds into Shuttle Mission 51-L tragedy struck 20 years ago today when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded killing her entire crew of seven, which included school teacher Sharon Christa McAuliffe, on the crew as Payload Specialist 2, but inaugurating the Teacher In Space Program (TISP).

    Shuttle Mission 51-L had gone through a rocky 5 days previous to the launch at 11:38 on Tuesday morning (1:38am early Wednesday morning here in Japan) in 1986 with one delay after another culminating in a final 24-hour delay so a ground servicing equipment hatch closing fixture could be sawed off.

    Two links, if you’re interested:

    51-L Mission Page -- NASA

    About The Shuttle: Challenger (STA-099, OV-99)

    And in memory of the crew:

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    Old Age Is Funny !

    Seems like it was 3, maybe 4 years ago at best. Back then most of us were a lot prouder to be an American it seems.

    Frank

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    I USED TO BE FUNNY, BUT MY WIFE HAD ME NEUTERED!

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    It genuinely saddens me to admit this, but I had forgotten all about the Challenger disaster until I saw a feature on it on the front page of my newspaper on Saturday. I remember watching it live when I was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. Even after viewing the explosion four or five times, I still couldn't beleive what I had seen. More than a few people I had spoken to afterward said they never thought something like that could happen, and yet it had, reinforcing the inherent perils of space flight that will always exist as long as man seeks to reach the stars.
    "It's better to try and fail than to never try at all."
    -Jeffrey C. Branch, crackpot philosopher

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    I remember where I was very clearly when I heard about the disaster. I was in fourth grade, and our teacher called us into the classroom to tell us about it. I remember thinking at the time that it was a tragedy, but having seen the footage again really brought home what a sad event it was. I feel bad for all of the astronauts, but especially for the teacher who was sent up with them. It was to be such a monumentous occasion, but it turned into such a tragic disaster. Remembering that and the Columbia tragedy of two years ago is a very sad thing for me. I just hope that in the future these risks can be brought to near zero.

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    In many respects it seems like only yesterday that this happened. I had my mom tape the news coverage of that day and it concludes with President Reagan's address to the nation that evening. I still have the tape. It felt like a punch to the gut when I heard the news at work.

    One of the astronauts, Judy Resnik, worked at Xerox in Southern California and my cousin worked there in Human Resources. She had to process Judy's paperwork when she left the company and she told me how excited Judy was to have been selected for the astronaut program when she came in to be processed out.

    I attended two shuttle landings at Edwards Air Force Base. The first was on July 4, 1982 when Columbia came in for a landing. Following that, Challenger was lifted off on top of a 747 that flew over the crowd. It was being taken for the first time to Cape Canaveral. The second was for Endeavour's maiden flight.

    Despite the loss of lives, I still feel the space program is the most worthwhile government program there is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmandV
    One of the astronauts, Judy Resnik, worked at Xerox in Southern California and my cousin worked there in Human Resources. She had to process Judy's paperwork when she left the company and she told me how excited Judy was to have been selected for the astronaut program when she came in to be processed out.
    Reading that makes me want to cry. I can take solace in the fact that she was happy with what she was doing when she died, though. We should all be so lucky.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmandV
    Despite the loss of lives, I still feel the space program is the most worthwhile government program there is.
    I agree wholeheartedly. For decades, the space program stimulated so many people into wanting to become astronauts or scientists or explorers. We, as a nation would be all the poorer without the many contributions of NASA.

    On a personal note, I still remember how incredibly cool it was when the very first shuttle that entered service nearly three decades ago was called "Enterprise", and that Gene Roddenberry and the cast from Star Trek was on hand for the ceremony. Dopey as this sounds, but that made me feel extremely proud.

    I for one hope there will always be a space program which will help us discover new frontiers, and continue stimulating the imagination of future pioneers. We owe that to the memory of the Challenger crew.

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