NASA’s Day of Remembrance was celebrated yesterday. During the day, a lot of people and administrations in the United States took time to reflect on the losses that happened until the present. The most famous losses involved the Apollo 1, Columbia and Challenger and all three of them occurred in the period between January and February.
During January 27 1967, Ed White, Roger Chaffee and Virgil Gus Grissom who were astronauts on the Apollo 1 died because of an accident. They were actually trying to do a prelaunch test when suddenly a fire was started in the command module. The Apollo missions were stopped for approximately one year, while the engineers made the necessary changes to the spacecraft. The next mission on the spacecraft in 1969 was the one that took Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong to the moon. White, who was famous for being the first American to spacewalk during the Gemini 4 mission was buried at the West Point Cemetery and his two other colleagues were buried at the Arlington National Cemetery.
The next tragedy involving NASA astronauts happened 20 years later, on January 28 1986. Only 73 seconds after the space shuttle called Challenger was flying, the shuttle was destroyed after the right rocket booster failed. Every single person that was on the space shuttle died. Among them was Sharon Christa McAuliffe, who was supposed to be the first civilian that goes to space. After the accident occurred, NASA was criticized and was accused of sending the Challenger into space, even though it was not ready. What remained of the shuttle was grounded for two years after the accident occurred and the Endeavour was developed to replace the Challenger.
The space shuttle called Colombia was sent on a mission that lasted for 16 days, but while it was returning to the Earth, the shuttle was lost in the East Texas area. After an investigation that lasted for seven months, the NASA specialist discovered that the accident was caused by a foam piece that fell from the external tank when the shuttle entered the atmosphere. The piece of foam caused a hole in one of the shuttle’s wings and the persons who went on that mission were found dead. Only 38% of the space shuttle was discovered.
NASA’s Day of Remembrance was celebrated yesterday and the anniversary of the Apollo 1 accident two days ago. People like Grissom, Chaffee and White should always be remembered and the tragedies should be remembered as much as the successes.
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