Friday, January 29, 2010

God Bless 'em All

January 28, 1986 – Space Shuttle Challenger explodes after launch, killing the entire crew. American’s stared in shock at their televisions watching the Challenger accident in full motion video.

The 35th Challenger’s flight had been previously scheduled for January 22, but delayed because of bad weather, high winds and icicles on the launch apparatus. Never had there been a launch approved in freezing weather conditions, but NASA had assured the public that the conditions were safe. They were anxious to launch due to economic considerations and scheduling backlogs.

Political pressure has been suggested as well due to NASA’s heavy publicizing of Christa McAuliffe as the first school teacher in space. She had been selected under a highly competitive process from among 10,000 entries for the opportunity. The Challenger disaster was a severe blow to the American space program, bringing manned flights to a halt for many years. It was also a blow to the American public who had come to think of the Space Shuttle as an important symbol of national identify.

Speaking before the launch, Christa McAuliffe said: “One of the things I hope to bring back into the classroom is to make that connection with the students that they too are part of history, the space program belongs to them and to try to bring them up with the space age.”

I've learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences

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