This is a somber week for those of us in the space business as we pause and reflect on those who we lost. The Space Shuttle Challenger accident happened 30 years ago this week. Below are several links I collected that capture much of what I’m feeling this week.
NASA Day of Remembrance: http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/DOR2016/index.html
New York Times: The Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster, 30 Years Later http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/29/science/space/challenger-explosion-30-year-anniversary.html
NPR: 30 Years After Explosion, Challenger Engineer Still Blames Himself http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/28/464744781/30-years-after-disaster-challenger-engineer-still-blames-himself
NASASpaceFlight.com: The Challenger seven remembered 30 years after STS-51L http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/01/the-challenger-seven-remembered-51l/
Quartz: 30 years ago, NASA lost 7 astronauts in the Challenger explosion. Here’s how it moved forward. http://qz.com/604712/30-years-ago-nasa-lost-7-astronauts-in-the-challenger-explosion-heres-how-it-moved-forward/
For anyone middle age and older, I’m sure you can recall with crystal clarity where you were when news broke that Challenger exploded a little more than a minute into its flight. Either you saw it as it happened, or heard about it moments afterwards. I was newly in graduate school, having arrived at the University of Illinois a little more than a week before the accident. I remember being shocked, seeing the tragedy unfold before my eyes, and deeply saddened about the loss of life, asking myself, “Was it worth it?” President Reagan’s words afterwards convinced me that we needed to move forward while honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. His words helped build a resolve in me such that in a short two years after, I joined the ranks of the men and women who were at the time working to return Shuttles to flight. That’s where I’ve been ever since.