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For every generation a hero: Remembering Apollo 1, Challenger, & Columbia

29 Jan 2020, 01:56 UTC
For every generation a hero: Remembering Apollo 1, Challenger, & Columbia
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credit: Jaideep Khemani from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

This morning my Google calendar of space history woke me to say that the space shuttle challenger exploded 34 years ago today.

If you are Gen X like me, you remember exactly where you were in 1986 when the Challenger lifted off but failed to reach orbit with a crew of 6 astronauts and one schoolteacher from New Hampshire.

For each of the older generations there has been this kind of a winter disaster. For the boomers, there was the Jan 27, 1967 loss of Apollo 1. The 3-man crew lost their lives during a preflight test when a spark ignited their cabin’s oxygen atmosphere. For Millennials there were was the February 1, 2003 loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated during re-entry.

One of the things we talk about over on CosmoQuest is the simple fact that space is hard. Getting to space is one of the most challenging things a machine with or without humans can accomplish, and the only task that is more challenging is getting to the bottom of the ocean. It is amazing that so few astronauts have died.

This month, we saw the inflight abort ...

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