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NASA Remembers Fallen Astronauts

STS-51-L crew: (front row) Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair; (back row) Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik. Photo: NASA

NASA will pay tribute to the astronauts lost during the agency’s Day of Remembrance Thursday, 30 years after the Challenger accident.

Seventy-three seconds after launch, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart over the Atlantic Ocean, killing the seven astronauts on board.

It was the 25th flight in the Shuttle program, but after the accident NASA suspended launches for two and a half years.

Senator Bill Nelson flew on the 24th Shuttle flight, Columbia, which landed ten days before Challenger launched from Kennedy Space Center.

“Needless to say, this was a huge shock to the American people,” said Nelson. “All of American’s technical prowess was symbolized in this fantastic flying machine, the Space Shuttle.”

Despite tragedy, Nelson said NASA continues to move forward. “Going back to the numerous training mishaps and deaths we’ve had, and the two space shuttle crews, we are still in that pioneering spirit and we are going to Mars.”

NASA will also remember the three Apollo 1 astronauts who died during a launch pad test in 1967, and the seven Columbia astronauts who perished on re-entry in 2003.

The memorial begins Thursday morning at 10:00 am at the Space Mirror Memorial at Kennedy Space Center, and will air on NASA TV.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »