I actually had finally typed up my maiden tumblr post, when I was reminded of something that happened 25 years ago today…
I was in kindergarten on January 28, 1986 and did not watch the failed STS-51-L mission (Challenger disaster) on television (which can be viewed here on one of NASA’s YouTube channels). Although unaware as a child, I was later informed that my grandparents (who lived in Ohio at the time) knew the parents of Dr. Judith Resnik (upper right in the photo), one of the seven crew members on board and the second American woman to visit space (this was to be her second mission).
Exploration, especially spaceflight, is fraught with costs and risks. The intent of this post isn’t to capitalize on a loss of human life to advance a specific political agenda (NASA funding, privatization of spaceflight, etc…), but to generally recognize that the sacrifices made should not be in vain. We must remember the past in order to create our future, as Reagan said in his eulogy after the disaster: “Today, the frontier is space and the boundaries of human knowledge. Sometimes, when we reach for the stars, we fall short. But we must pick ourselves up again and press on despite the pain.”
“The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’”