People think it’s fun to be an astronaut. Getting to live in outer space, exploring new worlds and gliding around in zero gravity are things we wanted to do at some point in our lives (presumably when we were little). But the harsh truth is things don’t always go according to plan, and sometimes astronauts get injure, or die.
For the first time in recorded history NASA is now opening a memorial exhibit for fallen astronauts, so that future generations can remember their courage, sense of wonder, and ultimate sacrifice.
For the project, called ‘Forever Remembered’, NASA worked in collaboration with the families of no less than 14 men and women who met an untimely end while onboard Challenger, a shuttle from 1986, and while onboard Columbia more recwntky, in 2003. The exhibit displays pictures and personal mementos, as well as the first ever look at wreckage from both of the orbiters.
The exhibit opened earlier this month, with its host being the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Florida). The location is a fitting one, as Forever Remembered’ can be found right next to space agency’s exhibit ‘30-year Space Shuttle Program’.
Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, gave a statement stressing that the unfortunate stories of the crews from Challenger and Columbia are forever ongoing. He went on to explain that “It is the story of humankind’s evolving journey into space, the unknown, and the outer-reaches of knowledge, discovery and possibility. It is a story of hope”.
The memorial spans over almost 2.000 square feet, and wants to get people to reflect on the events every bit as much as it wants them to celebrate the lives of the brave men and women who’ve dies, as well as their space vehicles.
On January 28, 1986, the crew of the Challenger was entirely killed off and shuttle breaking apart and spliting, within 73 seconds after having liftoff. The crew for the Challenger included Francis “Dick” Scobee, a commander, Michael Smith, the pilot, Ronald McNair, Gregory Jarvis, a satellite enegeneer, and Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire teacher
In the case of Columbia, the crew died most unfortunately – during re-entry, just as they were almost home, on February 1, 2003. Their spacecraft had suffered wing damage after falling foam insulation while launching the shuttle. The crew form Columbia included Rick Husband, a commander, William “Willie” McCool, the pilot, David Brown, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla and Laurel Clark a
Mike Ciannilli, NASA’s leader for the Forever Remembered, gave a statement revealing that the exhibit is in fact a very important one for the crew members who lost their lives. He said that they were very friendly, giving, gracious, inspiring when approached about the project. He stresses that they even provided comfort for him while he worked on the project, and still offer it.
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