about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Dream of Starships

Jean Sexton Writes:

Over the course of these two days, we remember that space travel is not routine and that people have given their lives to allow us to explore that frontier.

On January 27, 1967, three astronauts died in a flash fire while in a test craft sitting on the ground. I remember the mourning, then. The entire nation was shocked at the loss. Astronauts weren't supposed to die on the ground. How could this have happened?

The three astronauts were Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chaffee.

On January 28, 1986, it was just before lunch and I was checking the filing in the card catalog when a student came in and said, "The shuttle blew up." I thought he was joking, but quickly found out it was true. The entire campus was in shock. Shuttle launches had become nearly routine, however this one got heavy media coverage because there was going to be an ordinary teacher heading into space.

The crew consisted of Francis R. "Dick" Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair, Ellison S. Onizuka, Gregory B. Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.

President Reagan said that evening, "We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue."

He was right. We did, and we do.

Gus Grissom said in 1965, "If we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life."

Take a moment in your busy lives to remember the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives in the quest to explore space. Remember the men and women who risk their lives each time that there is a flight.

For we, too, dream of starships.