Space.com has a very poignant article about the three major space disasters that happened to occur around the month of January.
- January 27th, 1967,
routine ground test of the Apollo capsule.
- January 28th, 1986, launch of Space Shuttle Challenger.
- February 1st, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke apart upon re-entry.
The event that sticks in my mind was the Challenger accident … I remember I was at work, at Triad Software, and we had been ribbing a co-worker because her husband had bought her a portable TV for Christmas … we all thought it was silly, but when the event happened … we were all glued to Gwen’s TV with it’s little 2″ screen.
For someone who’s interest in science and technology germinated with the Apollo program, took root with the Skylab program, and started to blossom with the space shuttle program, the Challenger and Columbia events were quite devastating.
I remember my dad letting me stay up late to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing. It made quite an impression on me.
Later, on a family vacation to California, my dad was able to finagle a tour of Rockwell International, which was one of the prime contractors for the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs (my dad worked for a company that provided welding equipment to Rockwell). I saw the tail section the Enterprise as it was being built … but the biggest thrill of that trip was being able to stick my head INSIDE the command module of Apollo 8.
I’m really glad that the US is continuing it’s space program … I just hope there’s enough dedication, curiosity, inspiration, and of course, funding, to keep it going long term. I long for us to put another group of people on the moon.