Today begins a tough week in the history of NASA. All three of NASA’s major accidents have happened between January 27th and February 1st:
January 27, 1967 – Apollo 1 Fire
January 28, 1986 – Challenger (STS-51L) Disaster
February 1, 2003 – Columbia (STS-107) Disaster
Each of these events happened at a different stage of the mission, each of them had their own technical causes, but in my opinion, each was caused by ignoring or accepting some of the risks of spaceflight. After each accident, the people of NASA got together to solve the problem and make human space flight possible again.
As you go about your week today, remember the Apollo 1 Crew: Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee;
the STS-51L Crew: Francis R. Scobee, Michael Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnick, Ronald McNair, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe;
as well as the STS-107 Crew: Rick Husband, William McCool, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon
and the sacrifices they made for knowledge, understanding, and their country. Be proud of the work they have done and be hopeful for the future of spaceflight and of humanity.