NASA pays homage to its astronauts who lost their lives in fatal accidents during their missions to space on the Remembrance Day.
On January 27, 1967, three NASA astronauts, part of the Apollo mission 1 met, with the mishap which took their lives during the prelaunch test. The Apollo capsule boarded by Veteran astronaut Gus Grissom, first American spacewalker Ed White, and rookie Roger Chaffee caught with a fire during the test in its launch pad. The design of the capsule trapped the astronauts in the burning capsule.
NASA later made major design changes and engineering changes which eventually led to the success of the following Apollo missions.
Another major space tragedy hit America's Shuttle Challenger severely, on the morning of January 28, 1986, taking lives of all seven crewmembers. Challenger's booster engine failed after 73 seconds of the launch thus breaking apart the Shuttle.
The victims of the space disaster included Christa McAuliffe, a social studies teacher at Concord High School in New Hampshire. She has been known as the Teacher in Space Project, the first civilian and educator to fly into space. She had planned to film several demonstrations which were to be used as a part of education packages for students and teachers around the globe.
NASA and Challenger Center plans to conduct several lessons designed by Christa McAuliffe for the space shuttle teacher program.
Space Station crew member Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold who is to reach there this March will film space lessons aboard the International Space Station as planned by McAuliffe. These space station videos will be used in Challenger Learning Centers and classrooms for a hands-on learning experience in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and space exploration.
US President Ronald Reagan eulogized the crew, quoting from the poem "High Flight": "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God."
Space Shuttle Columbia was just 16 minutes away from landing on the morning of February 1, 2003, when it lost its contacts with the Mission Control forever.
A piece of foam which had fallen from the external tank during the launch led to the formation of a hole in the shuttle's wing. This led to the breakup of the shuttle during its re-entry, killing 7 astronauts on the STS-107 mission.
The mishap took the life of Kalpana Chawla, the first woman of Indian Origin to go to space.
US President George W. Bush addressed the nation and said, "Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on."