January 27, 2011

NASA Events To Honor Lost Astronauts

January 28 will mark the 25th anniversary of the Challenger Space Shuttle accident.

At 9:00 a.m. EST, the Astronauts Memorial Foundation will hold a remembrance service honoring the STS-51L crew members at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. NASA-TV will provide live coverage of the event, which will take place at the visitor complex's Space Mirror memorial.

Speakers at the event will include Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for Space Operations; June Scobee Rodgers, widow of STS-51L Commander Dick Scobee; Robert Cabana, former astronaut and director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center; and Michael McCulley, former astronaut and chairman of the Astronauts Memorial Foundation.

Challenger's seven astronaut-crew died shortly after launch on January 28, 1986. The crew consisted of Commander Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka, Ronald E. McNair, Payload Specialists Gregory B. Jarvis and schoolteacher Sharon Christa McAuliffe.

The Space Mirror Memorial was built and is maintained by the Astronauts Memorial Foundation -- a private, not-for-profit organization. The memorial was dedicated in 1991 to honor all astronauts who lost their lives on missions or during training. It has since been designated a National Memorial by Congress.

Kennedy Space Center, Florida, will observe NASA's Day of Remembrance on January 27 and the 25th anniversary of the accident on January 28.

On the 27th, the general public is invited to a wreath-laying ceremony at 10:30 a.m. EST at the Space Mirror Memorial at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Kennedy Center Director and former astronaut Bob Cabana will take part in the ceremony.

NASA's Day of Remembrance honors members of the NASA family who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery, including the astronaut crews of Apollo and shuttles Challenger and Columbia.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver will lay a wreath at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia at 10:00 a.m. EST, Thursday, Jan. 27, to commemorate the agency's National Day of Remembrance.

At NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Center Director Michael L. Coats will be joined by astronaut family members to lay a wreath at the Astronaut Memorial Tree Grove at 11:30 a.m. on January 27.


Image Caption: The iconic image of Space Shuttle Challenger's smoke plume after its breakup 73 seconds after launch. The accident caused the death of all seven crew members of the STS-51-L mission. Credit: NASA Kennedy Space Center


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