Thursday marks a dark day in NASA history.
Families of the astronauts who were killed when the Challenger space shuttle exploded 30 years ago will gather at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to mark the somber anniversary.
Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 72 seconds after launch on Jan. 28, 1986.
Kathie Scobee Fulgham, the daughter of Challenger commander Dick Scobee, will speak. Besides Scobee, Christa McAuliffe, Michael Smith, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka and Gregory Jarvis were also killed.
McAuliffe was poised to become the first schoolteacher in space. Her son Scott and his family are also set to attend the ceremony. Christa’s husband Steven, won’t attend. He has declined interviews to talk about his late wife but did release a statement.
“Challenger will always be an event that occurred just recently. Our thoughts and memories of Christa will always be fresh and comforting.”
NASA has paid tribute to the fallen astronauts by releasing a video online. The space agency has released a number of images of videos to commemorate not just the Challenger crew, but also the fallen crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttle Columbuia as well as others who lost their lives in missions aimed at exploring outer space.
Thursday’s event will honour the Columbia Seven, who died Feb. 1, 2003, along with the three Apollo 1 astronauts killed during a launch pad test on Jan. 27, 1967.
NASA also plans observances at Arlington National cemetery and the Johnson Space Center in Houston.