Remembering the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident

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January 28, 2011 by Janna Roznos

Twenty- five years ago today, on January 28th , the Space Shuttle Challenger Space Shuttle blew up 73 seconds in to its ascent.  For most people, this is just the last Friday of January but for some of us – who have been raised on a steady diet of science fiction, believe in the future of space exploration  and who grew up in Southern California during the ‘70’s and ‘80’s (where the Space Shuttle was built) -January 28th is a sad day. 

I remember reading about how every generation has a ‘failure of technology’.  The technology that we depend on and are proud of fails: the Titanic crashing into an iceberg was such a technology failure, the Apollo 1, on January 27, 1967, was such a failure (it caught on fire on the pad) and, of course, the Space Shuttle Challenger and years later the Space Shuttle Columbia.

 Recently I had a conversation with these two men who had been in WWII.   They spoke of Pearl Harbor, where the Japanese bombed the American province, Hawaii, and how that event changed their lives on December 7, 1941.  But they lamented that no one anyone remembers Pearl Harbor any more. December 7th is just another day.  As they discussed that this important day is now assigned to history, I thought about how as time passes what affects and changes for one generation becomes history for the next.

 In 1981, I could not believe what I was seeing:  the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding.  The silence in the office as we all stared at the TV screen was intoxicating.  As we looked at each other wanting someone to tell us what had just happened one of my co-workers, who I have forgotten his name, reached over and grabbed my hand, then someone took my other hand and the silence that seemed to wash over us evaporated and we all began to talk.

Now this day is simply assigned to history? I remember as I am sure others do too.


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