Honoring the Challenger crew
NASA administrator Charles Bolden lays a wreath during a remembrance ceremony Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery.
January 28th, 2011
08:59 AM ET

Honoring the Challenger crew

A special ceremony is taking place at the Kennedy Space Center's visitor complex this morning. Members of the NASA family and the public will gather to honor those who died aboard space shuttle Challenger.

Twenty-five years ago the STS-51L crew boarded Challenger for a six-day flight. It was just after liftoff when things went wrong. Challenger was in the air for 73 seconds before the orbiter exploded.

June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Cmdr. Dick Scobee, will be one of many speakers honoring her husband and the members of his crew.

This mission was to take the first teacher, Christa McAuliffe, up into space. Her widow, Steven McAuliffe, released a statement saying that his family finds it "comforting and inspirational" that people across the country continue to remember his wife and her Challenger crew members.

The astronauts on the flight with Scobee and McAuliffe were pilot Michael Smith, mission specialists Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka and Ronald McNair; and payload specialist Gregory Jarvis.

According to investigators' findings, the cause of the explosion was an O-ring that failed in one of the solid rocket boosters. Cold weather was cited as a contributing factor.

The ceremony is taking place in front of The Space Mirror Memorial. This memorial lists the names of 24 U.S. astronauts who lost their lives while exploring space.

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Filed under: Florida • Shuttle • Space
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. snott

    it seems so long ago, i remember thinking that at the time this is the worst tragedy that america had experienced since john Kennedy died,

    January 29, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Jesus

      I think that the loss of Liberace was much more impactful.

      January 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    The best way to honor the lives sacrificed in space is to list the famous and great things they did to the betterment of mankind. Do we not praise the good things loved ones did with their lives at funerals? Missing from these posts is an accounting of all the famous and good things NASA has done to better mankind and help solve the enormous problems we face. Someone PLEASE convince me these lives were not sacrificed in vain.

    January 29, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Steven Durham

    The challenger tragedy is one of those events in which you'll always remember where you were when you first heard about it. I was with my best friend at a Pizza Parlor playing the Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ they had installed there for entertaining the patrons. He was a staff organist. They were closed and the pizza kitchen workers had a radio playing in the kitchen when the news of the Challenger explosion came over the radio broadcast. One of the workers immediately came out and informed us of the news and we all sat and listened to the tragedies aftermath unfold on the radio. It was devastating to the nation and was a story the media took on seriously. I'll never forget the events of that morning,

    January 29, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. jesushater

    people die i get wary from all the thoughts and prayers offered by everybody and there grandma when something bad happens mind you damn biss

    January 30, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. The two witnesses

    We found them, so should you!
    The 2 witnesses spoken of in revelation chapter 11 call 800 613 9494

    January 30, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Timothy Lutrell

    Challenger.. Now Columbia's Fatal Flight on February 3, 2003. I personally knew one of the members on that flight. I met Willie "McCool" at the ASU in Bahrain thru my Flight Commander at the time. Willie was a great friend I will never forget.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TripleA

    Today I saw where NASA has found about a thousand planets, orbiting other suns, that may be Earth-like, and support life. And I saw this headline about the Challenger disaster. It’s not safe out there. It’s wondrous. So, when I choke up seeing the crews of Challenger, and Columbia, I just keep in mind what JFK said…

    “Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there."

    “Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.”

    February 2, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chexgeste

    thank you

    October 25, 2011 at 5:37 am | Report abuse |
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