NASA to honor fallen astronauts with ‘Day of Remembrance’

NASA to honor fallen astronauts with ‘Day of Remembrance’
The commemoration and the wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the Space Mirror Memorial Thursday, Jan, 28 at 11 a.m. (NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Every January, NASA, in partnership with The Astronauts Memorial Foundation and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, host NASA’s Day of Remembrance

The ceremony honors all astronauts who have sacrificed their lives while furthering the cause of space exploration and discovery.

This year’s event will coincide with the 35th anniversary of the Challenger accident.

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On the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, just 73 seconds after launch, a booster engine failed and caused the Shuttle Challenger to break apart, taking the lives of all seven crew members.

STS 51-L crew members are (left to right, front row) astronauts Michael J. Smith, Francis R. (Dick) Scobee and Ronald E. McNair; and Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis and Judith A. Resnik.
STS 51-L crew members are (left to right, front row) astronauts Michael J. Smith, Francis R. (Dick) Scobee and Ronald E. McNair; and Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis and Judith A. Resnik. (NASA)

Among the guests expected to attend Thursday’s event are Lowell Grissom, brother of astronaut Gus Grissom and Sheryl Chaffee, daughter of astronaut Roger Chaffee.

Grissom and Chaffee, along with Ed White, were part of the three-man Apollo I crew that were killed Jan. 27, 1967, when a fire broke out in their capsule during a pre-launch test.

Apollo 1 Astronauts, from the left, Gus Grissom, Ed White II and Roger Chaffee stand near Cape Kennedy's Launch Complex 34 during training for Apollo 1 in January 1967.
Apollo 1 Astronauts, from the left, Gus Grissom, Ed White II and Roger Chaffee stand near Cape Kennedy's Launch Complex 34 during training for Apollo 1 in January 1967. (NASA)

The investigation into the fatal accident led to major design and engineering changes that would make the Apollo spacecraft safer for the coming missions to the Moon.

Also expected to speak at the ceremony is former Shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach.

Leinbach led the recovery efforts following the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.

On Feb. 1, 2003, the seven-member crew of STS-107 was minutes from landing when the orbiter broke apart on re-entry.

The crew of STS-107, From left to right are mission specialist David Brown, commander Rick Husband, mission specialist Laurel Clark, mission specialist Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist Michael Anderson, pilot William McCool, and Israeli payload specialist Ilan Ramon.
The crew of STS-107, From left to right are mission specialist David Brown, commander Rick Husband, mission specialist Laurel Clark, mission specialist Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist Michael Anderson, pilot William McCool, and Israeli payload specialist Ilan Ramon. (NASA)

Commander Rick Husband, Pilot Willie McCool, Payload Commander Michael Anderson, Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon were killed.

The commemoration and the wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the Space Mirror Memorial Thursday, Jan, 28 at 11 a.m.