Friday 28 January 2011

They touched the face of God

This is a slight departure from the normal things that appear on this blog. however, today is an anniversary of one of space travels greatest disasters. For the people who know me know how much of a "space nut" I am, and can be a bit of a bore at times.

25 years ago today the 25th Space Shuttle launch took to the skies. Most of the crew I bet you can't name. Except one. That being of the first "Teacher in Space", Christa McAuliffe, who was planning on holding live lessons from space. Unfortunately this wasn't to happen as just after 73 seconds into the flight the Orbiter exploded into a ball of flames and smoke. This was Challenger's 10th, and tragically, its last flight.

Most people of my age will remember how they found out about the disaster. I learnt about it when I came home from school and remembering watching BBC 2 that was running a live CNN feed as they were the only organisation at the time that could do this sort of coverage as it was in the days before global 24 hour news coverage. Below is a segment of CNN on that day. From take off to the "explosion"

After the disaster the US President, Ronald Reagan, cancelled the annual State of the Union Address and went on television to address the nation about that days tragedy. He finished the broadcast with a quote from the poem "High Flight".
We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth' to 'touch the face of God.'
So here's to the memory of Christa McAuliffe and the rest of the STS 51-L crew: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik who paid the ultimate price in space exploration.

I would like to leave you with a happy[ish] thought. If you look at the mission patch to the right, you will see something next to Christa McAuliffe. If you are wondering what it is, then I can tell you. It's quite simple. It's an apple. Why? you may ask. The simple answer is "What do you give to a teacher"?

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