On Day Of Remembrance, NASA Honors Fallen Astronauts The NASA Day of Remembrance honors the NASA astronauts and staff who gave their lives in the name of exploration. The day was postponed a week due to the partial government shutdown.
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On Day Of Remembrance, NASA Honors Fallen Astronauts

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On Day Of Remembrance, NASA Honors Fallen Astronauts

On Day Of Remembrance, NASA Honors Fallen Astronauts

On Day Of Remembrance, NASA Honors Fallen Astronauts

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/692259061/692259062" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The NASA Day of Remembrance honors the NASA astronauts and staff who gave their lives in the name of exploration. The day was postponed a week due to the partial government shutdown.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Today, NASA, the space agency, marks its Day of Remembrance. Memorials are being held at NASA facilities around this country to honor astronauts and agency staff who sacrificed their lives for the mission. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine says it's an important moment.

JIM BRIDENSTINE: We think about the human lives that were lost, but we also think about how the world is different today because of those sacrifices - different in a very good way.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, this Day of Remembrance had been originally scheduled for last week, but the partial government shutdown forced a delay. This event is held this time of year because of a twist of fate. Three deadly NASA accidents were clustered within the same week of the calendar, even though they were decades apart.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: This is a CBS News Special Report.

MIKE WALLACE: America's first three Apollo astronauts were trapped and killed by a flash fire that swept their moon ship early tonight during a launch pad test at Cape Kennedy.

INSKEEP: That was the distinctive voice of Mike Wallace of CBS News speaking on January 27, 1967. Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee were killed. Their deaths were on the mind of President Ronald Reagan in late January of 1986 when he had to deliver difficult news to the nation.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RONALD REAGAN: Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we've never lost an astronaut in flight. We've never had a tragedy like this.

GREENE: That 1986 tragedy he was talking about was the space shuttle Challenger bursting into flames 73 seconds after takeoff. Seven astronauts were killed. After the Challenger explosion, NASA instituted a series of reforms to make the shuttle program safer.

INSKEEP: But on February 1, 2003, a new generation was reminded of the risks of spaceflight. The shuttle Columbia disintegrated as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere after a mission and another seven astronauts died. Here's then-President George W. Bush.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GEORGE W BUSH: The same creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth, yet we can pray that all are safely home.

GREENE: Some of the voices from the history of the U.S. space program on this, NASA's Day of Remembrance.

(SOUNDBITE OF MAX RICHTER'S "ON THE NATURE OF DAYLIGHT")

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