The space shuttle Challenger

People don’t talk about the Challenger anymore – it’s not part of most people’s conscious lives. But it’s part of mine.

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded a couple minutes after takeoff. I’m not sure anymore of the exact number of seconds, though I’m thinking it was 80-some. We’ve found out why (a faulty O-ring, and an attitude of “it has to succeed, so shut up and cross your fingers”). And in the big picture, it’s one hiccup on the trail of human exploration.

But it’s personal to me, and it was a tragedy, and there were 7 wonderful people on board that shuttle. A divorced Jewish woman astronaut! A black guy! A Hawaiian oriental guy! It was a mixed-race, mixed-gender, wonderful crew – representatives of the real human race. They were beautiful, and heroic, and they died because we – their caretakers – were stupid.

And the world goes on. But today, I thank these people for their heroism and their lives and their sacrifices. I haven’t forgotten.

Dick Scobee
Michael Smith
Ronald McNair
Ellison Onizuka
Gregory Jarvis
Judith Resnick
Christa McAuliffe

Bless you all. Thank you. May you rest in peace. You are remembered.

Scott Carpenter – Godspeed to you, too

Scott Carpenter died today. If you weren’t a space freak like me you might not remember the name. But a lot of us do. He was one of the Mercury Seven. Good looking, brash, hey he was a test pilot and probably a prima donna. Married four times. I bet he was a handful.

Scott Carpenter

Wish I’d known him. He was one of my heroes.

Chris Hadfield’s music video from space

Because Chris Hadfield’s too cool for words. And he’s the first one (that I know of, that is) who is actually talking about what it’s like when you first get back to Earth, after months in space. About how heavy your teeth and tongue feel and you have to re-learn how to talk in this heavy gravity stuff. About wearing a pressure suit under your clothes for a while because your body has to re-learn how to function in, you got it, this heavy gravity stuff. About how it usually takes about 3 weeks before a returning astronaut can drive a car, because – yeah, you got the idea.

And besides, a music video from space? Is pretty great too. Here’s Chris (linked on my Pinterest page):


Chris Hadfield and guitar - on the ISS

Like I said: too cool. The man’s got chops!