From the time I can remember I loved the sky, the stars, the sun, the clouds. I was truly and utterly fascinated by it all. My mother told me that when I probably preschool age I used to ask my step dad to “turn on the moon” when I couldn’t see it at night.
As I got older I would go to the library and check out astronomy books. I would sit on my balcony with my binoculars and view the moon, and would fall asleep with that book in my arms.
Well, in 4th grade there was a new space shuttle mission, the space shuttle Challenger was going into space and for the first time there was going to be a civilian, and a teacher at that! I was SO excited!
They were going to deploy cargo (a satellite), and also to launch a probe to get information about Halley’s comet, specifically the tail or “coma”. The teacher, Christa McAuliffe, was set to be the first teacher to go in space as a part of the NASA Teacher in Space Project.
On January 28th, 1986 the excitement and anticipation I felt about the launch. I could not wait to see what Mrs. McAuliffe was going to write about in her journal and see the footage from space! I, along with a lot of America watched the shuttle blast off and moments later tragedy. I was in shock. I sat, stared at the tv and just cried. I was so sad for all 7 of the astronauts and their families. I also realized how dangerous it can be and that actually made me second guess my aspirations of being an astronaut.
I cannot believe how long it has been, 25 years, seems so long ago, but it does not seem that long ago.
My heart is still heavy and that will always be an image in my mind.
I remember watching the episode of Punky Brewster when her class watched the shuttle launch and that is when I found out Soleil Moon Frye wanted to be an astronaut too… it made me like her even more… lol. I actually remember that more than the actual shuttle launch.
I just thought I would share that story today, 25 years later.
R.I.P. Challenger 7
25 years later and your legacy lives on
originally written 1.30.11