Tears not because of the tragedy itself, but the event resonates far into the deep recesses of what we know is true in every one of us. We all dream. We then work to bring forth the dream into reality, into actuality. And something goes wrong and how with the vision, the exhilaration of the dream - in contrast with how tragic our efforts become, we realize how fragile we are. For in itself, the dream, the challenge is made of sterner stuff. It' s as if reaching towards the dream is something that is beyond our control - for if it isn't, we would all stop telling fairly tales to children, knowing that in reality, it's not always a happy ending.
(NASA) and of Morton Thiokol, the company which produced rocket motors of space shuttles (Greene p. 1; Berkes par. 6) fought for. The engineers supposedly voiced opposition to launching Challenger into orbit that fateful day. Challenger's launch of its
10th mission was already delayed for days by the cold weather and NASA's management was eager to launch despite concerns by engineers to delay take-off because the O-ring sealants (like washers in a faucet) in the rockets were not tested for complete reliability most especially during cold weather. Despite their opposition, the NASA management proceeded with the take-off and what the engineers feared came to pass. Hot gases from Challenger's right-side rocket leaked through the faulty O-ring and led to the explosion of the spacecraft.
Like the mythical Icaru...
No matter what their real personal lives might have been - we look at them like icons, the chosen ones to at the juncture of history. And looking at a picture of them smiling, with their blue astronaut suits, and holding their space headgear - we think of how the human race have stretched democracy into space. We are gladdened that of the seven, two were women - one of them a non-specialist, one an African-American and one an American of Japanese descent. These seven on board Shuttle Mission 51L, the tenth of Challenger's orbit into space was to do something probably routine for astronauts -which was to carry some equipment like satellite and cameras to observe something so ordinary as Halley's comet (Greene p. 1).
What was extraordinary and made it special was that it was the first time a teacher was going into space and she was to be there especially to teach the first outer-space classroom lesson. Sharon Christa McAuliffe, 37 at that time, was chosen from the ranks of 11,000 teachers across the country to fly on Challenger. Her often quoted line from her
astronaut application form was "I watched the Space Age being born and I would like to participate" (NASA website).1
The commander of the crew was Francis Scobee, 47 who enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and originally trained as an engine mechanic but longed to fly (NASA website). He pursued his dream and managed to fly 45 types of aircraft. As a NASA astronaut, he was part of the crew of the fifth Challenger obit flight who managed to retrieve and repair a satellite in orbit, the Solar Maximum Satellite. For Michael J. Smith, 41, the 10th Challenger mission where he was space shuttle pilot was his first flight into space. A member of the U.S.