Making a permanent impression since 1994
February 2, 2003
Blue sky and empty space
By Angela Kozak
Days before that fateful February morning, Ilan Ramon emailed his brother from outer space. The past two weeks had been so great, he said, that he did not want to return to Earth.
Little did he know that he never would.
In one of life’s little ironies, the seven astronauts held a memorial at on the January 28 anniversary of the shuttle Challenger’s explosion.
Talking about the Challenger’s crew, Rick Husband, the
commander of the shuttle
But they were not the last.
A mere four days later, seven other astronauts would join
their comrades in a devastating explosion.
Husband, Ramon and their five colleagues had no way of
knowing that their remains, along with the charred pieces of their shuttle,
would be scattered across thousands of square miles on the first day of
Indeed, everything appeared as it should when the shuttle
The first troublesome situation occurred 38 minutes later, when temperature sensors on the left wing were lost.
The last communication from
While the shuttle flew at 200,000 over
, the flag at
The rest, as they say, is history.
The space shuttle carried a diverse crew of two women and five men.
Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian-born woman in space, was on her second mission.
Husband was a devout Christian with two children.
Forty-one-year-old Laurel Clark’s responsibility on board
Flying was said to be the life of specialist David Brown, who was previously employed in the circus.
Michael Anderson was one of the few African-Americans to have gone into space.
Pilot William McCool had advanced degrees in aeronautical engineering and computer science.
Air Force Col. Ilan Ramon was the son of Holocaust
survivors and the first Israeli in space.
The night before their January 16 liftoff, the seven astronauts, all in their forties, posed together. Smiles on their faces, arms linked, and necks adorned with colorful blossoms, the fate in store for them seemed impossible.
Yet they never made it home.
They died high above the earth, framed by miles of blue sky
and cloud. They died where they had trained to be, where they were most
comfortable, in a place where most people only dream of being.
Perhaps President Bush said it best: “The same Creator
who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The
crew of the shuttle
|© 2003 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.|