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NASA to Pay Tribute to Fallen Heroes

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Honoring the fallen astronauts of Apollo 1, Challenger 51L, and Columbia 107, all of whom perished in pursuit of the exploration of space, this Spaceflight Memorial Patch hangs on the wall of Mission Control in Houston, along with the mission emblems of those three flights. This symbol incorporates elements from all three of the crew patches, unified with the NASA vector, representing the spirit of exploration, and the engineering “sigma” symbol, representing the teamwork of Mission Control and the NASA family. The 17 stars in the background represent the 17 lost souls. The emblem was designed by Michael Okuda, with NASA Ground Control officer William Foster.

NASA will honor members of the NASA family who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery, including the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, during the agency’s annual Day of Remembrance on Thursday, Jan. 30.

Among those honored each year is astronaut Ellison Onizuka, part of the seven-member crew of Challenger, which exploded after liftoff on Jan. 28, 1986. He became the first Asian American in space during a previous shuttle mission.

The Columbia broke apart during re-entry on Feb. 1, 2003, killing the seven-member crew.

Three astronauts died when a fire erupted on Apollo 1 during preflight testing on Jan. 27, 1967.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, along with other senior agency officials, will lead an observance at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia beginning at 1 p.m. EST. A wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, followed by observances for the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia crews.

Various NASA centers also will hold observances on and leading up to the Day of Remembrance for the public, employees and the families of those lost in service to America’s space program.

Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in partnership with The Astronauts Memorial Foundation and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, will host Day of Remembrance observance activities, including a wreath-laying ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Astronauts Memorial Foundation Space Mirror Memorial in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Thad Altman, president and chief executive officer of the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, and Kelvin Manning, Kennedy associate director, technical, will speak at the ceremony.

Johnson Space Center in Houston will hold a commemoration for employees at the Astronaut Memorial Grove.

NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi will host a Day of Remembrance ceremony memorializing crew members of the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia missions, as well as members of the Stennis Space Center family lost in the past year. It will feature the laying of a ceremonial wreath in memory of those who have sacrificed in support of the nation’s space program.

Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. will observe Day of Remembrance with a candle-lighting ceremony for employees at 9 a.m. CST. Marshall Associate Director Steve Miley and former astronaut Jan Davis will offer remarks.

NASA will also make special online content available on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at: https://www.nasa.gov/dor2020

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