On the tail end of January each year, NASA does its “Day of Remembrance” where they honor the astronauts who have died not just in active missions but also in training accidents, tests, or other situations.
Of course, the heavy focus is spent on 3 particular missions: Apollo 1, STS-51L, and STS-107.
Apollo 1, as heavily mentioned this past week, was the missions which failed during a routine test, resulting in the deaths of it’s 3 crew members.
STS-51L was the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger, when it disintegrated 73 seconds into its 10th flight.
STS-107 was the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia, when it broke apart during re-entry due to damage it sustained to it’s left wing during launch.
These 3 accidents resulted in the deaths of 17 astronauts. As mentioned before, many other accidents resulted in more deaths over the years, mainly during the Gemini program, and they too are remembered, with their names engraved on the Space Mirror Memorial.
Late January is a sad time for space history fans. While this particular day, January 31st, does have some great historic moments surrounding it, there is still a sadness associated with this time early in the year, due to all the tragedies that surround this particular day.