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Sept. 29, 1988 —[Back To The Future]
Discovery was the first shuttle to fly after the loss of Challenger and its crew, two years earlier.
photographs b/ dave. (originalnoise.org)
Hopes and Anxiety are always high, especially when men and women will be atop the fountain of flame roaring into the clear blue Florida sky, leaving behind a streak of white smoke, marking the rocket’s way, as it accelerates to 25,000 miles per hour, the speed necessary to break out of the Earth’s atmosphere, and gently enter a comfortable, silent, and weightless orbit, 300 miles above The Cape, Florida’s Sacred Ground, the spot from where the twelve astronauts who walked on The Moon, embarked.
This launch of Discovery was especially significant, being that it was the first manned launch since the loss of Challenger and its crew, two years earlier. Wonder was, whether NASA’s long-awaited return to space would succeed in pulling the program out of its deepest depression since the launch pad fire that killed the Apollo I crew twenty years before, in 1967.
Between NASA’s creation in 1958, and the Challenger Explosion in 1986, NASA’s loss of Astronauts in the line of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) duty, had been limited to that of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee, (Apollo I), who lost their lives in a flash fire that filled the capsule instantly.
Fishing on the bank of the Banana River at the east end of Highway 50 in Titusville, Florida, one can see the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB), and the legendary Launch pads 39A and 39B, from where all Apollo and Shuttle missions embarked.
Apollo 1 (Jan. 27, 1967)