Saturday, January 27, 2007

Apollo 1 fire: 40 years today

As I recall a few entries below, and on the New Scientist Space blog's most recent entry, today marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire. Three lives were lost that date, but their loss led to 12 men walking on the moon between 1969 and 1972.

For me, 40 years is almost a lifetime ago - I was not quite three years old when the accident occurred. But those Apollo missions stirred an interest in space exploration that has remained with me ever since.

It will be a sombre day at Kennedy today, with a special service to reflect on the lives, the bravery and the ultimate sacrifice of Chaffee, White and Grissom. The following weeks bring more anniversaries - Komorov, the first Russian to lose his life in the space race and, of course, the first Shuttle disaster.

But no exploration is without risk. I just with we'd fully drive for the rewards that exploration beyond our world will bring, rather than always putting political expediency above the sheer exhaustion of doing something completely new, extremely difficult and making a success of it.

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