27 Years Ago Today, 7 People Lost Their Lives in Mission

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27 Years Ago Today, 7 People Lost Their Lives in Mission

Many people remember what they were doing at 10:38am CST on January 28, 1986.Space-Shuttle-Challenger-Explosion1

I remember. I was in the 7th grade. I was sick and had come home from school. Watching The Flying Nun, a sitcom with Sally Field. Then my Mom came rushing in to turn the tv to the other channel. (I think we only caught 3 channels back then.)

There it was. In the sky.

Billows of smoke marked strange lines–trails that the once-intact space shuttle, Challenger, had produced. I remember my Mom being in awe and emotional. I remember it was a very sad day for the entire country.

Seven astronauts lost their lives to this mission:

  1. Francis R. Scobee – Mission Commander. Survived by his wife and 2 children.
  2. Michael J. Smith – Pilot. The last voice heard on the Challenger voice recorder.
  3. Ellison S. Onizuka – Mission Specialist 1. Things named after him: Air Force Base, international airport, 2 astronomical features, several streets, the Center for International Astronomy, and more.
  4. Judith A. Resnik – Mission Specialist 2. After the examination of the recovered cockpit, it is said that Resnik apparently tried to help Smith activate his air supply immediately after the explosion as the cockpit separated from the rest of the vehicle.
  5. Ronald E. McNair – Mission Specialist 3. An accomplished saxophonist, McNair was supposed to record a piece for composer Jean Michel Jarre for the then-upcoming album Rende-Vous. He was also supposed to take part in a concert through a live feed.
  6. Christa McAuliffe – Payload Specialist 1. Became one of more than 11,000 applicants for the Teacher in Space Project. She is survived by her husband and 2 children. Her children were 9 and 6 when she died.
  7. Gregory B. Jarvis – Payload Specialist 2. In Spring of 1986, before the University of Buffalo North Campus had named the new East Engineering building, 4 students nailed a sign to the wall that read “Jarvis Hall” in honor of Gregory Jarvis. One year late, the university made it official.

With the massive amount of energy, tremendous acceleration, and the lethal environment at every turn, the risks of missions like this are very dangerous. These 7 knew those risks.

So why did they do it? The answer lies somewhere deep in our extraordinary passion to explore the unknown in the great above.

Then I think about a different kind of mission.

A mission that came from above.

A mission that came from One who died to set it in order.

“Make disciples,” He said. “Of all nations.”

“Baptizing them. Teaching them. Sending them.”

As the great astronauts followed their passion for exploration, may we have the divine passion to follow our Savior in the mission He gave to us.

This mission was worth His life. And many others after Him gave theirs for it.

You must decide…is it worth yours?


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