A new exhibit launched at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida titled “Forever Remembered.”
REMEMBERING COURAGEOUS ASTRONAUTS
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana officially opened the exhibit on Saturday, June 27, 2015. The purpose of this memorial is to serve as a reminder of NASA’s space shuttle Challenger and Columbia tragedies, and to honor the courageous crews of those space shuttles.
Fourteen astronauts were lost between these two shuttle disasters.
NASA and the families of these fallen astronauts collaborated to create the Forever Remembered exhibit. The roughly 2,000 square foot space features personal effects from each astronaut that were provided by family members. These items tell stories about who these individuals were, what they loved, and the things they achieved.
REMEMBERING THE SHUTTLES
The Challenger disaster occurred on the morning of January 28, 1986 just one minute and thirteen seconds after liftoff. A booster rocket failed, causing an explosion that destroyed the shuttle.
The Columbia disaster occurred seventeen years later on February 1, 2003. The shuttle broke apart during its reentry.
The Forever Remembered memorial highlights the brave crewmembers who lost their lives during these tragic incidents. But it also highlights these two shuttles—the country’s first two space shuttles. The exhibit features recovered hardware from both Columbia and Challenger that is on public display for the first time.
LEARNING FROM THE PAST
Like most exhibits and memorials for tragic events, NASA’s Forever Remembered is intentionally designed to be an emotional experience.
“I believe that it’s important to share this story with everyone, and not just push it aside, or try to hide it,” says Cabana. He continues, “These crews and these vehicles are part of who we are as an agency and a nation. They tell the story of our never-ending quest to explore, and our undying spirit to never give up.”
Bolden adds, “The artifacts here on display are not easy to look at. Many of them are on display for the very first time.” He explains, “It is our hope that by making them available for the public to view, we will help remind the world, that every launch, every discovery, every measure of progress, is possible only because of the sacrifice of those we have lost.”