Tragedies

With all of the successes of NASA, there have been tragedies as well. A fire on the launch pad took the lives of the three-man crew in the Apollo I capsule in 1967. Nineteen years later, an explosion 73 seconds after the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger killed the entire crew. During its landing descent to Kennedy Space Center, February 1, 2003, Space Shuttle Columbia exploded killing the entire seven-member crew.

Space Shuttle Challenger liftoff (1986)

Space Shuttle Challenger liftoff (1986)

Image number: PR10268

Space Shuttle Challenger lifts off Pad 30B, with a crew of seven astronauts. An accident 73 seconds after liftoff claimed both the crew and vehicle. January 23, 1986.

Space Shuttle Challenger seconds before the accident (1986)

Space Shuttle Challenger seconds before the accident (1986)

Image Number: PR10277

Space Shuttle Challenger accident (1986)

Space Shuttle Challenger accident (1986)

Image Number: PR10269

Flight for the Challenger Seven memorial services (1986)

Flight for the Challenger Seven memorial services (1986)

Image Number: PR10275a

A formation-flying trio of NASA T-38 jet trainer aircraft is photographed by a fourth member as the four jets overfly the San Jacinto monument area.

Governor Bush and astronaut David Brown conversing with astronauts at the International Space Station from the Florida House chamber: Tallahassee, Florida (2001)

Governor Bush and astronaut David Brown conversing with astronauts at the International Space Station from the Florida House chamber: Tallahassee, Florida (2001)

Image number: MF1084

Astronaut David M. Brown was born on April 16, 1956. He died on February 1, 2003 when Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed during entry just 16 minutes prior to the scheduled landing.

The Space Age

After the successful Apollo launches and subsequent change in direction of NASA’s mission and goals, major portions of NASA personnel and members of the area’s space-related workforce left for high-tech and military career opportunities in the Pacific northwest, southern California, and the northeastern states. However, thousands of native Floridians and recruited workers stayed following decades of serving the nation’s drive to explore space.

An entire generation of space-industry workers retired in the space coast area. Other initiatives such as environmental services, including the development of solar energy technology, attracted even more skilled workers to the Space Coast. After five decades of space age development, Florida remains one of the nation’s centers for technology and manufacturing industries, as well as still serving as the home of the world’s most significant space port.

Bibliography

Catchpole, John. Project Mercury: NASA’s First Manned Space Programme. New York: Springer, 2001.

Faherty, William Barnaby. Florida's Space Coast: the Impact of NASA on the Sunshine State. Foreword by Gary R. Mormino and Raymond Arsenault. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 2002.

Kranz, Gene. Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Lipartito, Kenneth and Orville R. Butler. A History of the Kennedy Space Center. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 2007.

Logsdon, John M., Moderator. Legislative Origins of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958: Proceedings of an Oral History Workshop Conducted April 3, 1992. Online resource available at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/40thann/legorgns.pdf. Washington, DC.: NASA History Office, 1998.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Kennedy Space Center: Kennedy’s Rich History. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/history/index.html