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NASA Observes Day of Remembrance Ahead of Columbia 20th Anniversary

On NASA’s Day of Remembrance, which was held January 26th this year, the space agency honored members of the NASA family who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery, including the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. This year’s NASA Day of Remembrance preceded the 20th anniversary of the Columbia accident on February 1st.

NASA Johnson held a commemoration at the Astronaut Memorial Grove. The ceremony included remarks by NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy and Johnson Center Director Vanessa Wyche as well as a NASA T-38 flyover and taps performed by the Texas A&M Squadron 17.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, and Associate Administrator Bob Cabana were scheduled to host a town hall at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. The event was a dialogue with employees about the invaluable lessons learned over the decades and the importance of a strong safety culture.

On January 26th, Nelson led an observance at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, which included a traditional wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, followed by observances for the Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia crews. The administrator also sent an agencywide message to employees.

“NASA’s Day of Remembrance is about pausing, remembering, and uplifting the legacies of the NASA family who gave their lives to advance the cause of discovery. While this will always be solemn day, it’s also one of gratitude. We are thankful that NASA’s adventurers shared their lives with us and made life better on Earth,” said Nelson. “As we continue to expand humanity’s reach in this new era of exploration, we must always embrace NASA’s core value of safety.”

Additional various agency centers also held observances for NASA Day of Remembrance:

Johnson Space Center, Houston
NASA Johnson held a commemoration at the Astronaut Memorial Grove. The ceremony included remarks by NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy and Johnson Center Director Vanessa Wyche. This event featured a NASA T-38 flyover and taps performed by the Texas A&M Squadron 17.

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Columbia’s STS-107 mission, the employee panel discussion called, Perspectives of STS-107 Lessons Applied to Artemis, was moderated by Johnson’s Flight Operations Directorate EVA Training and Operations Engineer Grier Wilt, senior leaders in the Johnson-based Artemis programs – Orion, Extravehicular Activity, and Human Surface Mobility, Gateway, and Human Research – who discussed lessons learned from the STS-107 Columbia tragedy and the impact on human spaceflight development and operations.

Kennedy Space Center, Florida
NASA Kennedy, in partnership with The Astronauts Memorial Foundation, hosted a Day of Remembrance ceremony at the Space Mirror Memorial at Kennedy’s Visitor Complex. The ceremony included remarks by Astronauts Memorial Foundation President and CEO Thad Altman, Kennedy’s Center Director Janet Petro, and NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana.

Ames Research Center, California
NASA Ames held a remembrance ceremony that included remarks from Ames’ Center Director Dr. Eugene Tu, a moment of silence, and bell ring commemoration.

Glenn Research Center, Cleveland
NASA Glenn observed Day of Remembrance with remarks from Glenn’s Associate Director Larry Sivic, followed by a panel discussion on safety with aeronautics and spaceflight experts at Lewis Field.

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
NASA Langley held a remembrance ceremony followed by placing flags at the Langley Workers Memorial.

Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama
NASA Marshall held a candle-lighting ceremony and wreath placement. The ceremony included remarks from Marshall Center Director Jody Singer, Bill Hill, director of Marshall’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins.

Stennis Space Flight Center, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
NASA Stennis held a wreath-laying ceremony with remarks from Stennis’ Associate Director Rodney McKellip and NASA Shared Services Center Operations Director Nikki Tubbs.

NASA locations featuring special Day of Remembrance messages to employees included: NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California; Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia; the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility in Fairmont, West Virginia; and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California.

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