February 1, 2003
Commander Rick D. Husband, Pilot William C. McCool,
Payload Commander Michael P. Anderson,
Crew David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark,
Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon

In Honor of the Shuttle Columbia Astronauts
The sky was ripped by a terrible light,
And the color of death was a deafening white
Splayed across a canvas of blue.
How could anyone know what to do?
Careening across the Texas sky
Burning a tear in this country’s eye’
Before we could blink their lives were gone;
A tumultuous silence was legacy’s song.
We gathered around our tv screens
And tried to make sense of what we had seen;
But sense came slow as death came fast
In a single burst, an awful blast.
We looked at each other, we looked at the sky;
We stepped into prayer and wondered why…
Why did that lingering strand of smoke
Clutch and strangle the neck of hope?
It was so unreal; so unfair:
Optimism trumped by a sudden despair,
But the more we learned of those seven lives
The more we opened our dampened eyes.
We were right to grieve and cry and shout,
But death is not what those lives were about.
They pushed the limits of the sky
And the light of their spirits will never die.
In the week that’s past I’ve learned who they were,
And the whole thing is not a national blur.
We’re reminded in that sad, white slice
That exploration sometimes has a price…
Yes, we lost the brightest and best
But that throbbing soul you cannot suppress.
Those seven faces will catch our eyes
Next time a rocket starts to rise:
When trimphant thunder recaptures the air
We’ll recall those souls who dared to dare.
{from Carl Steven's Notebook}


Homeward Bound..

T’was a beautiful sunshiny day…
February 1, Two Thousand Three..
One we will always remember…
A sad day in history…

Family and friends patiently waited…
For the space shuttle to descend…
Anxiously watching the heavens…
Then.. something no one can comprehend…

Seven beautiful people…
Flying through the atmosphere…
One minute they are with us…
And the next no longer here.

For on the wings of Columbia…
The mighty foot of fate stepped in…
And in an instant they were called…
By God to come home to him…

They will always be our heroes…
Along with the Challenger crew…
Now in the heavens looking down..
Smiling on me and you…

© Jeannie Nourse /Feb/2003

January 28, 1986
Commander Francis R. Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith,
Mission Specialists Ellison S. Onizuka, Crew Christa McAuliffe,
Judith A. Resnick and Ronald E. McNair,
Payload Specialist Gregory B. Jarvis.

McNair, and the new space generation , a poem

10 minus 2 and counting, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 blast off
the McNair Launch,
He saw the star and followed it
The gleam was enough to show
That knowledge and wisdom lay hidden
Out there where few dared to go
He said to his people, "I'll brave it for you
To see what all's to see
Perhaps I'll find us a place to live
All races, all people in peace"
He did not go for personal gain
His attempt put the Aggies on the map
He did not go for accolades
Not for praise, nods or a clap
But he went to blaze new horizons
Striving earnestly to reach his goal
So he journeyed to solve life's mysteries,
A wealth of knowledge untold.
The shuttle Challenger failed
Sacrificing lives as it burned through the sky
But memories of the souls live on
The challenge in the hearts will never die!
As Ron is thousands of miles above us
If we could hear him, I'm sure he'd say
Aggies, you can celebrate my accomplishments
But realize, I only unveiled the way!
It's up to you to follow your star
Do groundwork for a brighter day:
The world depends on it and You
You must pave another way
The countdown has begun
Are you ready to see it through ?
10 minus 2 and counting, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 ...
The rest is up to you!
Erica D. Smith, past Student Government Asssociation President at North Carolina A&T State University

January 27, 1967
Roger Chaffee, Ed White, and Gus Grissom

"If we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life."--Virgil I. Grissom, after the Gemini 3 mission, March 1965

"High Flight"
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds -- and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of -- wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence; hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
September 3, 1941

Elton John Rocketman
B.S. Productions

The Astronauts Prayer

Give us, O God, the vision
which can see your love in the world
in spite of human failure.
Give us the faith, the trust
and the goodness
in spite of our ignorance
and weakness.
Give us the knowledge
that we may continue to pray
and understanding hearts,
and show us
what each of us can do
to set forth
the coming of the day
of universal peace. Amen


"The more we learn about the
wonders of our universe,
the more clearly we are going
to perceive the hand of God"
Frank Borman, Apollo 8