Space workers preparing for resumption of shuttle flights paused to pay silent tribute today to the seven astronauts who died two years ago in the fiery Challenger disaster. It was one of many remembrances around the country.
Tour buses stopped, cafeteria lines halted, and hundreds of engineers, technicians and other workers poured out of buildings at 11:38 a.m. EST, the moment when Challenger lifted off on Jan. 28, 1986.
Flags around the Kennedy Space Center were lowered to half staff, while workers stood silent for 73 seconds, the length of the fatal Challenger flight. The air was chilly, the sky clear, a grim reminder of the frigid conditions that contributed to the space shuttle's destruction.
Concord Students Pause
In Concord, N.H., students at Concord High School paused at the beginning of classes to remember Christa McAuliffe, their city's social sciences teacher who died in the shuttle explosion. She was aboard as NASA's first citizen-in-space and was to have taught lessons from orbit to schools around the country.
At Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, June Scobee, widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee, placed wreaths at the Challenger Memorial Plaque and on Scobee's grave. With her were a group of children representing schools which have raised $450,000 for a Challenger Center for Space Education, a project led by Mrs. Scobee.