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NASA’s Day of Remembrance 2023: Date, History, Significance

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.), the agency responsible for managing U.S. space research and other activities, organises this day.

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NASA’s Day of Remembrance is annually observed on the last Thursday of January, and will be observed on January 26 this year. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.), the agency responsible for managing U.S. space research and other activities, organises this day. Exploration of space is dangerous, but scientists and astronauts accept this challenge with courage. This day honours the NASA family members who sacrificed their lives to advance the cause of space exploration. These include the crew members of the Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia space missions. This year, the NASA Day of Remembrance commemorates the Apollo 1 disaster that occurred 55 years ago.

HISTORY OF NASA’S DAY OF REMEMBRANCE

NASA has always shown a great deal of concern and respect for tragic events such as the Apollo 1 fire and the Challenger space shuttle disaster. Early celebrations centred on jubilee anniversaries and landmark years. In January 1987, on the first anniversary of the Challenger disaster, Congress proclaimed a National Day of Excellence under Public Law 99-478, which was signed into law by then-President Ronald Reagan. The Space Mirror Memorial was established on the fifth anniversary of Kennedy Space Center. The tenth commemoration was held simultaneously at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Johnson Space Center in Texas.

Local N.A.S.A. centres and communities across the United States also organised commemorations. On the first anniversary of the space shuttle Columbia’s accident, approximately 18 years ago, the space organisation altered its approach and instituted the agency’s annual Day of Remembrance. Decades apart, three distinct tragedies — the Apollo 1 test capsule fire in 1967, the Challenger space shuttle explosion minutes after launch in 1986, and the Columbia space shuttle failure during re-entry in 2003 — all occurred in the same calendar week. This is the reason for observing the Day of Remembrance.

Each centre observes Memorial Day in its own unique manner. This year, Kennedy Space Center hosted a ceremony at Kennedy’s Visitor Complex’s Space Mirror Memorial. On the other hand, employees of the Johnson Space Center held a ceremony in the Astronaut Memorial Grove.

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NASA’S DAY OF REMEMBRANCE DATES

Year Date Day
2022 January 27 Thursday
2023 January 26 Thursday
2024 January 25 Thursday
2025 January 30 Thursday
2026 January 29 Thursday

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