Monday, 27 January 2003

Apollo 1 Remembered

Rand Simberg looks back at the 36th anniversary of the Apollo 1 disaster, which claimed the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chafee, and draws a parallel to the grounding of the Shuttle fleet after the Challenger disaster in 1996:

A key difference between this accident and the Challenger catastrophe was that in Apollo, we had a goal and a schedule. Accordingly, we dusted ourselves off, analyzed the problem, addressed it, and kept to the schedule.

With the Shuttle, the political reality was that there was no particular reason to fly Shuttles--no national commitment would be violated, no vital experiments wouldn't be performed, no objects would fall from the sky on our heads, and no elections would be lost, if the Shuttle didn't fly.

So, two and a half years after the Apollo I fire, we landed men on the Moon. Two and a half years after STS 51-L, the fleet was still grounded. It didn't fly again until two years, nine months later.

What a difference a couple decades make.

Seen at InstaPundit...