The scientific tourist #110 — the track to 34

These are interesting times for NASA’s crewed spaceflight program.

Let’s start with the calendar. Today’s the seventh anniversary of the loss of the space shuttle Columbia during re-entry. Last Thursday, January 28th, was the anniversary of the 1986 loss of the space shuttle Challenger in a launch explosion. And the 27th was the anniversary of the 1967 Apollo 1 on-pad fire that killed its astronauts during a pre-launch test. This picture is of the base of the launch pad (pad 34) that was the site of the Apollo 1 fire.

So it’s more than a bit ironic that the U.S. crewed space program may get closed out (or at least, radically reshaped) today — by a turn of events far more prosaic than a catastrophic accident. Stay tuned…

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