Today marks 40 years since the Appollo 1 space capsule training drill ended in a fire that killed three American astronauts: Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White. We lost them because the hatch wouldn’t open due to gas pressure build-up inside the capsule. From then on, the hatches were made to open outward.

Sunday will see the devastating 21st anniversary of the USS Challenger shuttle explosion that killed Teacher In Space Christa McCauliffe and a crew of astronauts that can never be replaced. All of them were one-of-a-kind individuals that are still missed. People who never met them miss them. They are heroes. And we lost them because of a faulty, inexpensive O-ring. But structural progress was made threafter in an attempt to learn from the tragedy.

Thursday next will be the 4th anniversary of the USS Columbua shuttle breakup over the American Southwest, caused by a piece of foam flying into the shuttle. This catastrophe also taught us alot about how to prevent such mishaps. And that crew also are irreplaceables.

There should be a well-made new TV show called The Irreplaceables.  It should be made by the professionals who do Numbers and Heroes. It should be a bit like Roswell and Apollo 13, and maybe the Boston Legal folks could help add some laughs. James Spader would look good in a space suit.

At least Public Television could sponsor a new miniseries about all three mishaps, and take a look at the Russian space accidents as well as what we have learned for the future.

The American space shuttles really do need replacement soon. And perhaps we should stop going up during the dates of January 27 – February 1, the eve of Ground Hog’s Day.

Let’s watch the skies this week beginning tonight, and look for any signs of The Irreplaceables.











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