Valley remembers 25th anniversary of Challenger tragedy - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Valley remembers 25th anniversary of Challenger tragedy

By Curtis McCloud -   bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Whether you witnessed it from your living-room, a classroom, or in person, no one will ever forget that tragic day the space shuttle Challenger exploded moments after taking off from Kennedy space center in Florida January 28, 1986.

NASA Astronaut, Al Worden, was driving towards North Florida with his wife. "I saw the launch then I saw the explosion," Al Worden said.

Alan McDonald, former director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project, was at a desk console at the space center when Challenger exploded. "It should never have gone up it was absolute mistake in judgment to allow that launch that morning," Alan McDonald said.

Worden is in Columbus and McDonald is in East Alabama this week, commemorating the anniversary of the Challenger accident.

McDonald spoke to a group at Auburn University today. He tells us that 25 years after that explosion, the U.S. space program is changing and may soon cease to exist.

"With the current economy the way it is we're going to be laying off more space workers in the close down of the program but yet continue to right checks for the Russians to fly our astronauts to the space station probably over the next five or six years," McDonald said.

Worden spoke to a group of people at the coca cola space science center in Columbus Thursday night. He agrees that the days of the U.S. space program are numbered but says it's necessary for our country.

"The space program is critical to this country one way or another, no matter what we do," Worden said.

Worden will  be in Columbus Friday speaking at several schools. 

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