The early 1980’s were heady times in the United States. We were on a collective high – a space high
Great things were accomplished during the Apollo Program. It took us to the moon! Or, at least, it took Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin others to the moon. But other things were accomplished that eventually made reusable space vehicles a reality.
Those amazing spacecraft became a reality for most of us when Columbia lifted off in April of 1981. Ordinary folks marveled at what NASA had wrought. And we held our astronauts in high esteem.
We rode high during the first half of the eighties, and celebrated the debut of the second shuttle vehicle, Challenger, in 1983. We were on top of the world, and our men in space were out of this world, quite literally.
And then, in 1986, the unthinkable happened. We all had known it could happen, but most of us didn't allow ourselves to believe it would.