Today marks 31 years since the Challenger Space Shuttle Tragedy. For those that were too young to appreciate it (with my being roughly 7 years old at the time) it was one of those tragic unforgettable historic moments.
I was in Primary School then and it was a massive system shock and even writing this article over 3 decades later is bringing me back into the pain, shock and horror of what I felt as a small boy.
As the investigations played out and the case was closed; it was found that the fault was caused by the failure of an ‘O-Ring’ seal in one of the Rocket Boosters.
This basically meant that with the leak, pressurised burning gas leaked out of the rocket to ignite with a massive explosion destroying the craft. Whether this offers any solace or not, it was thought that the crew didn’t remain conscious for long after the disaster (source Wikipedia).
Even today Space Flight is a massively risky prospect and the 7 Astronauts that went on the flight would have certainly known the risks of what they were doing. I am sure NASA would have explained to them many times and each of them would have been well prepared for ‘any scenario’ going into space.
The crew are true heroes beyond of a shadow of a doubt. They went on a dangerous mission to advance humanity as a species / space faring civilisation and they died it the process of this. I am sure that one day when we are on our Martian colony or we are in Alpha Centauri / living on new worlds, tales will be told about these original heroes that died in the process of humanity advancing.
Bringing it back to you and me; it has me thinking about the ‘heroic’ actions we take in our own lives and what it means to all of us. Be it as grand as going into space or even taking risks in our lives to create something new and meaningful.
Ultimately in life we are confounded with many situations we don’t want to be in. Some of our own creation, some the result of bad luck and some clearly from the oppression of us by others; in getting out of those situations it takes risks to get out of it.
With thanks to my wonderful parents, they helped give me the opportunity to break out of the ‘Working Class’ and become ‘Middle Class’ which I am today. The worked hard, set me up were my own heroes – then one day, I decided to leave home and go off and join the Australian Army, hit university and start a new life. This totally terrified me and by no means I compare myself to the awesome challenger grew and their sacrifice; but I wanted to point out how we can take risks in our lives that terrify ourselves.
Interesting when I worked for the Government, I was injured quite badly and almost died in service of my country. I had some rough years recovering from that and you know what? If I did die in that moment I would only think AWESOME. I would have died doing what I loved at the time and if that was the case; the so be it. Without knowing the extraordinary people on the Challenger Space Shuttle; I am willing to bet they had a similar outlook. They were the type of heroes that would gladly risk / give up their lives to advance everyone around them.
My lessons and thinking from the Challenger Crew? Be extraordinary, take risks, help others and be your own hero. Taking this point to the extreme; it would be much better to die a hero than live a failure. For some years their due to massive mistakes of my own, I lived as quite a failure. I was homeless for a period there, I was under the thumb of those around me and eventually I broke out of it and started a new life that I am grateful for.
Trust me on this point – you don’t want to live as a failure like I once did. Being a living (or not) hero is far better option.
Also too, if you feel stuck in your life like once was and even ‘feel like a failure’, it’s time to swing hard, take risks and get your way out of that situation. I promise it will be hard, but well worth it.
Thank you for the read, thank you to the Challenger Crew for your sacrifice for humanity and inspiring me to write this piece some 31 years later.