A new memorial designed to pay tribute to the crews of Challenger and Columbia has opened at the Kennedy Space Center.
At nearly 2,000-sq-ft, the “Forever Remembered” memorial contains the largest collection of personal items of both flight crews, along with recovered hardware from both shuttles, never seen by the public before.
Visitors enter the memorial through a doorway flanked by the STS-51L and STS-107 mission patches. The orbiter and crew are remembered through individual collections lining the walls: Challenger on the left, Columbia on the right. The items were carefully chosen to share each astronaut’s passions, talents and achievements, allowing their personalities to shine through.
The memorial includes flight jackets, family photographs, and more, with many items on loan from the families. Other items belong to NASA.
“Forever Remembered” concludes with a focus on the recovery and return-to-flight efforts, including the emotional toll these events had on the nation, the challenges involved in recovery, and the triumph of return to flight. A looping video shares heartfelt letters written by children as they shared their condolences and messages of hope.
Family members were present at a small ceremony as the memorial was formally opened by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, both veteran shuttle astronauts.
“The crews of Challenger and Columbia are forever a part of a story that is ongoing,” Bolden said. “It is the story of humankind’s evolving journey into space, the unknown, and the outer-reaches of knowledge, discovery and possibility. It is a story of hope.”
Admission to “Forever Remembered” is included with your admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers annual passes starting at $75 + tax for adults and $60 + tax for children ages 3-11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit KennedySpaceCenter.com.
[Photo courtesy Kennedy Space Center/NASA]
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