This coming Friday, February 1, is the official Day of Remembrance for all fallen United States Astronauts. The date was chosen because it is the anniversary of the day the space shuttle Columbia had a malfunction upon reentry into the earth's atmosphere. Alarms were going off and there was an instant loss of cabin pressure. The astronauts that weren't restrained in their seats were bounced around the shuttle. They either died instantly when the cabin lost pressure or of injuries obtained from flying around the cabin and hitting into things. Either way, they were unconscious instantly.
The week of remembrance started on Sunday, January 27. This was the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 1 launchpad fire. Three astronauts died in that fire including: Gus Grissom, who had been a Mercury 7 pioneer; Ed White, who was the first American to walk in space and Roger Chaffee, who was a rookie space flyer.
This is followed by the 27th anniversary of the Challenger explosion which occurred on January 28,1986. There were 7 astronauts lost in this tragedy; the most famous being Christe McAuliffe, who was to be the first teacher in space.
As it turns out though, the last week of January through February 1 has been a disastrous week for NASA. In all 17 astronauts lost their lives during this 6 day period. This is a week to celebrate their lives and not just mourn their loss.
To read more about the week of remembrance go to the NASA story on the NBC news website..