WASHINGTON – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) entered the following statement into the Congressional Record in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia spacecrafts.

As prepared for delivery:

“Sometimes when we reach for the stars we fall short,” as President Reagan said. This time of year is difficult for the space community as we remember the 17 courageous astronauts lost to tragic incidents.

On January 27, 1967, Virgil Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee were performing tests of the Apollo 1 spacecraft at Cape Canaveral when a fire broke out. Desperate efforts to rescue them were too late.

On January 28, 1986, a crew of seven lifted off aboard the space shuttle Challenger:  Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis and teacher Christa McAuliffe. Seventy-three seconds after liftoff, all were lost when the Challenger exploded.

On February 1, 2003, Pilot William McCool and Commander Rick Husband guided the space shuttle Columbia back into earth’s atmosphere along with crewmembers Michael Anderson, Laurel Clark, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla and Ilan Ramon. The shuttle broke up during reentry, taking the lives of all on board.

Let us remember these 17 brave pioneers “who made the ultimate sacrifice so others could reach for the stars.”