What Are Some Memorable NASA Launches?
Some of the most memorable NASA launches were the Apollo 11 mission, the first American in space, the Challenger and Columbia launches and Apollo 13, as noted by the Space website. Some others are the first Shuttle launch, Skylab and John Glenn's return into outer space in 1998, as stated by the NASA website.
Apollo 11 was a historic launch that took astronauts to the moon. In July 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon to become the first human to accomplish this feat. Some other famous moments in NASA's history are the first American in space in May 1961 and the first Gemini mission in 1965, as stated by NASA. The first American in space was Alan Shepard aboard the craft Freedom 7. The first Gemini mission in 1965 was a precursory test flight prior to the lunar missions. The astronauts aboard that flight were Gus Grissom and John Young. Gus Grissom died in an accident during the Apollo 1 launch pad test in 1967. Fellow astronauts, who also died, were Ed White and Roger Chaffee.
Some other memorable yet tragic launches were the Challenger disaster in which seven astronauts were killed in 1986 shortly after the craft's launch. In February 2003, the Space Shuttle Colombia was returning to Earth with seven astronauts onboard after a 16-day mission. The crew died due to an accident right before landing. For astronaut Glenn, it was a triumphant return to space aboard the spacecraft Discovery in 1998. Glenn was the first American man to orbit the Earth in 1962 and a U.S. senator.