Today we honor the Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia crews, and all members of the NASA family who lost their lives in the exploration of space. We honor their commitment as well as the loss to their families and friends.
The last Thursday of each January, NASA's annual Day of Remembrance, obliges us to reflect not only on the sacrifices that have been made by our fallen friends and co-workers, but to also consider what each one of us can do in their honor to assure that NASA achieves its very difficult goals in as safe a manner as humanly possible by recalling and reflecting on our core values of safety, excellence, integrity and teamwork.
Spaceflight represents one of the most difficult endeavors that we as a people can undertake. Just as the rewards are great, so too are the challenges we must overcome to safely reach, operate in, and live in space. We will not always know what lies ahead of us; as we explore we learn more about the wonders outside of our planet, but also how unforgiving space can be.
While we all recognize these challenges, today is a good day to reflect on how we go about meeting them. We must challenge our assumptions, recognize our risks, and address each difficulty directly and openly so that we can operate more safely and more successfully than we did yesterday, or last month, or last year. We must always strive to be better, and to do better.
It's going to be a busy year for all of us, with missions that carry with them the considerable risk that is a part of our normal business. But they also carry great potential. We each have opportunities -- every day -- to remember through our actions, the courageous men and women who dedicated their lives to public service.
With each mission and every challenge, we build upon their technical achievements, benefit from their discoveries, and tap into their bravery and spirit. I am honored to remember these members of the NASA family, and to work side by side with those in NASA and in our communities, to fulfill the vision of these extraordinary people, of living and working in space.
Christopher J. Scolese