A Statement from the Members of the Tucson L5 Space Society.
Once again tragedy has visited our Nation's space program. Space exploration is hard and fraught with danger. Our dedicated astronauts knew this but believed the benefits to mankind far outweighed the risks to their own lives. As President Bush noted in his address to the Nation, the seven Columbia astronauts faced those risks willingly with "courage, daring and idealism." Those are the traits of true explorers and pioneers.
The Tucson Space Society wishes to express our deepest sympathies to the astronaut's families, to all of NASA as well as to all the space community. The loss of brave men and women is never easy. We share the Nation's deep sorrow and profound sadness.
Space Shuttle Columbia had already made history 22 years ago by being the first shuttle to fly in space. Now, as STS-107, a science mission and its 28th flight to space, Columbia has entered History. It is perhaps fitting that Columbia's brilliant and accomplished crew represented America in all its diversity. Opening new frontiers requires the skills and ingenuity of all kinds of people. As Arizonans we are reminded everyday of the immense benefits that flow from the hard work and sacrifices of pioneers.
It is in the nature of Americans to be pioneers and explorers. Our quest to explore space and open its infinite resources to humanity must go on. As Americans, now is the time to re-dedicate ourselves to opening the space frontier for all humanity. This tragedy, like the tragedies of the past, is not a reason to become fearful and withdraw from our space efforts. On the contrary, they are reasons to re-affirm our determination to build a thriving and daring space program. There can be no better memorial to the Columbia astronauts.