BOULDER, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – University of Colorado-Boulder alumni Ellison Onizuka and Kalpana Chawla, who died in NASA space shuttle accidents 17 years apart, were remembered at the Boulder campus on Saturday.
Onizuka received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the aerospace engineering sciences department in 1969. He died when the Challenger exploded shortly after launch in 1986.
At 9:38 a.m., the exact of the Challenger disaster, there was a moment of silence and prayer.
In 2003, Chawla, who received her doctorate from CU-Boulder in aerospace engineering in 1988, was killed when Columbia was destroyed while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
“She was the first Indian woman in space in 1997,” a cadet told the crowd at the ceremony.
It was the school’s 29th memorial, which included a procession to the Space Shuttle Challenger and Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial in front of Fiske Planetarium.
Cadets say it’s their way of honoring the astronauts and keeping their memory, and sacrifice alive.
“This is just our appreciation for everything that’s happened in the past,” another cadet said.
This week NASA also paid tribute to fallen astronauts with a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
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