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The three space tragedies that led to NASA's day of remembrance


In an incredible coincidence, the four days between Jan. 27 and Feb. 1 include anniversaries of three tragic events that changed the NASA space program forever.

CTV News anchor Mustumi Takahashi spoke with former astronaut Julie Payette about the Apollo 1, Space Shuttle Challenger and Space Shuttle Columbia disasters and how they affected space travel.

NASA commemorates the tragedies the last Thursday of every January.

WATCH the full interview above.

Apollo 1, January 27, 1967

A fire on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy during a pre-flight test for Apollo resulted in the deaths of astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee as flames swept through the command module.

NASA says that "technical and management lapses led to the accident."

In this undated photo made available by NASA, from left, veteran astronaut Virgil Grissom, first American spacewalker Ed White and rookie Roger Chaffee, stand for a photograph in Cape Kennedy, Fla. During a launch pad test on Jan. 27, 1967, a flash fire erupted inside their capsule killing the three Apollo crew members. (NASA via AP)

Shuttle Challenger, January 28, 1986

Seventy-three seconds into the Space Shuttle Challenger's STS-51L mission, an "explosive burn of hydrogen and oxygen propellants that destroyed the External Tank and exposed the Orbiter to severe aerodynamic loads that caused the complete structural breakup," according to NASA's report on the disaster.

Shuttle commander Francis R. Scobee, pilot Michale J. Smith, mission specialists Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair and Ellison S. Onizuka all died, as did payload specialist Gregory B. Jarvis and teacher Sharon Christa McAuliffe.

A lengthy investigation found the cause of the disaster was an o-ring failure in the right solid rocket booster, which was aggravated by extreme cold weather in Florida before the launch, NASA said.

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 1986, file photo, the crew for the Space Shuttle Challenger flight 51-L leaves their quarters for the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Mission Spl. Ronald McNair, center, was only the second African American chosen to go to space. He died in the Challenger launch. The documentary "Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier" is scheduled to air on the Smithsonian Channel on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, and examines the race to get black astronauts into space. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Columbia, February 1, 2003

The Columbia STS-107 lifted off on Jan. 16, 2003 and suffered a catastrophic failure on Feb. 1, 2003 upon reentry into the earth's atmosphere.

The failure was caused by a break that occured during launch when falling foam from the external tank struck the reinforced carbon panels on the underside of the left wing, according to NASA.

Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Blair Salton Clark and Ilan Ramon were killed 15 minutes before the Columbia was scheduled to touch down at Kennedy Space Center.

This undated photo released in June 2003 provided by NASA shows STS-107 crew members aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. On Feb. 1, 2003, the seven crew members were lost as the Columbia fell apart over East Texas. This picture was on a roll of unprocessed film later recovered by searchers from the debris. From the left (bottom row), wearing red shirts to signify their shift's color, are mission specialist Kalpana Chawla, commander, Rick D. Husband, mission commander Laurel B. Clark and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist. From the left (top row), wearing blue shirts, are mission specialist David M. Brown, pilot William C. McCool, pilot; and payload commander Michael P. Anderson. (NASA via AP, File) Top Stories

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