Despite Risks, 'They Did It With A Happy Heart'
July 7, 2008
(CNSNews.com) - Saturday, Feb. 1, "started out as a pretty happy morning," said grief-stricken NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe at NASA first press briefing on the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its seven-person crew.
Families and friends were waiting at the Kennedy Space Center when the shuttle disintegrated at 9 a.m. EST at an altitude of about 203,000 feet in the area above north central Texas.
The families "couldn't wait to congratulate them (the crew) for their extraordinary performance and their excellence efforts on the science mission on this very important flight," O'Keefe said.
He reminded America that the astronauts "dedicated their lives to pushing the scientific challenges for all of us here on Earth. They dedicated themselves to that objective and did it with a happy heart, willingly, and with great enthusiasm. The loss of this valiant crew is something we will never be able to get over."
O'Keefe said NASA has assured the astronauts' families, "We will do everything - everything - we can possibly do, to guarantee that they work their way through this horrific tragedy." He asked the media to respect the families' privacy.
"We trust the prayers of the nation will be with them and with their families, and again, a more courageous group of people you could not have hoped to know than the families of these crew members and the extraordinary, extraordinary group of astronauts who gave their lives."
They knew the risks, O'Keefe said, and he said the those at NASA "diligently dedicate ourselves every single day" to assure these things don't occur. More to come.