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NASA pays tribute to fallen astronauts

Wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery
Vice President Mike Pence and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine set a memorial wreath among the gravestones for the astronauts who died in the Apollo 1 fire of 1967, with former NASA administrators, family members and other VIPs surrounding them at Arlington National Cemetery. (NASA / White House Photo)

NASA highlighted the legacy of astronauts lost in tragic missions including 1967’s Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger’s launch in 1986 and the shuttle Columbia’s breakup in 2003 today — a week later than originally planned due to the partial government shutdown.

The observance was postponed because NASA had to forgo non-essential activities during the 35-day hiatus in funding. A deal was struck to end the shutdown on Jan. 25, but by then NASA had already decided to reschedule. Now another shutdown deadline is looming on Feb. 15.

Nary a word was spoken about the delay, either in NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine’s remarks or in a written statement from President Donald Trump.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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