For space watchers, the start of any year always brings about a combination of endless possibilities and somber reflection. That's because for all the stuff we're getting excited about in the next 12 months (space coffee included, we guess), it's impossible for NASA admirers to let the last weeks of January pass by without stopping for a moment.
Three high profile days of NASA remembrance—January 27 (Apollo 1), January 28 (Challenger), and February 1 (Columbia)—all occurred within the last two weeks. And with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program's greatest triumph on the calendar for later in 2019, these tragedies come to mind more than usual. They remind everyone about the immense risk involved with pushing mankind into the heavens, and they speak to the unbelievable effort and resilience involved in pushing space development forward over the decades.
So for this week's Orbital Transmission, we're engaging in our normal late January space routine—thinking back and looking forward simultaneously. The space industry doesn't always make it easy to pause (this year China already did the Pink Floyd thing, landing on the far side of the moon!), but taking a moment for perspective will only further emphasize the amazing accomplishments to come.