An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsArticle Display

21 SOPS honors Challenger mission

Just 73 seconds after the Challenger launch on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, a booster engine failed and caused the Shuttle Challenger to break apart, taking the lives of all seven crewmembers (NASA photo)

Just 73 seconds after the Challenger launch on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, a booster engine failed and caused the Shuttle Challenger to break apart, taking the lives of all seven crewmembers (NASA photo)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
21 SOPS,

Thirty years ago today, the Challenger exploded during lift off, taking with it the lives of all seven astronauts including the man for which our operations facility is named.  When you roam the halls of the Ellison Onizuka Satellite Operations Facility, our link to a proud heritage immediately emerges. 

One of the many pieces of memorabilia from the squadron's support to the shuttle missions is the crew photo, patch and coin from that fateful mission.  Some of us are the inheritors of that heritage.  Many of you created that heritage through years of dedication and hard work.  Some who read this were there when Sunnyvale Air Force Station was renamed Onizuka Air Force Station in memory of Col. Ellison Onizuka in 1986. 

Many were there when the Ellison Onizuka Satellite Operations Facility was dedicated in July 2010 to continue the mission of 21st Space Operations Squadron as Onizuka Air Force Station closed its doors.   No matter where you might have been, thank you for your continued excellence. 

As we look back 30 years we can see a tremendous change in ourselves and the world.  We regret that Colonel Onizuka and his fellow astronauts didn't get the opportunity to witness those changes, but we stand proud as an organization to bear his name and continue his legacy.
Previous Story
Next Story