On January 27, 1967, during a ground test of Apollo 1, a fire broke out. All three astronauts inside the spacecraft died. On January 28, 1986, just 73 seconds into its 25th flight, the space shuttle Challenger broke apart and fell in pieces to the ocean below. All seven astronauts inside the crew compartment died. On February 1, 2003, during re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere toward the end of its 10th mission, the space shuttle Columbia broke apart and fell in pieces over the southern United States. All seven astronauts perished.
Only days before his death inside the Apollo 1 spacecraft, Gus Grissom finished drafting his book Gemini: A Personal Account of Man's Venture into Space. There, he wrote, "The conquest of space is worth the risk of life." Judy Resnick, who was on the ill-fated Challenger flight, said, "I want to do everything there is to be done." Thirty-seven pages of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon’s personal diary survived the fall to the ground when Columbia broke apart. On the sixth day of that mission, Ramon wrote, "I turned out to be a man who lives and works in space, just like in the movies."