A Little Bit of History: Michael John Smith

(April 30, 1945 – January 28, 1986)

Many of us remember January 28, 1986 well. We watched on TV as the Space Shuttle Challenger destructed after liftoff.

Some residents of North Carolina knew that one of their own was lost in that accident. Mike Smith — Michael John Smith — was the American pilot of the Space Shuttle Challenger. He was born in Beaufort NC. He died along with the six other crew members, as NASA mission STS-51L — Space Shuttle Challenger — was lost.

STS-51L was the twenty-fifth flight of the Space Shuttle program, using Space Shuttle Challenger, destroyed a short seventy-three seconds after its launch from Kennedy Space Center.

In addition to the Challenger Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery (see photo), there is also a Memorial in Beaufort. Additionally, the Beaufort Airport is named in memory of Smith: Michael J. Smith Field airfield.

Issue date: Oct 25–Nov 7, 2013

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About Kay Whatley 2293 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.