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Astronauts Day

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Astronauts Day
Observed byUnited States
TypeDay of remembrance of NASA astronauts
DateLast Friday in January
2023 dateJanuary 27  (2023-01-27)
2024 dateJanuary 26  (2024-01-26)
2025 dateJanuary 31  (2025-01-31)
2026 dateJanuary 30  (2026-01-30)

Astronauts Day is an American holiday, dedicated to NASA astronauts and their achievements. It is a "floating" holiday, observed on the last Friday of January.



This date was chosen[citation needed] to commemorate a number of space-related disasters which took place around this time, including the 27 January 1967 deaths of Command Pilot Virgil Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward Higgins White, and Pilot Roger Chaffee aboard Apollo 1,[1] and disasters involving the Space Shuttle Challenger on 28 January 1986,[2] and the Space Shuttle Columbia on 1 February 2003.[3]

Observants of this holiday are asked to light a candle in their window, reflect on the sacrifices astronauts have made, and re-dedicate themselves to a personal dream or goal of their own, a reference to a quote from Alan Shepard. While stuck in his suit for hours during a space mission, enduring technical delays, his patience gave out and he said "Why don’t you fix your little problem and light this candle!"[4]

See also



  1. ^ Mansfield, Cheryl L. (16 March 2015). "Apollo 1".
  2. ^ Warnock, Lynda (19 January 2016). "NASA - STS-51L Mission Profile".
  3. ^ Warnock, Lynda. "NASA - STS-107". Archived from the original on 2018-02-06. Retrieved 2016-12-17.
  4. ^ ""Light This Candle": The Hours Before Freedom 7". 9 May 2012.