On January 31, 1986 I attended the memorial service at Johnson Space Center for the STS-51-L Challenger crew. I vividly recall the moment when President Reagan ended his remarks and a formation of NASA T-38 Jets flew over the assembly, with one pilot pulling back on the stick at just the right moment to scream straight up out of sight to form the Missing Man formation. There is a catch in my throat now just recalling the memory of that powerfully emotional moment.
Question: Who piloted the T-38's that day? I know it was members of the Astronaut Corps, but who? At the time, I knew. But I have since forgotten, and I have been unable to identify the pilots so far, having searched the following sources:
- Wiki Challenger Disaster article;
- NY Times archived article on the memorial service, 1 Feb 1986;
- NASA's Challenger STS 51-L Accident Resource Page;
- Space Shuttle Memorial;
No luck so far. This may not have great historical significance for many. I understand that. For me, it's personal.