Those who dare to venture into an unexplored land will have revealed to them things which were never known.
Those who venture out upon the sea will have revealed to them things never heard.
But those who venture into the sky upon wings of silence.
Yes, the ethereal adventurers..
Theirs is the revelation of things never dreamed!
Such are the ways of explorers
And the surpassing way of the sky.
STS-114 Pilot Jim Kelly:
STS-114 パイロット ジム・ケリー:
As we orbit the Earth today, we are able to watch the beauty of the Earth and heavens unfurl before us as we undertake this journey. And we are reminded that it is upon the completion of the journey and the arrival back at the place from whence we came that we can say we truly know ourselves. Sadly, there are those who have been challenged by the adventure of human space exploration but who have not been able to experience that special feeling that comes with returning home. These are the men and women who have come before us, in courage, but who did not complete their journey of exploration. It is to these explorers that we now take a moment to reflect upon, and to whom we now pay tribute.
The spirit of exploration is truly part of what it is to be human. Human history has been a continual struggle from darkness toward light, a search for knowledge and deeper understanding, a search for truth. Ever since our distant ancestors ventured forth into the world, there has been an insatiable curiosity to see what lies beyond the next hill, what lies beyond the horizon. That is the fire of the human spirit that we all carry.
Through that spirit and through realizing its ambitions, the human race has come to find its present place in the world. Previous generations went first on foot, then on horseback. Later came the wooden sailing vessels that opened new continents and new lands. Today we have aircraft and space craft. We have shrunk the world in a way that early generations of explorers could never have imagined.
Likewise, even if the future is equally unimaginable to us, we can be sure that future generations will look upon our endeavors in space as we look upon those early expeditions across the seas. To those generations, the need to explore space will be as self evident as the need previous generations felt to explore the Earth and the Seas.
"Space is there and we're going to climb it, and the moon and planets are there and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked."
And, certainly, space exploration is not easy, and there has been a human price that has been paid. As we step out into this new frontier we find that it is very unforgiving of our mistakes. The lives lost over thirty years ago with the early steps taken by the crews of Apollo 1, Soyuz 1 and Soyuz 11 vehicles showed us that. The loss of the crew of Challenger reaffirmed the need to be ever vigilant of the risks.
Tragically, two years ago, we came once more to realize that we had let our guard down. We became lost in our own hubris and learned once more the terrible price that must be paid for our failures. In that accident we not only lost seven colleagues, we lost seven friends. Their families never shared in their homecoming. Those seven were driven by the fire of the human spirit within. They believed in space exploration. They knew the risks, but they believed in what they were doing. They showed us that the fire of the human spirit is insatiable. They knew that in order for a great people to do great things, they must not be bridled by timidity.
To the crew of Columbia, as well as the crews of Challenger, Apollo 1 and Soyuz 1 and 11, and to those who have courageously given so much, we now offer our enduring thanks. From you we will carry the human spirit out into space, and we will continue the explorations you have begun. We will find those new harbors that lie out in the stars and of which you dreamed. We do this not just because we owe it to you, but we do it because we also share your dream of a better world. We share your dream of coming to understand ourselves and our place in this universe. And as we journey into space you will be in our thoughts and will be deeply missed.