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Fire damages home of the widow of a NASA astronaut

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Ronald McNair

A fire damaged the Texas home owned by Cheryl McNair, widow of NASA astronaut Ronald McNair, but firefighters were able to save McNair’s space-flight memorabilia.

Cheryl McNair was sleeping in her home, which is located in El Lago, near Houston, when the fire alarm woke her on Wednesday. Firefighters were also able to save her cat, Rocka, but the two-story house suffered extensive damage. No one else was injured and the cause of the fire is being investigated.

Ronald McNair, who earned a doctorate in physics from MIT, was killed when the spaceship Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff on January 28, 1986, from the Kennedy Space Center.

The explosion occurred on live television as stunned viewers watched, shocked and in tears.

McNair was tasked with controlling Challenger‘s robotic arm to release and retrieve a satellite to observe Halley’s Comet.

He was named an astronaut candidate in January 1978. On previous flights, McNair logged 191 hours in space.

The seven-member crew also included Christa McAuliffe, the first school teacher to fly in space. Cheryl McNair has owned the home since 1988.

 

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