The story of how a soccer ball fell to Earth from space and came back
The story of how a soccer ball fell to Earth from space and came back
The history of the soccer ball in space

In 1986, the Challenger space shuttle exploded 73 seconds into flight, killing seven NASA crew members. The ship scattered 14 tons of debris, which they managed to find - they all scattered across the water surface of the ocean, and a special search team was forced to look for the remains of the crew among them. One of the team's findings was a battered soccer game, all inscribed by schoolchildren from Texas. The children wished the astronauts good luck.

The crew of the exploded shuttle

Janelle Onizuka, the daughter of one of the astronauts (Eliason Onizuka), later told reporters that she handed this ball to her father on the eve of departure. Her father was then in quarantine, mandatory for all astronauts on the eve of departure, but he still managed to see his daughter - and it was then that she gave him a gift. And this was the last time the girl saw her father alive. The father did not return home, but the ball returned.

Eliason Onizuka

After investigating the disaster, NASA returned to the families of the victims all their personal belongings that they could find. This is how Janelle and her mother Lorna got the ball. They did not want to make an artifact or a memorable thing out of it, kept in a conspicuous place, and gave it to the school, where they put the ball on the shelf, signed it, and where it lay, gathering dust, for several decades.

Janelle Onizuka, who presented the ball to her father on the eve of the tragic flight

30 years after this tragedy, one of the parents of the children attending this school drew attention to the ball on public display. The man saw a barely visible inscription on the side of the ball and realized that it was the same soccer ball that flew into space, but returned to earth under such tragic circumstances. The current director of the establishment was not aware of the history of this trophy and was sincerely surprised by this turn of events.

And it had to happen - just a few years later, in October 2016, NASA approached the school with a proposal to send something like this with the astronauts on the upcoming Expedition 49 flight, during which astronaut Robert Shane Kimbrough was supposed to spend 173 days in space … The principal instantly thought of the unusual ball kept at her school.

Robert Shane Kimbrough

When the astronaut was presented with a commemorative ball, he was amazed. “I must confess that I am overwhelmed with emotions just from the thought that I am holding such an object. With all this history behind this ball - just think how much happened to him before he got here, "- said then Robert Kimbrough. “I think about that astronaut's family, what this ball meant to them. I even took a picture of him and sent these pictures to them."

One shuttle explosion killed seven crew members at once

As a result, the ball went back into space. This time, despite possible prejudices, nothing happened to the crew. The ball flew with the astronaut to the International Space Station and after it was returned to the school. Now the ball was put back in the place where it had been stored before, but now they did not forget to sign such an important exhibit. The milestones of the "life" of this trophy were marked on the plate lying by the ball: ""

The shuttle flight lasted only 73 seconds

In our article "Space is already close" we present to your attention an absolutely stunning selection of images taken from space. Saturn, Mars, Moon and, of course, our native Earth. This is not a simulation, these are real photographs taken with various devices scattered by people across the solar system.

Popular by topic