Everest / Alpine Expeditions

Challenger Crew, Astronauts, and Cosmonauts Remembered Atop Mt. Everest

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Challenger Center
June 19, 2008
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Challenger Crew, Astronauts, and Cosmonauts Remembered Atop Mt. Everest
Adam Janikowski

Dr. Scott Parazynski, a 16 year veteran of the NASA astronaut corps and avid mountain climber traveled to Mount Everest earlier this spring in hopes of ascending a mountain he had aspired to his whole life. While on the summit he had planned to tie off two special memorial flags in honor of fallen astronauts and cosmonauts.

The flags were patterned after Tibetan prayer flags that dot the high summits and mountain passes of the Himalayas. In a recent letter to the families of Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia, Soyuz 1 and Soyuz 11 crews, Dr. Parazynski wrote, “I couldn’t think of a better way to honor my heroes, your beloved family members, than on the apogee of the world’s highest mountain.”

Given that he was pursuing a very personal goal, Dr. Parazynski made this trip at his own expense, on his own time. Reflecting on the motivation for this trip he said “My boyhood was filled with all sorts of adventures, both as a result of traveling all over the world with my Dad’s job, and through the many books of exploration that I devoured.

One such book was “The Ascent of Everest”. While Dr. Parazynski was unable to reach the summit, he asked a friend and climbing partner, Adam Janikowski to do the honor for him, and now these two memorial flags fly on top of the world commemorating the fallen astronauts and cosmonauts. There were actually two sets of flags made, with the second set held in reserve, just in case Dr. Parazynski gets a chance to return to Mt. Everest.

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻