Monday, October 4, 2010

Challenger Speech Analysis

On January 28, 1986 the spaceship Challenger blew up 73 seconds after takeoff. There were seven people on the ship: Francis (Dick) Scobee, Michael Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. All seven lost their lives in the explosion. The Challenger's mission was to launch a tracking and data relay satellite and too release the Spartan Haley Spacecraft. Teacher, Christa McAuliffe was also supposed to teach science lessons in space to students across the United States. For this reason, numerous schools had the launch on television in classrooms. Many children saw the explosion. Later that day Ronald Reagan was supposed to address state of the Union; he chose instead to talk to America about the explosion of the Challenger as seen in figure 1.

Figure 1 "Ronald Reagan: Challenger Speech." Photograph. 28 Jan. 1986 American Rhetoric. Web. 4 Oct. 2010

Ronald Reagan's rhetoric in his speech helps to convince in the people of America to keep their faith in the NASA space program.

Ronald Reagan begins his speech by telling Americans that the events of that morning were a tragedy that what happened was awful and he does this because that fact could not be hidden. After expressing his sadness for the day's events he says, "But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly." Ronald Reagan states this to remind Americans that there are no completely safe space missions. With pointing out that there are many dangers in being an astronaut we are reminded of other jobs that are necessary and no less dangerous, like being a cop, a fireman, or being in any of the armed forces. Deaths in these professions are tragic too but they are more or less expected. Later on in the speech Reagan says this: "We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and, perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers." In declaring that when it comes to space travel we are still pioneers Reagan is telling us that though we have come very far in technology, there is still much out there to be used. The things that we have now during space travel may not be as safe as the things we will use 20 years from now but we have to continue to try with the things we have to know what we are capable of and how to improve. Ronald Reagan also affirms his own faith in NASA to the American people. "I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program. And what happened today does nothing to diminish it." Just in speaking about how he still has faith in NASA instills faith in others. Our president knows more about what happens there than most people; if he thinks we should have faith than most people will believe him.

Reagan's complete faith in the NASA program shines through in his speech. He shows Americans with his own faith and calm reasoning that though this was a tragic accident the men and women at NASA will continue to do their best to keep their astronauts safe.

Work Cited

Reagan, Ronald Wilson. "Challenger Speech." White House. 28 Jan. 1983.
American Rhetoric. Web. 4 Oct. 2010.

Works Consulted

"Challenger Disaster." History. History Channerl, 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010