30 years ago I was a hot shot (or so I thought I was) computer programmer in an up and coming field (computers). I was fortunate because one of my users happened to be Ellison Onizuka's older sister. I did mention to her my admiration of Ellison and how lucky he was to be an astronaut and got to go into space. She was more reserved so didn't really say much about him or his accomplishments but we did chat about him and how he felt when he first went into space (unfortunately his first mission was a classified dept of defense mission so not much could be said other than how he felt when he was in space). When I was younger I was always a science geek and regularly followed the US space program. As a grade schooler I stayed up all night (Hawaii time) just to watch the moon landing, barely keeping my eyes open when Armstrong stepped off the lunar module onto the surface of the moon. I would shoot off model rockets and like most kids of that era I always dreamt of going into space or going to the moon one day. For me it was neat to know someone related to a "famous" person and I was happy to see someone from Hawaii get another chance to go back into space, this time a well publicized event complete with a teacher going into space. With a 5 hour time difference I awoke to find that something happened to the Challenger shuttle. I stayed home from work that day to watch the continuing disaster story, checking to see if I could figure out what caused the shuttle to explode. It was sad to see something bad happen to one of my "heroes" and like most of us couldn't believe it would happen to an illustrious program like NASA. Hard to believe that its been 30 years since that disaster. Also hard to believe that I'm now an "old fart" that is a few years from retirement. In between I did get to fulfill part of my dream and visit Kenney Space Center, my first trip there was a few months after the shuttle returned to space so there was a lot of excitement for the program. I still get a tear in my eye whenever I see a replay of the disaster.