They would be good with the fact that we didn't quit after their loss," Sieck said, referring to the 17 astronauts. "We continued on."

Retired shuttle launch director Bob Sieck said the U.S. astronauts who died in the Apollo 1 launch pad fire and in the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle accidents would appreciate that the nation didn't give up on exploring space after those tragedies.

He is the keynote speaker for Saturday's Astronaut Memorial Ceremony in Titusville.

The next week is a difficult one for the U.S. space community as it comes together to remember its greatest losses: the Apollo 1 capsule fire that killed three astronauts 44 years ago Thursday, today's 25th anniversary of the Challenger accident, and Tuesday's eighth anniversary of the Columbia accident.

Last July, seven years after the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia scattered debris across East Texas, civic leaders, elected officials, citizens and NASA representatives met in Hemphill to break ground for a museum that will honor the memory of the seven astronauts and two rescue workers who lost their lives during and after the Columbia tragedy.