1. In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods.
2. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life: soldiers and nurses who were heroes in an unpopular war.
3. A person noted for special achievement in a particular field: the heroes of medicine. See Synonyms at celebrity.
vic·tim ( P ) Pronunciation Key (vktm) n.
1. One who is harmed or killed by another: a victim of a mugging.
2. A living creature slain and offered as a sacrifice during a religious rite.
3. One who is harmed by or made to suffer from an act, circumstance, agency, or condition: victims of war.
4. A person who suffers injury, loss, or death as a result of a voluntary undertaking: You are a victim of your own scheming.
5. A person who is tricked, swindled, or taken advantage of: the victim of a cruel hoax.
They fit the definition of the former far better than the latter.
Twice, the American public was lulled into a sense of the routine concerning "space travel" and both times a simple material failure proved the seriousness of the undertaking; shall we celebrate the next crew for their bravery or for their sheer follishness?