Tag Archives: Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

picture of the day: The Loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger and all the crew members on board



The Loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger
On January 28, 1986, 73 seconds into its 10th launch, Americans watched in horror as the space shuttle Challenger (STS-51L) exploded in midair, killing its crew of seven–Navy pilot Michael J. Smith, Commander Francis Scobee and mission specialist Ronald McNair, front row; mission specialist Ellison Onizuka, first teacher in space Christa McAuliffe, payload specialist Gregory Jarvis and mission specialist Judith Resnik, back row.

President Ronald Reagan spoke to the nation from the Oval Office that afternoon, explaining the tragedy to the nation’s schoolchildren: ‘The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted. It belongs to the brave…. The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them nor the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

Space shuttle flights were suspended until 1988. An independent U.S. commission blamed the disaster on unusually cold temperatures that morning and the failure of the O-rings, a set of gaskets in the rocket boosters.

Image: NASA

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Today’s Birthday: RONALD MCNAIR (1950)


Ronald McNair (1950)

A nationally recognized US physicist, accomplished saxophonist, and black belt in karate, McNair was selected to join NASA’s astronaut training program in 1978. Six years later, aboard the space shuttleChallenger, he became the second African American in space. His next trip into orbit was to take place on the same shuttle on January 28, 1986, and McNair brought his sax along for the ride, intending to be the first to record an original piece of music in space. Why did this never happen? More… Discuss

 

Today’s Birthday: CHRISTA MCAULIFFE (1948)


Christa McAuliffe (1948)

McAuliffe, a high school history teacher, was among the seven crew members killed when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded soon after its launch in 1986. She had been selected to be the first civilian in space from a field of more than 11,000 applicants to NASA’s Teacher in Space program, and she was slated to teach two lessons during the flight. In 2004, she was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. What happened to the teacher chosen as McAuliffe’s backup? More… Discuss