Tag Archives: Space Shuttle Challenger

O-Rings


O-Rings

An o-ring is a rubber ring that is used in machinery as a seal against substances like oil and air. Although it is one of the most commonly used seals, it is forever linked to a catastrophic failure. After the space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986, investigators determined that the o-ring seal in one of the shuttle’s solid fuel rockets failed due to a loss of elasticity that resulted from the low temperature at launch time. How was this problem later demonstrated at a news conference? More… Discuss

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today’s Hholiday/observance: NASA Day of Remembrance (2015)


NASA Day of Remembrance (2015)

NASA established the Day of Remembrance to honor those who have died in America‘s space program. The day focuses on those who died in three NASA space tragedies: the Apollo 1 fire on January 27, 1967; the Shuttle Challenger disaster of January 28, 1986; and the Shuttle Columbia tragedy of February 1, 2003. The day also remembers NASA employees who died in training and maintenance accidents. NASA headquarters observes the day with a roll call of all those who have died. At Cape Canaveral in Florida, a moment of silence is observed at noon. More… Discuss

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

this day in the yesteryear: Space Shuttle Challenger Breaks Apart (1986)


Space Shuttle Challenger Breaks Apart (1986)

Seventy-three seconds into its launch, the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated, killing everyone on board. Investigators concluded that an O-ring—a rubber seal located in the right booster engine—had failed due to cold weather at the time of launch, causing a chain reaction that led to the orbiter’s ultimate disintegration. The tragic event was captured on film, and many children viewed the launch live because schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe was on board. Why was she on the shuttle? More… Discuss

Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion (GRAPHIC)

THIS DAY IN TH EYESTERYEAR: Sally Ride Returns to Earth (1983)


Sally Ride Returns to Earth (1983)

Before astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman to reach outer space, she made a name for herself as a nationally-ranked tennis player. After earning her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Stanford University, she took part in her first space shuttle mission in 1983, serving on board the Challenger. She later served on the panels that investigated the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters. What two women preceded Ride in space? More… Discuss

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