Re­mem­ber When...

The Space Shut­tle Broke Up

PS Magazine - - POP CULTURE, NEWS, AND EVENTS FROM PAST DECADES -

On Jan­uary 28, 1986, the Space Shut­tle Chal­lenger dis­as­ter oc­curred shortly af­ter launch­ing from Kennedy Space Cen­ter, re­sult­ing in the deaths of its sev­en­per­son crew that in­cluded Christa McAuliffe, the first civil­ian and teacher to travel into space. Ms. McAuliffe was se­lected to join the crew as part of NASA’s Teach­ers in Space pro­gram, where she was to de­liver two 15-minute lessons to mil­lions of school­child­ren via close- cir­cuit tele­vi­sion dur­ing the mis­sion. Orig­i­nally, Chal­lenger was sched­uled to launch six days ear­lier but was de­layed due to se­vere weather and tech­ni­cal is­sues. On the morn­ing of the fate­ful launch, just 73 sec­onds from liftoff, Chal­lenger broke apart af­ter an ex­plo­sion of fuel and the crew com­part­ment plum­meted into the ocean.

Later that evening, Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan, al­ready sched­uled to de­liver his an­nual State of the Union ad­dress, gave a na­tional ad­dress from the Oval Of­fice re­gard­ing the tragedy and paid tribute to the crewmem­bers.

Above: Chal­lenger dis­in­te­grated shortly af­ter liftoff.

Left: (front row) Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ron­ald McNair; (back row) El­li­son Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gre­gory Jarvis, Ju­dith Res­nik.

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