In this somewhat somber Space Saturday I commemorate the loss of Space Shuttle Challenger and the 7 crew members aboard. 25 years ago yesterday at 73 seconds into the flight, aerodynamic forces broke up the craft (not an explosion as is commonly thought) due to a failed O-ring in the right side solid rocket booster.
In January of ’86 I was six but I do remember the devastation that this catastrophic failure brought. It is sad that this disaster was preventable. It is sad that it happened again with Columbia. I think the worst part of the tragedy is that it is very likely the 7 crew members were alive for the almost 3 minutes after the shuttle broke up on the trajectory back toward impact with the ocean. I cannot imagine their terror during that time (although hopefully they were unconscious). It was a sad day indeed. Never forget the men and women who have given their lives for science.
- Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster – Wikipedia
- Challenger STS 51-L Accident – NASA
- Mission Archives STS-51L – NASA
- CNN’s broadcast from 1986
- Remembering the Challenger disaster, 25 years later – CNN
- Remembering Fallen Astronauts: Day of Remembrance – NASA
- STS-51L Launch Image Source
For other astronomy pictures, check out my Space Saturday Archive.