Challenger Disaster - On January
28, 1986, the space shuttle "Challenger" exploded 73 seconds
after lift off, killing all seven crew members including Christa
McAuliffe, Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A.
Resnick, Ronald E. McNair, Ellison S. Onizuka, and Gregory B.
Jarvis. A booster leak in the rockets "O" ring section ignited
escaping fuel, thus destroying the space-bound shuttle soon
The event was witnessed by millions of Americans from grade
school age to senior citizens. The entire descent and explosion
of the shuttle was captured live on camera. Ironically space
launches had become so common that only CNN (Cable News Network)
was covering the story.
A painting commissioned by the US Senate, depicting the
ill-fated shuttle crew was installed at the US Capitol Building,
in Washington, D.C. in early 1987. The painting was done by
Temple University professor Charles W. Schmidt.
The story of the tragic event was made into a TV-Movie entitled
Challenger which aired 2/25/90.
Earlier in the space program on January 27, 1967 a fire broke
out onboard the Apollo 1 space capsule on the grounds at Cape
Kennedy, Florida killing the three American astronauts: Virgil
L. Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger Chaffee. The aftermath was
covered by all major TV networks.
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