This Happened—January 28: Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster
As it was being watched live by millions, the Challenger space shuttle suddenly exploded 73 seconds after launch, killing everyone aboard. It happened on this day in 1986.
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What was the Challenger mission?
The crew had the mission of deploying a communications satellite and studying Halley's Comet while they were in orbit, in addition to the task of taking school teacher Christa McAuliffe into space.
Why did the Challenger explode?
A failure of the shuttle's right solid rocket booster (SRB) caused by record-low temperatures of the launch, and allowed hot pressurized gas from within the SRB to leak and burn the surrounding machinery. The failure of the internal system through the shuttle at incredible speed with aerodynamic forces that tore the ship apart.
Who was aboard the Challenger?
There were 7 crew members onboard, including F. Richard Scobee, the Commander, pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka and Judith Resnik, Gregory Jarvis a Payload Specialist and Christa McAuliffe, a Payload Specialist and teacher from Concord, New Hampshire.