Challenger – 22 Years Ago Today


It was a short 22 years ago today that the space shuttle Challenger exploded during its ascent, and the word “o-ring” entered our everyday vocabulary. As we all know, all seven astronauts died. Here is a shot of the bird during happier days.

08_01_28 challenger

I was in third grade at the time, and I remember being outside during recess when my friend came running out with the news. None of us believed him. Our logic said that if we could always hear the shuttle when it landed (at least, we could hear the sonic booms), then we certainly would have heard the shuttle explode. I suppose we forgot that it launched in Florida and NOT California.

When we returned to the classroom, our teacher sat us all down and explained what had happened, or at least what she knew. Then we watched it on television. Many of us were Young Astronauts, and we were all devastated. There are only a handful of national tragedies that make such an impression that you remember them clearly for as long as you live. This was the first to impact me in that way.

So, let’s all remember the crew of STS-51L. Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, and Judith Resnik all lost their lives on January 28, 1986.

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4 comments on “Challenger – 22 Years Ago Today

  1. I’m feeling my age then. I was 17 and driving north above West Palm Beach Florida and remember seeing the plume go up and then arc back down. Listening to the radio break in with the news was quite disturbing. A image I’ll never forget.

  2. Ok, I guess it didn’t enter everyone’s vocabulary. An o-ring was used as a seal on the booster rockets. It was the failure of an o-ring that caused the booster and subsequently the shuttle to explode. For more info, read this from NASA.

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