January 28, 1986: Space Shuttle Challenger Breaks Apart After Launch

Barely 70 seconds into its flight, the space shuttle Challenger broke apart on this day in 1986, killing all seven astronauts aboard. The disaster was caused by a faulty seal in one of the rockets on the shuttle. The tragedy led to a 32-month hiatus of the shuttle program.

Read President Ronald Reagan’s speech to the nation following the Challenger disaster.

Photo: The STS-51L crew, who were lost aboard the Challenger (NASA). Front row: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair. Back row: Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik.

I was in high school when this happened. Space flight is a awesome adventure but has risk. These people are true heroes.