Remembering The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster 29 Years Ago


The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when the NASA Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger (OV-099) (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. (From Wikipedia)

I was in 10th grade at the time sitting in a class when it was announced the shuttle came down. My family has always been big space program supporters and to hear this tragic news was very saddening. Its a brave person who goes into space to explore something outside their comfort zone. Spaceflight still matters and we as humans need to have adventures. These are the heroes of real spaceflight. 



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.



January 27, 1967: Apollo 1 Practice Launch Ends in Tragedy

On this day in 1967, tragedy struck the space program. Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee had been selected as the crew for Apollo 1, the first flight of the next generation of spacecraft succeeding the Gemini program.

During a practice launch countdown, a flash fire erupted inside the sealed cockpit. Within seconds the men were unconscious; minutes later they were dead. Because of the pressure of the fire, and the fact that the spacecraft’s hatch opened inward, there was no hope of escape.

Learn more about the Apollo missions with American Experience’s “Race to the Moon.”

Photo: Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, Apollo 1 crew (NASA).

NASA Spacecraft Embarks on Historic Journey Into Interstellar Space – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


PASADENA, Calif. – NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft officially is the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space. The 36-year-old probe is about 12 billion miles (19 billion kilometers) from our sun. New and unexpected data indicate Voyager 1 has been traveling for about one year through plasma, or ionized gas, present in the space between stars.


NASA Spacecraft Embarks on Historic Journey Into Interstellar Space – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory



July 20, 1969: First Man Walks on the Moon

On this day in 1969, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon aboard the spaceflight Apollo 11. An estimated 600 million people, one-fifth of the world’s population at the time, watched or listened as Neil Armstrong took that momentous first step onto the moon. There he famously declared, “This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Relive this historic moment with PBS NEWSHOUR’s piece on Neil Armstrong.

Photo: NASA


Tonight we are watching Apollo 13  This an awesome movie directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon. This movie is about a mission to the moon that turns into a mission to save three lives. The story takes place in one of my favorite times in American history. The space program is a big part of our nations contributions to the world. Technology from NASA has made many things we use today possible.