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January 28, 2011 Permalink

Challenger disaster: remembered

On January 28, 1986, at 11:38 a.m., EST, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The entire crew of seven was lost in the explosion 73 seconds into the launch. Today, on the 25th anniversary of this national tragedy, we honor in memory the brave crew who gave their lives for the exploration of space. Sharon Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire social studies teacher, was NASA's choice for the first teacher in space. Because McAuliffe was our local astronaut, she is featured heavily in this post, but we honor all seven on the anniversary of a nation's great loss. -- Paula Nelson (34 photos total)

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger. From left: Ellison Onizuka, Mike Smith, Christa McAuliffe, Dick Scobee, Greg Jarvis, Ron McNair and Judith Resnik. (NASA/1986)
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168 comments so far...

What happened... why did it explode like that? So sad, it nearly brings me to tears!

Posted by Julie January 28, 11 02:32 PM

So tragic. I was only 1 year old when this happened, but i've always been inspired by the brave men and women who venture in space for the benefit of man-kind.
Rest In Peace, Heroes!

Posted by Misora January 28, 11 02:36 PM

I remember this disaster : I was boarder in a high-school in France and we saw that on the TV set : it was horrible.
A dream and a nice machine had been broken ...
It's amazing to remember it 25 years later ....
Sad day ...

Posted by Fred G January 28, 11 02:37 PM

:-( Thank you for the photos.

Posted by Jeremy January 28, 11 02:39 PM


Posted by Ryan January 28, 11 02:40 PM

So sad...

Posted by B January 28, 11 02:40 PM

a history that never forget...

Posted by Shaiful Rizal January 28, 11 02:41 PM

R.I.P. to all the brave astronauts.

It's a good thing Richard Feynman was in the Challenger committee and found out was exactly happened. Because the rest of the board were shameless politicians who didn't really care what happened, but only about their own images.

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. "

Posted by asdf January 28, 11 02:43 PM

awesome photos

Posted by Richard January 28, 11 02:48 PM

So sad ..

Posted by Mario January 28, 11 02:49 PM

I love you guys, amazing shots - but you have a major type-o at the top:

On January 28, 1968, at 11:38 a.m., EST


Posted by Jared January 28, 11 02:50 PM

Photo #18. Center. Ralphie from "A Christmas Story"

Posted by threesevenkilo January 28, 11 02:51 PM

Interesting look back

Posted by Austin, Tx January 28, 11 02:51 PM

Amazing photos!!!! (Year is wrong in description)

Posted by Jc Miron January 28, 11 02:54 PM

Remember sitting in high school watching this live on TV. Very sad indeed. On another note, isn't that Ralphie from A Christmas Story in photo # 18?

Posted by Erik January 28, 11 02:56 PM

No one can say that she wasn't extremelly happy, that she hasn't died fulfilling her dream, doing what she liked the most.

Posted by Sniffer January 28, 11 02:58 PM

Great post. I vividly remember viewing this that day in class at school as a kid. The intro at the top has the date at 1968 not 1986 however.

Posted by Joram Mckenney January 28, 11 02:59 PM

Tragic! Kudos to Boston Globe to honor these men and women with utmost respect and beautifully. God Speed!!

Posted by adi January 28, 11 03:04 PM

There was no explosion. It was a structural break-up of the vehicle and the crew was killed by the impact in the ocean.

Posted by B January 28, 11 03:05 PM

nice pictures as always

Posted by Adri January 28, 11 03:07 PM

I can remember what I did that day.

Posted by hhm January 28, 11 03:08 PM

Very sad day. I remember it like it was yesterday.

BTW, the date was January 28, 1986 not January 28, 1968.

Posted by Hesh January 28, 11 03:08 PM

The combination of 21 and 22 is heartbreaking.

Posted by Skoticus January 28, 11 03:08 PM

This event was one of those moments you remember forever; I was an Indiana farmboy looking forward to graduation. But Christa was not from my town so Challenger was just another mission until that fateful day.

I moved to Concord in 1995 and have loved every minute of it. Yet seeing these images of her in front of the State House catches me utterly off guard; her selection for this mission must have been an outrageously happy time around here.

The explosion must have been equally devastating. I can safely say that this is a city that doesn't talk about it, though her tombstone is never empty. Thank you for helping me get to know her a little better. I hope there are some stories posted here.

Posted by Jeremy January 28, 11 03:15 PM

I remember this day vividly. I was a sophomore in high school in WV. Later I would move to NH, where I would travel to Concord regularly. A prayer of peace for all those who remembered, and continue to reach beyond the stars.

Posted by dps04b January 28, 11 03:17 PM

We should all remember our brave explorers

Posted by David January 28, 11 03:18 PM

Now I'm 30, I realize how sad this accident really is.

Posted by Michael January 28, 11 03:18 PM

Good pics but there was a typo. It happened on January 28, 1986. But good job capturing that happened.

Posted by Anonymous January 28, 11 03:18 PM

I remember (like most people in my age group) watching this happen on TV in elementary school. In retrospect, I'm not sure why schools across the country dropped everything they were doing to make sure we didn't miss it. They never really did that with other important things on TV...horrible irony.

#4 looks like she was added to the picture with 80s PhotoShop (i.e. scissors and glue).

Posted by SoulChorea January 28, 11 03:21 PM

Too many pics about the teacher. How about the others astronauts? How about pics of the shuttle?

Posted by Me January 28, 11 03:23 PM

Not to undermine such a horrific tragedy, but the date is wrong in the first sentence.

Posted by Tara January 28, 11 03:23 PM

There is a typo on the date on the top descriptiond saying 1968... Good Sharing on all the pictures.. Thanks!

Posted by Tailoman January 28, 11 03:24 PM

I also went to Christa McAuliffe Elementary School (don't know if it's the one mentioned or not, as my school was in Virignia) and hery story and the story of the Challenger has always held a special place in my heart. Her legacy continues to be an inspiration to us all.

Posted by Jen January 28, 11 03:28 PM

the day dreams died....!

Posted by DavidJK January 28, 11 03:29 PM

Some more coverage of the other members of that crew would have been nice.

Posted by Daniel January 28, 11 03:30 PM

She was so happy to be part of that. It was so sad.

One thing: I read in an article that the crew didn´t actually die in the explosion itself. The Cabin was intact after that. The article said they actually died on impact on water and that they might have been unconscious but still alive.

Can someone confirm this?

Posted by Juan José January 28, 11 03:30 PM

Very sad, moving photos showing a small part of this woman's life.

Posted by Anonymous January 28, 11 03:31 PM

Beautiful rememberance...just noticed the year is wrong (written as 1968)

Posted by Toni Addario January 28, 11 03:35 PM

Some people underestimate the risks of this line of work. Respect to all who dare going where they were trying to get.

Posted by Werner January 28, 11 03:36 PM


Posted by célio martins January 28, 11 03:37 PM

So sad

Posted by Phate January 28, 11 03:37 PM

Why all of the black and whites?

Posted by Want color... January 28, 11 03:38 PM

#22, so heart breaking

Posted by Nathan January 28, 11 03:40 PM


Posted by Ronald January 28, 11 03:40 PM

There are still no words to express the sorrow I felt as I watched this happen on TV from the floor of my school library. It was a terrible day, and now that I am a teacher and a mother if hurts my heart even more for the families and students of this wonderful person.

Posted by Anonymous January 28, 11 03:41 PM

so sad

Posted by eos January 28, 11 03:44 PM

sobering - and when you read the back story that led to this, double tragic.
May she and the others be remembered in the purity of the pursuit of knowledge, not the big business behind it that takes the risks with peoples' lives.

Posted by Steve Grove January 28, 11 03:48 PM

Very sad.

Posted by Mr. Blonde January 28, 11 03:52 PM


Posted by Stewie January 28, 11 03:52 PM

25 years and still shocking... R.I.P.

Posted by Attila January 28, 11 03:57 PM

Noble-prize winner Richard Feynman played a great role in discovering the cause of the accident...

Posted by wburzyns January 28, 11 04:09 PM

Look.....bottom line this was criminal negligence. I hate the way this is turned into a flag waving "tragic accident." Scientists have testified that they knew there was a problem with the O-ring and cold weather...and yet they launched anway......and people wax on about Reagan's speech. Please. One even said he watched at home...and weaited for it to explode.This should never have happened!

Posted by JM January 28, 11 04:20 PM

Every one of those 7 astronauts was impressive. Check out their biographies. My wife knew Judy Resnick, and my daughter lived in a dorm named for her at CMU. We shouldn't focus on just one of the -- they were all special.

Posted by Mongo January 28, 11 04:25 PM

Question #51-all of the black and white photos are because most of them were AP photos, and color photos in newspapers (still important back then) were pretty much unheard of. So the AP took a lot of B&W to make it easier to file the shots.

Posted by John Viola January 28, 11 04:26 PM

I remember watching it on TV. I was a sophomore in high school in Western Mass and we were all so excited to be watching a fellow New Englander make the space flight. The space shuttle was a fairly new program at the time so watching every take-off was an event. It was horrible. One of those, "Where you when..." moments in my life. Looking through these photographs and reading the captions brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for making this one of the top stories today. It's important for the younger generation to know about Christa McAuliffe and this tragedy.

Posted by Jennifer January 28, 11 04:26 PM

I was in 5th grade and the teachers put the two classes together to watch the take off. After the explosion i remember it being very quiet and not understanding what just happened, the teachers did not know what to say. It was so sad. RIP Hero's

Posted by Anonymous January 28, 11 04:27 PM

With all due respect to Christa McAuliffe, there were other astronauts on board Challenger that day. I suspect that she would want them to be remembered too.

Posted by Fincher January 28, 11 04:31 PM

Interesting (nee sad) to see so many viewers not bothering to read others comments. How many pointed out the date error!

I remember this day. This tragedy set the space program back a decade.

Posted by Evan January 28, 11 04:38 PM

I'll never forget it. And I remember it being such a huge deal that we were all listening to the radio coverage of it at school.

I wonder, though, what it did to our generation? Here was this event that was so hyped up that we were all watching (or listening to) it at school, all around the country. Then it blew up. And then we realized it blew up because they had been sloppy.

Posted by crespo January 28, 11 04:39 PM

Thanks, once again, for a great collection. Hope you can do something similar on Mission Specialist Ronald McNair, from his integration of his library at age 10 to his training at NASA.

Posted by GearHead326 January 28, 11 04:45 PM

It was a tragic day for all. The teaching profession lost an amazing educator that day.

Posted by Jimee Johnson January 28, 11 04:47 PM

This brought a tear to my eye even now.

Posted by Rabbitpirate January 28, 11 04:49 PM

Thanks for the occasional picture of the other six people who died.

Posted by Spaceman Spiff January 28, 11 04:53 PM

There were six other members of that crew...they deserved some attention on this somber anniversary..

Posted by former NASA coworker January 28, 11 04:57 PM

In reference to the question about how the astronauts perished, yes - they survived the explosion. The capsule was intact but when the vehicle broke apart, it fell into the ocean. The impact into the water is how they perished. I saw an excellent documentary about the hearings and all the data collected during the investigation, including the details about how the capsule remained intact until it hit the water.

Posted by Beene January 28, 11 05:01 PM

quel terrible souvenir...

Posted by Francky21 January 28, 11 05:23 PM

we wil never forget

Posted by guilloteau jean yves January 28, 11 05:32 PM

So sad. Christa was such a courageous woman. My wife was on a bowling team with Christa's sister. What a shock it was that day. When I decided to become a teacher myself (a career change), I applied for and won a scholarship called the Christa McAuliffe award in Maryland. She continues to inspire me to become a better teacher.

Posted by Jack S. January 28, 11 05:57 PM

right so, christia mc Auliffe died, what about the other astronauts on the ship, bit over the top on one member of the crew IMO,

its more like a "remembering christina mcAuliffe" than a challanger disaster remembered

Posted by mousey January 28, 11 06:02 PM

I remember this day was still in H.S I just remember a kid coming into my History Class and telling my teacher Mr. Stein the Space Shuttle had exploded. He turned on the t.v. and I still couldn't believe it happened. 25 years Wow! May all 7 RIP forever!

Posted by Cathy January 28, 11 06:07 PM

#73 is so right, change the title of the photo spread if they want to focus on Krista ...

Posted by Bob S January 28, 11 06:33 PM

Good collection of images for remembering them. RIP

Posted by @volgyiattila January 28, 11 06:37 PM

Very disappointed see the headline about the Challenger to find this is nothing but pictures of--or specifically related to--Christa McAuliffe.

Posted by Hrm. January 28, 11 07:09 PM

This is a beautiful and moving collection-I think we all (those of us old enough) remember where we were and what we were doing that day, I always will.
Thank you for posting this collection-my husband and I are NASA enthusiasts and sincerely hope that despite this and other tragedies, the desire to explore will once again prevail over the risks and the pioneer spirit that brought NASA together in the 1950's and sustained it through the 1980's will someday return and we can continue to explore the stars.

Posted by Carol S., Atlanta GA January 28, 11 07:23 PM

It was a tragic day.
Thanks, for a photography collection.

Posted by Al.Aleshin January 28, 11 07:26 PM

Christa McAuliffe was of course a very tragic loss and I do not intend to minimize the specific impact her death had, but there were 6 other astronauts that i would have enjoyed seeing a little more about. Ellison Onizuka went to my high school, Konawaena High in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. We have many things dedicated to him at my school including a large mural and multiple buildings, as well as the Ellison Onizuka museum located at the Kona Airport. I know my school is run down and has much to be desired aesthetically, but to have seen a picture of what we have done to honor OUR astronaut would have been very special. Sadly, due a to lack of visitors, the Ellison Onizuka museum which honored the entire Challenger crew, is being shut down (i believe it may have already closed its doors). Additionally, I wish I could have seen what other home towns had done to honor their loss.

Having heard of Ellison Onizuka and the Challenger my whole life (I was 18 months old when it happened), it was sobering to be reminded on this 25th anniversary of the horrible tragedy that it truly was. I am also proud that one of the gifted crew chosen for the mission was from my little home town of Kealakekua, Kona, Hawaii.

Posted by Michelle January 28, 11 07:43 PM

i am in 5th grade. i fell sad for them.

Posted by Anonymous January 28, 11 08:15 PM

May God rest their souls ...

Posted by Wibisono January 28, 11 08:29 PM

I agree with 72, 73, most unfortunate, this picture collection should have been titled differently :(

Posted by Dan Dare January 28, 11 08:30 PM

I agree with 72, 73, most unfortunate, this picture collection should have been titled differently :(

Posted by Dan Dare January 28, 11 08:30 PM

Fortunate for my family and I to have had a chance meeting in August of '86 with Christa at her Concord home, I was particular touched by the loss of such a charismatic, enthusiastic, and dynamic educator that had such an ability to make learning exciting and fun. I am sure those close to her miss her dearly even after 25 years. I can only express my continued sympathy for your loss. As a teacher who participated in Michigan's Teacher In Space program, what I find tragic on such a grand scale is the loss to all the millions of children Christa would have taught and inspired in the years to follow. My only solace is that she did touch the future of many lives while here. I feel privileged to include myself in that fraternity and found it a pleasure to pass her legacy of excitement for learning on to those I taught.

Posted by slmarkel January 28, 11 08:41 PM

It is noted in the introduction that the focus is heavily on McAuliffe for a reason (she's a "local"). Even if this blog were only viewed locally, I would find that reasoning questionable (New Englanders only care about McAuliffe?). But given that this blog is viewed nationwide (and worldwide), that reasoning is astoundingly myopic.

I *won't* be sharing this with anyone I know.

Posted by Splashman January 28, 11 08:43 PM

"Because McAuliffe was our local astronaut..."

Uhhhhh....Ron McNair had a PhD from MIT.

Posted by nallex January 28, 11 08:51 PM

This post is not “Challenger disaster: remembered”. This is “Christa McAuliffe: remembered”.

Show some respect for the other six crew members who died also.

Posted by Mark January 28, 11 09:05 PM

My son and I were visiting my mother-in-law for lunch, when we saw the newscast. I packed him up and went home only to be greeted by a phone call from a friend telling me about the elementary school-age daughter of someone we knew who died that same day beneath the wheels of a school bus. Those 2 events will be forever tied together.

Posted by Judith Churchill January 28, 11 09:16 PM

I was a high school student in New Hampshire when this happened. NH is a small state and everyone was very proud that Ms. McAuliffe was chosen to be the teacher to go up in the shuttle. The excitement was real, even for cynical teenagers. We watched this happen in our classrooms, live. I think every student in New Hampshire watched it live. When the shuttle exploded there was just silence. The whole of my very small town was just shocked for days. I'll never forget it. I don't remember tears in my eyes on the day it happened, but there are tears in my eyes now.

Posted by JB January 28, 11 09:29 PM

I remember. I was in 10th grade in 2nd period French class. When it was announced -- remember, this was pre-Internet -- none of us could believe it. In many ways it was like when Reagan was shot -- just a simply incredible occurrence which was difficult to wrap one's head around.

Looking at these photos definitely made me tear up.

Posted by Jason January 28, 11 10:08 PM

Wow it's shocking news ! now im 17 years old, so i wasn't born at the time but its very make me speechless after i know all of them :(
*lets pray together start for our heroes

Posted by Febyka aprilia January 28, 11 10:16 PM

Such a sad day...I was a freshman in high school and my principal announced the sad news over the loud speaker...I still remember her crying....what a sad day for all. I went to Framingham State College, MA where Christa grew up and went to college and often saw her mother making speeches about her. Rest in Peace to all the brave astronauts. I feel so terrible for their families.

Posted by Anonymous January 28, 11 10:48 PM

i still vividly remember that day the space shuttle explodes mid-air as we are also experiencing a prelude to people power revolution that cause the downfall of Pres. Marcos here in manila. it was a very tense moment.

Posted by kidlat January 28, 11 10:48 PM


Posted by sylvanio January 28, 11 10:53 PM

I was very saddened by this "accident" which should never have happened.

All seven astronuts were heros, including Christa, however, shame on the editor for almost ignoring six and making this almost a memorial to only one.

Posted by Preston Scott January 28, 11 11:37 PM

Thank you for posting this special remembrance.

This was such a stunning, shocking day. I was in 9th grade and remember our principal coming over the loud speaker to tell the school about the tragedy when I was in algebra class. We students were stunned, but I remember teachers who were nearly inconsolable. I agree with 72 and 73 - it would have been appropriate to share some more about the other six astronauts.

They are all heroes.

Posted by ajr1021 January 28, 11 11:38 PM

Listening to NPR this morning I actually learned a bit about Ron McNair. His story is quite interesting as well. Naturally NASA would have more media ops with a novice astronaut teacher, but surely they weren't COMPLETELY lacking in photos of the others? It is sad that any of them died, but how about a little face time with the other victims of this horrible accident?

Posted by Adrienne January 29, 11 12:49 AM

Wow. that's the year I graduated from high school. I can't believe that was 25 years ago.
I still remember rushing home from school to watch the coverage on TV and couldn't believe what I saw. I remember my heart racing and tried calling everyone I knew to see if they saw what I saw.
That was a tragedy!
I admire astronauts and anyone else who are wiling to ride a highly explosive bullet. They are riding a bomb and it makes me wonder how they don't think about that. But that was indeed something I will never forget.
Why aren't there more picture of the other crew members. They deserve some remembrance too!

Posted by Joshua January 29, 11 12:52 AM

Interesting pictures as usual from you but why the emphasis on Christa McAuliffe? Six other braves souls died on that tragic day, surely they deserve equal recognition?

Posted by Howard Banham January 29, 11 03:34 AM


Posted by Sergiu January 29, 11 06:11 AM

Unfortunately memorable disater....

they all are were legends

Posted by Pratap January 29, 11 06:59 AM

Still impressive photos ... and I still remember the day, when I came home in the evening (European time) and saw it in the news ...

Posted by Jogi R. January 29, 11 07:20 AM

@ JM, post 61

An accident is an accident and, unfortunately, things like this prompt protective measures to insure future accidents are avoided. That's why plane crashes are so rare today. For you to proclaim that Reagan was watching and "[waiting] for it to explode" is just plain stupid.

Posted by Adam January 29, 11 08:12 AM

One cannot but think of how this tragedy changed history, not only for the families involved, but for Science and Technology. 25 years later and still a lump in my throat.

Posted by Lyn Temlett January 29, 11 08:15 AM

My prayers, to family and friends.

Posted by kn January 29, 11 09:20 AM

More martyrs on the altar of progress ... while the gods do not change, nothing will have changed

Posted by Rafael January 29, 11 10:21 AM

RR's speech still gives me goosebumps.

We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and

"slipped the surly bonds of earth" to
"touch the face of God."

Posted by William January 29, 11 12:21 PM

The end is in the beginning. Nevertheless, we go on.

Posted by Janice in GA January 29, 11 12:37 PM

The presidents face in 24 speaks volumes.

Posted by Andrew F January 29, 11 01:27 PM

The tragedy is not that it happened.

The tragedy is that it was so easily preventable.

Posted by Anonymous January 29, 11 02:46 PM

An amazingly heartbreaking piece of storytelling. I remember this so vividly. Thank you for commemorating it in such a respectful way.

Posted by Daneeta Loretta Jackson January 29, 11 02:47 PM

Why do all the real heroes have be dead heroes?

Posted by Peter S [Holland] January 29, 11 02:52 PM

Hey, I am checking this blog using the phone and this appears to be kind of odd. Thought you'd wish to know. This is a great write-up nevertheless, did not mess that up.

- David

Posted by Car Hire Alicante Airport January 29, 11 03:30 PM

es curioso, había olvidado que ese día vi por TV el terrible accidente, no tenía ni diez años; fue impactante!!!

Posted by sofía January 29, 11 04:53 PM

Oh, just heartbreaking. I remember watching the launch on television as a kid. I would have liked a few more pictures of the other astronauts. I bet they had families, too.

Posted by Anonymous January 29, 11 05:42 PM

rest in peace

Posted by zala January 29, 11 05:42 PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I watched it live from my elementary school in Titusville, and my cousin had come down from NH to watch his teacher go into space. What a tragic day. Seeing all these photos I’ve never seen before was amazing. Thanks, Big Pic--a nice tribute to some true heroes.

Posted by LauraWils January 29, 11 09:58 PM

this kinda made me cry...Rest in peace you brave humans

Posted by snickerdoodle January 30, 11 04:08 AM

Thanks BigPicture!
I came to know more about history and the heros we lost!
RIP Challenger and team!

Posted by NEAL January 30, 11 05:55 AM

I spent my freshman year at Carnegie Mellon in Resnik Hall - an upper-classmen dormroom. There used to be a portrait of her in the cafe downstairs - I think they since removed it. I hope not.

Posted by Emilioo January 30, 11 09:55 AM

زنان و مردان بزرگ همیشه زنده هستند کسانی که برای پیشرفت بشر از جان خود گذشتند . بااحترام فراوان برای تمامی زنان ومردان زمینو یادشان همیشه جاوید .

Posted by amir January 30, 11 01:31 PM

Hard to believe it's been 25 years. I had just returned to work from maternity leave that week. When a co-worker told us the shuttle had exploded, we responded with disbelief, something no one thought possible.

I am from Judy Resnick's hometown and was able to witness the flyover at her memorial service - very moving and something I'll never forget.

Posted by Rebecca January 30, 11 03:40 PM

Is the date in #26 accurate ? That piece washed onto shore almost 10 years later ? I know not impossible but not sure because of the B&W photo, I thought it would be in color by 1996

Posted by Cory January 30, 11 03:40 PM

Thanks BigPicture!
It was big tragedy...


Posted by Nick January 30, 11 04:53 PM

The most defining moment of my childhood. At 12 I saw my dream future die in front of me. It stuck me with a chilling clarity. Born in 1974 It still amazes me that no one has been to the moon during my entire life.

Posted by Gustav Magnarsson January 30, 11 06:15 PM

It is funny how everyone (including me) remembers 7 souls that left the world so publicly yet we don't even know how many died in Iraq or Afghanistan last month (never the less their names).

Posted by John January 30, 11 09:31 PM


Posted by widebridge January 30, 11 09:57 PM

Now 41 I can remember it well.
Remembering Christa by name , she was already famous before she chased her dream.
Even here in the Netherlands.
Still can't believe it when I'm watching all of this , not even after 25 years.

May they rest in peace ....... dreamchasers

Posted by Marco January 31, 11 01:01 AM

" final frontier" El espacio fontera final ( Strar Trek )
In spanish: espero que el ser humano pueda como se dice en Star Trek explorar la frontera final. En el camino ha habido heroes como los estos. Esperemos que no haya mas muertes y que se aprnda de esta tragedia.

Posted by Carlos January 31, 11 03:30 AM

I've read that the crew were still alive for some seconds after the explosion - you can see the cockpit still intact in some of the images too. must have been a horrible way to go

Posted by mallix January 31, 11 04:27 AM

There are billions ways to die and obviously everyone of us got one.
I'd rather explode in the sky and even young! Instead of getting hit by a stupid car or sweep over an ice plate or loose my mind in a sad retreat house... If it takes some disaster to reach the stars I'll would have take that risk.

Posted by Juan Trip January 31, 11 06:27 AM

This is not "Challenger disaster: remembered", this is "Christa McAuliffe: remembered". Not to undermine remembering Christa, but there were 6 more people on board. They should ALL be remembered. ALL.

Posted by Martin Toro January 31, 11 08:11 AM

Similar to those above, if possible I would like to see more pictures of the other astronauts and some info on them. Thanks for these ones, they are nice.

Posted by Smark January 31, 11 10:54 AM

Going to have to agree with comment No. 30.

Posted by Anonymous January 31, 11 11:09 AM

My thoughts with all families.

More than half the pictures on one person. Sorry but this is poor editing.
A lot of repeats (2, 6, 9 , 13, 14) with no added value in terms of the quality of the pictures (and yes we have understood by then that there was a teacher on board who trained etc and could smile at the camera).
Pictures 5 & 15 look great and convey the message that she was well loved within her community.
Some of the selection looks like a facebook album where somebody shows their holiday snaps or a tribute to one person with all pictures available.
For example, choose 21 or 22 not both (ditto 8 & 9).

Posted by Ghislaine Mougin January 31, 11 11:12 AM

NASA was negligent. They also were negligent on Columbia's crash. That's what happen when you start accepting small issues and taking risks that do not end up badly. These small issues become the new standards and then a very predictable accident happens.

Posted by etienne January 31, 11 12:09 PM

Isn't the kid with glasses in the center of 18 the kid who played Ralphie on "A Christmas Story".

Posted by nitrob January 31, 11 12:25 PM

Unfortunately, I have to concur with the other comments regarding the "unfair" representation of the various astronauts (that's also being a big fan of Jean Michel Jarre, who dedicated his "Last Rendez Vous" piece to Ron McNair, who was supposed to play it on the saxophone for the first time while in orbit).

On a broader note, I am also under the impression that Alan's captions where more factual while the current ones are more "emotional". I'm not saying it's a bad thing but it's definitely a big change from Alan's time, which may deter some readers, especially as more and more Big Picture knock-offs are appearing ( for example).

Posted by Tom January 31, 11 12:58 PM

On the day of the Challenger disaster, I was teaching Computer Science at the University of Pittsburgh. My department chairperson had been involved in the early days of the space program and knew many astronauts. It was a sad day for all Americans and especially for teachers and those interested in the space program. All astronauts are heroes, but the Challenger astronauts are among the best and the bravest. May they rest in peace.

Posted by Jim January 31, 11 01:06 PM

Great pictures. Sad though.
And for all those who say we shouldn't dwell only on Christa maybe you should read the intro text "Sharon Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire social studies teacher, was NASA's choice for the first teacher in space. Because McAuliffe was our local astronaut, she is featured heavily in this post, but we honor all seven on the anniversary of a nation's great loss."
It clearly explains why the article is focused on one individual.
I think it's great.

Posted by Stephen January 31, 11 03:10 PM

Get over yourselves, people. McAuliffe was a local. The Charlotte Observer ran a piece on Ron McNair this week and never mentioned McAuliffe. It's not a contest. It's, she lived 45 minutes from Boston.

Posted by DMDSG January 31, 11 05:56 PM

My elder daughter was born in 1988, and we named her Christa (meaning, blessed one). The first consideration we gave to choose her name was after our Lord Jesus "CHRIST", and the other was the inspiration from Christa McAuliffe. We hope and pray that our children grow to be beautiful human beings, cheerful, energetic and positive, as was Christa McAuliffe.

Posted by Abraham January 31, 11 07:22 PM

The reason McAuliffe gets the attention is because she was a schoolteacher rather than an astronaut. We, and astronauts, accept that astronauts could die being astronauts, so it’s less tragic when they do. The schoolteacher wasn’t supposed to die — it wasn’t part of the agreement — and so it was shocking when she did.

Posted by Mark Alan Thomas February 1, 11 01:51 AM

Was there anyone besides McAuliffe on the shuttle? I'm disappointed to see only maybe one blurry group shot with some of the astronauts.

Posted by Anon February 1, 11 02:10 AM

For those that are critical of this post dwelling on Christa McAuliffe, not only does the intro go part of the way to explaining why but by 1986 the Shuttle program had become relatively routine, it was the inclusion of a teacher, indeed the whole "teacher in space" concept that had brought the program back into the news. Much of the coverage of that launch centered on Ms McAuliffe so it stands to reason that much of the material available for this piece is similarly focused.
It was my birthday here in Sydney when my clock/radio alarm went off in the morning and the first words I hear are the announcer saying "an explosion aboard the Space shuttle Challenger is believed......."
I changed the settings after that so the alarm never went off at news time, not wanting to be woken by such things again. Didn't really work, was woken by a call from my sister some 17 years later to tell me about the fate of Columbia and her crew!

Posted by Chris Griffiths February 1, 11 07:03 AM

No one old enough to remember that tragic day will ever forget. I was 11 years old and in the 6th grade.
I had just come in from lunch and onto my 6th period science class when us kids got the news from our teachers. One teacher was crying in the hallway, the rest of the day was spent watching the news and replays of the doomed flight. The mind can never forget horror at such a magnatude at such a young age as my generation was in 1986.

Posted by BOZ February 1, 11 02:37 PM

RIP. I remember that day well. All of us in the UK felt the loss.

Posted by Matt UK February 1, 11 07:54 PM

Well put together. After 25 years and it still brings tears to my eyes.

Posted by Jamie Teo, Singapore February 1, 11 08:26 PM

this blog is international so representing only your "local astronaut" may not be a so good idea... The pictures are very impressive nevertheless, good job as usual! RIP for all of them and thoughts to the people of Vietnam as well.

Posted by Amine Boubguel February 1, 11 09:15 PM

Felt sory for all of them who perished.....

Posted by WAQAR MAJEED-Karachi, Pakistan. February 1, 11 11:14 PM


Posted by AGUSTIN caniupan February 2, 11 04:53 AM

Pic 5 is by far the bessst!!! Wish it was a movie clip

Posted by stanger80 February 2, 11 06:37 PM

For people who lives to fly, the dream of flight is very sublime. A teacher, who chosen to fly to space, represents all children who had a dream to fly. The pics, with Christa always smilin', are beautiful. Anyone likes to see anybody smilin....

So, the topic is for Christa (explained on begining), but remebering the crew also. All ARE very important, and SHOULD be remembered forever.

Great pics. I loved'em.

Posted by Thiago Sabino - Brazil February 3, 11 09:20 AM

There was no "explosion" of the Shuttle.

The rocket plume that vented through the field joint in the right-hand SRB structurally weakened the external structure of the External Tank, which failed at the lower bipod attachment. The SRB then pivoted around the upper bipod and the resulting lateral load caused the tank structure to fail.

The sudden loss of containment of the LOX and LH2 created the white vapor cloud and the resulting pressure wave flipped the Shuttle Orbiter, traveling at Mach 24, from a nose-up to belly-up attitude in a fraction of a second. The vehicle momentarily experienced 400% its design-limit g-load and immediately broke apart, at an altitude of approximately 48,000 feet AGL. The crew compartment remained mostly intact, following a ballistic trajectory to an altitude of of between 60,000 and 80,000 feet, before falling back to the ocean surface, where it impacted at roughly 207mph with an impact force of 200 g.

NASA has reluctantly admitted that the crew remained alive, though likely unconscious, during the 2 minutes and 45 seconds that that the compartment remained airborne, following the destruction of the orbiter. There is some evidence that at least three members of the crew were conscious during the majority of the ballistic ascent and free-fall, notably the use of emergency oxygen supplies and changes to the position of certain control switches that indicated a concerted effort to restore electrical power post-break-up.

NASA engineer Randy Avera's otherwise-sub-par personal history of the Challenger investigation provides some gruesome details about the discovery of human remains embedded in portions of the Orbiter's avionics bay, but NASA even 25 years later, still refuses to discuss the condition of the physical remains of the crew or vehicle -- Challenger, unlike Columbia, was unceremoniously dumped into an abandoned ICBM silo, which was then sealed with concrete; her older sister remains in open storage in an upper level of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Posted by DVSmith February 3, 11 01:15 PM

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Posted by rachat de credit surendettement February 3, 11 11:30 PM

sacrifice never ends until mankind sustains...............

Posted by manukondawilliamcare February 4, 11 06:13 AM

I was watching the event live and remember everybody in the room remarking that the people on television weren't even aware yet that there was something deathly wrong! It took more that 4 minutes until it hit home and then the replays started! That really took a chunk out of our feelings as a Nation when the team that everybody had been rooting for all of a sudden were gone like that? OUCH! The second disaster seemed to produce a lot more anger than the first? What ever the final opinion,it seems to have set us back a bit? Tragedy.

Posted by raymond clifford February 4, 11 08:52 PM

I would have liked to see photo of Nobel laureate Richard Feynman, member of the investigating Presidential Commission, showing how an O-ring becomes fragile at low temperatures by submerging one in a cup of water with ice.

Posted by GErman February 5, 11 04:55 AM

It is very sad to remember the tragic accident. However, we have to remind why the accident happened. It was a combination of a political push by the Reagan goverment and an immorality of engineering. We should remember that.

Posted by Dong-Hyeok Kim February 5, 11 11:40 PM

Why didn't listened to Roger Boisjoly (former Thiokol Engineer), warnings to lauch in cold temperatures?
He knows well SRB O-Rings sealing limits.
Bad story, tarrible to knows that something terrible was happening and being ignored.

May THEY rest in Peace.

Posted by Gabriel February 6, 11 01:24 PM


Posted by marcelo February 8, 11 02:35 PM

Verdadeiros Herois que contribuiram para a Grandeza e Nobreza do País maravilhoso chamado USA.

Posted by roger February 9, 11 08:31 AM

Very disappointed about the other astronauts being ignored side-notes in this retrospective. Too often is Challenger shamefully minimized to the "Teacher Astronaut" trope.

Posted by J. Wray February 9, 11 11:20 PM

GOD BLESS THEM..................................................

Posted by vijay February 10, 11 01:53 AM

Greg Jarvis grew up in Mohawk, NY, which is located in the Mohawk Valley in the center of the state. I grew up in the town next to it, Ilion, and vividly remember attending the ceremony in which they renamed the high school in Mohawk. It was a bright, warm, sunny day.

I was in 4th grade when the Challenger went down, and watched it live while drinking ginger ale on my grandmothers couch. I was sick that day. She found out from me when I screamed and ran to find her.

These images of the crew and orbiter still give me chills and make me teary eyed. Thank you for sharing some of Christa's images, as I'd not seen them before. I agree with the others, however, that images of the other 6 should have been shared.

Posted by skb February 16, 11 04:33 PM

No disrespect to the dead, but calm down on the "hero" talk. This contemporary tendency to brand everyone a hero is disrespectful. Not every dead soldier/astronaut/etc is a hero, and conversely, not every hero dies. Slapping a "hero" label so liberally disrespects these people because it sounds like overcompensation because they aren't special enough. And it also disrespects others who have done genuinely heroic things. We can show respect for these people without this kind of silly exaggeration.

Posted by Steve February 18, 11 09:51 AM

hi, good site very much appreciatted

Posted by Vaskamowala February 22, 11 12:26 PM

I had no idea that was only one astronaut on that mission. She was a teacher right?

Posted by Eight H. Gorilla February 27, 11 10:37 PM

very sad ending

Posted by gautham r krishna March 5, 11 02:18 AM

Good pics, but please correct the captions which are wrong. How many times do they incorrectly use the word "explosion." Aerodynamic forces broke up the orbiter after SRB O-ring failed and the SRB disconnected. STOP using explosion... its the most incorrect thing about reports of this incident.

Posted by F. Thompson April 13, 11 07:45 PM

Christa McAliffe was a very inspiring person. I'm doing a report on someone who has inspired me and I choose her because of her bravery and everything thing she did in her life as a person. She is history.

Posted by Katelyne May 6, 11 01:00 AM
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