Challenger Disaster - Preface

Challenger Disaster (Illustration) Geography Tragedies and Triumphs American History Famous Historical Events Social Studies STEM Famous People Aviation & Space Exploration Disasters

Space Shuttle landing.  Online courtesy NASA


They slipped the surly bonds of earth
To touch the face of God.

President Reagan January 28, 1986


It was the 25th time a U.S. Space Transportation System would take off from Cape Canaveral. This was no ordinary flight, however. Christa McAuliffe was America’s first teacher to fly in space.

With her training complete, and school children anticipating her trip, there was a sense of excitement throughout the country on the evening of January 27, 1986.

People were so used to the flights, most folks no longer watched shuttle liftoffs. This flight was different, though. Everyone - including school children - would be watching because Christa McAuliffe was going into space.

But the shuttle’s launch mechanism had a fatal design flaw. As a result, Challenger and her seven-member crew - including America’s first teacher in space - were blown out of the sky seventy-three seconds after launch on January 28, 1986.  

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 1999

Updated Last Revision: Jan 24, 2017

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