Space Shuttle landing. Online courtesy NASA
They slipped the surly bonds of earth
To touch the face of God.
President Reagan January 28, 1986
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.