Challenger Disaster - THE LAST WORDS

THE LAST WORDS (Illustration) American History Famous Historical Events Aviation & Space Exploration STEM Disasters

In this NASA photo we see Flight Directors Jay Greene (in the foreground) and Lee Briscoe in the aftermath of the explosion. Their faces reflect the emotions they are feeling when they realize the mission, and the Challenger's crew, are lost.


Months later, NASA released a transcript of the last words recorded by Challenger's crew. At 73 seconds (T+1.13) into the mission, someone (most likely the pilot, Mike Smith) said:


 Those were the last recorded words before all communication with the shuttle was lost. It was breaking apart and encountered multiple system failures almost simultaneously. (Scroll down on this link to view the data. Look, especially, at events beginning at 72.204 seconds.)

At first, people on the ground who saw parachutes believed the crew had ejected. But unlike the comparatively primitive Mercury space capsules 25 years before, there was no escape method for the shuttle's crew. The parachutes were intended to safely carry the solid rocket boosters to an ocean landing (so they could be reused during future flights).

Disengaged, the parachutes were flying on their own, with nothing attached.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 1999

Updated Last Revision: Jan 24, 2017

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"THE LAST WORDS" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 1999. Nov 19, 2019.
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