Challenger Disaster - THE UNTHINKABLE

After Challenger exploded, investigators found the shuttle's main engines in the Atlantic Ocean. This image depicts those engines, after they were recovered. Image online via NASA; public domain. Click on the image for a full-page view.


At least four of the astronauts used the emergency breathing devices they each carried in their attaché cases. Two of those devices had been completely "breathed down." 

Did some, or all, of the crew survive the explosion? The official medical report, prepared by Dr. Kerwin and submitted to Rear Admiral Truly tends to support the proposition that the crew cabin did NOT break apart during the explosion.

Dr. Kerwin's report also seems to imply that some of the crewmembers lived until their section of the orbiter, with them in it, hit the ocean at approximately 200 miles per hour. It took between 2½ and 3 minutes for the cabin to fall into the sea. (This link takes you to the official NASA press release regarding the fate of the crew.)

President Reagan, scheduled to give the State of the Union Address the night of the shuttle launch, met with grief-stricken family members and NASA employees. In an oft-quoted speech, the President himself used a famous quote as he tried to comfort the bewildered:

They slipped the surly bonds of earth
to Touch the face of God.

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

Original Release: Oct 01, 1999

Updated Last Revision: Jul 04, 2018

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"THE UNTHINKABLE" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 1999. Nov 21, 2019.
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