(Challenger Explosion) On This Day – January 28th

Michael Thomas, Editor

On this day, January the 28th, in the year of 1986, the space shuttle Challenger, the first  spacecraft used on a mission with a common civilian on board, exploded, leading to the deaths of  all passengers aboard.

Ever since President Ronald Reagen announced the news of a teacher being the first civilian to go into space, anticipation for the launch was high among the American and world public.

Originally scheduled for Jan. 23rd, technical difficulties and weather complications delayed the flight until the 28th.

With the aforementioned anticipation, school children across America watched the event in school due to the teachers, Ms. McAuliffe, involvement.

On launch day, not even a minute into the launch, the shuttle exploded, leading to the deaths of all seven members of the shuttle.

Official reports attribute the malfunction to the effects of freezing weather had on the shuttles o-rings, which is used to prevent fuel from escaping wherever it may be, causing their quality to deteriorate to the point that they did.

It is thought that the explosion isn’t what killed the crew, as it exploded the fuel tanks, not the capsule they were in. Most likely, they lost consciousness from a lack of oxygen or died when the capsule crashed (NASA) (NASA) (History).

The Challenger tragedy brought forth more regulation for space flight, but didn’t prevent a future disaster.

To see a video of the Challenger disaster, see the “CNN” YouTube video entitled “1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion: CNN’s Live Broadcast”.

To read more daily facts and tidbits and about tragedies and disasters, see the Barron Perspectives “On this Day Archives” webpage and articles such as “(France Leaves Russia) On This Day – December 14th” and “(John Lennon Dies) On This Day – December 8th”.