Friday, January 28, 2011

25 Years Since Challenger

25 years ago today, the space shuttle Challenger exploded just 73 seconds after it was launched. All seven astronauts aboard were killed in the explosion.
Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair; (back row) Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik.
The investigation report (Rogers Commission) indicated that the explosion was due to leaks in the O ring seals of the solid rocket boosters following the launch that caused the external tank to explode and the disintegration of the shuttle over the Atlantic Ocean. The cold weather, and failure of NASA administrators to take into account the problems with the O rings led to the catastrophic loss of the shuttle and all those on board. The investigation led to a redesign of the solid rocket boosters and a change in launch protocols, but those were still insufficient to prevent the loss of the shuttle Columbia with all on board during reentry.

President Reagan's speech memorializing the lost Challenger astronauts:

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