Friends, wrap your head with duct tape (to prevent it from exploding). It’s Down-the-Rabbit-Hole time!
If you’re age 40 years or older, you’d probably remember January 28, 1986.
That was day of the Challenger disaster, when the NASA Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida at 11:38 EST. All seven crew members were killed, including five NASA astronauts and two payload specialists.
Millions of Americans (17% of the total population) watched the launch live on TV because of Payload Specialist Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space. Media coverage of the explosion was extensive: one study reported that 85% of Americans surveyed had heard the news within an hour of the accident.
We were told that Challenger disintegrated because of a malfunctioning O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster. The O-ring failure caused a breach in the SRB joint it sealed, allowing pressurized burning gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent SRB aft field joint attachment hardware and external fuel tank, leading to the structural failure of the external tank. Aerodynamic forces broke up the orbiter.
The crew compartment and many other vehicle fragments were eventually recovered from the ocean floor after a lengthy search and recovery operation. The exact timing of the death of the crew is unknown; several crew members are known to have survived the initial breakup of the spacecraft. But the shuttle had no escape system, and the impact of the crew compartment with the ocean surface was too violent to be survivable.
The disaster resulted in a 32-month hiatus in NASA’s shuttle program and the formation of the Rogers Commission, a special commission appointed by then President Ronald Reagan to investigate the accident. The commission found NASA’s organizational culture and decision-making processes had been key contributing factors to the accident.
These are the names of Challenger’s 7 crew members:
- Francis Richard Scobee, Commander
- Michael J. Smith, Pilot
- Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist
- Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist
- Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist
- Gregory Jarvis, Payload Specialist
- Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist
What if someone were to tell you that most, if not all, of Challenger’s 7 crew members are still alive and thriving in their new professions, contrary to what we’ve been told?