This Day in History: The Challenger Space Shuttle Explosion


January 28 marks 35 years since the Challenger space shuttle exploded.

The explosion killed seven astronauts, including school teacher Christa McAuliffe, who was chosen to be the very first teacher in space. McAuliffe had joined Gregory Jarvis, Judith A. Resnik, Francis R. Scobee, Ronald E. McNair, Mike J. Smith, and Ellison S. Onizuka for the mission.

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Photo: Getty Images

The space shuttle exploded midair and broke apart 73 seconds into the launch.

NASA observes January 28 as a day of remembrance, honoring this mission, as well as the Apollo 1 and Columbia accidents.

"We have been able to communicate and translate that experience [of Challenger] to our partners, and the importance that we learn from attention to detail, and staying 'hungry' — meaning, always looking at the hardware and what it's trying to tell us," Phil McAlister, NASA's director of commercial spaceflight development said.

Read more on SPACE.com.


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