Remembering Challenger

by Nancy Atkinson on January 28, 2010

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The Challenger 51L Crew.  Credit: NASA

The Challenger 51L Crew. Credit: NASA

Mission Control: “Challenger, go at throttle up”

Commander Dick Scobee: “Roger go at throttle up”

Those were the last words heard from the Challenger shuttle crew on January 28, 1986. Then came an explosion, and the famous “Y” plume of smoke from the solid rocket boosters flying away aimlessly to nowhere.

Mission Control: “Flight Controllers looking carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction.”

Today we remember the Challenger crew, pictured above: (front row) Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair; (back row) Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik.

Looking for a way to remember the crew, or want more insight on the mission or accident? Read a UT article from Sept. 2008 of how Christa McAuliffe’s lost lesson plans have been given new life by a caring NASA engineer. Read a poem written by Stuart Atkinson about the Challenger accident. On Twitter, people are writing short remembrances of where they were when they heard the news. Below are more ways to remember the crew, and if you’d like, add a comment on your thoughts about the accident/or your recollections from that day.

Space correspondent Miles O’Brien writes in his True Slant blog about the Challenger disaster.

Jim Oberg wrote a great article a couple of years ago about the 7 Myths About the Challenger Shuttle Disaster.

The Federation of American Scientists has an extensive page on the 51 L mission with loads of links and info.

Arlington Cemetery has a page devoted to the Challenger Crew.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

ToSeek January 28, 2010 at 8:35 AM

“Go *at*” throttle-up”, actually:

http://history.nasa.gov/transcript.html

Nancy Atkinson January 28, 2010 at 10:01 AM

Thanks.

E320lifegr8rlimitsofcreated January 28, 2010 at 10:23 AM

Ironic… the work location where I was at the time I learned of the Challenger Shuttle Disaster is no longer operational.

tripleclean January 28, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Does anyone out here remember the “unofficial transcript” from the challenger distaster? When I first became aware of it 12 years ago I thought it to be fiction but after the columbia distaster and reading the after action report here on UT and watching the video recovered from the debrie I think it might be true…. any one want to comment??

magicboa January 28, 2010 at 5:49 PM

I worked at Motorola at the time, and was home that day with the flu. I was watching on CNN, and put a tape in the VCR to tape the launch. I was watching and taping it as it happened. I still have my original tape of the disaster. I have played it a few times since the accident. My tape is nearly six hours long, as I didn’t turn it off until CNN was covering other news. I turned it back on when President Reagan addressed the nation about the disaster. 24 years later, it is still indelibly etched into my memory.

leslord February 6, 2010 at 9:06 PM

I was in the 6th grade, and remember our teacher crying. She actually left, and we had a substitute. We didn’t know what had happened at first. The video was shown to us later. It is something I’ll never forget.

karebear1012 February 7, 2010 at 6:43 PM

This was the first major tragedy in my life, I was 19. I was working at a Sears store, and the Electronics department had all the TVs turned to the news, and they kept showing the explosion over and over again. It’s hard to watch even today without crying, and I hold my breath when I hear the call “Go at throttle up”.

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