Rare Amateur Video of Challenger Disaster Surfaces

The Challenger space shuttle a few moments after the rupture took place in the booster. Credit: NASA

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A rare home video that captured the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger Shuttle on Jan. 28, 1986, has been found. Bob Karman and his family were on a return trip from vacation to Disney World, and filmed the launch from the Orlando airport. This is thought to be only the second amateur video taken of the launch, back when home video cameras were just becoming popular.

Remembering Challenger

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.