hirty years ago this week, America witnessed a tragedy: the explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger in the blue skies over Florida. The doomed shuttle touched us like we have never been touched before because along with the tragic loss of astronauts, a teacher was on board. What follows is the Miami Herald’s initial coverage of the unfolding events, a news story and then a personal account of an education reporter who witnessed the explosion from Cape Canaveral. What are your memories?
The space shuttle Challenger exploded 72 seconds after a spectacular launch Tuesday morning, disintegrating 10 miles off the Florida coast and killing a crew of seven, including Christa McAuliffe, America’s first teacher in space.
Christa McAuliffe Miami Herald FileAP
Hours after the worst space disaster in history, NASA scientists hadn’t the slightest idea what had caused the first fatal in-air accident in 56 U.S. manned missions.
Early speculation, based on fuzzy television pictures, centered on the shuttle’s giant external fuel tank, loaded with 526,000 gallons of highly explosive liquid hydrogen and oxygen.
But NASA, normally a fountain of information, stopped talking late Tuesday, denying requests for interviews with space experts and astronauts.