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January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger the 25th space shuttle mission, was set to be launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at, 11:38am. Originally the launch was scheduled for January 22, at 3:43pm but had been set back several times due to bad weather. Hopes ran high the anticipation for the lift off was tremendous. This was to be one of the greatest missions ever. It would be a first for many things. The most publicized was that it would be the first time a schoolteacher was allowed to travel in space. The crew was picked and they were anxiously awaiting the countdown. On board the space shuttle
that fateful day was.. Crew of the Challenger
Michael J. Smith (Pilot)
Francis R. Scobee (Commander)
Judith A. Resnik (Mission Specialist
Ellison S. Onizuka (Mission Specialist 2)
Ronald E. McNair (Mission Specialist 3)
Gregory B. Jarvis (Payload Specialist 1)
Sharon Christa McAuliffe (Payload Specialist 2)
3,2,1..Lift off..The 10th flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger and the twenty-fifth space shuttle mission, the Challenger had been launched from Pad 39B at 11:38am EST. Hopes ran high as many were lined outside to watch the Challenger being launched, the lift-off was being watched live on television for those who couldn't make it to the Kennedy Space Center. As the Challenger climbed higher and higher something that wasn't expected occurred. Seventy-three seconds after lift-off the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, killing all 7 crewmembers. The United States was devastated. Many people thought this would be one of the greatest missions ever. So what really happened? Many factors contributed to the explosion of the space shuttle.
The temperature was 36°F at the launching site. After the Solid Rocket Boosters a.k.a. SRB was ignited a thundering noise was heard. Pictures and video showed black smoke coming from the bottom field joint of the right Solid Rocket Booster. That suggested that an O ring was being burned. At 58.8 seconds after lift-off a small flame could be seen on the SRB with enhanced film a few seconds later it could be seen without enhanced film. More time passed by the flame grew bigger and the SRB was beginning to rotate freely and in less than 2 seconds the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded.
The Challenger was at a height of 46,000 feet when it exploded. The whit vapor that had been seen by everyone who had saw the explosion was a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen. The last time the Challenger had contact with NASA was at 73.62 seconds after launch. The main cause of the explosion consisted of two things. First the cold weather. Secondly failure of the aft joint seal in the right SRB. It was a sad day for NASA and for all of America the day the Challenger exploded will remain in the hearts and minds of everyone who saw it forever.
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