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January 28th marks 31st anniversary of Challenger disaster, crew remembered

NATIONAL - Today marks a somber day in American history.

On January 28, 1986 the space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing it's seven member crew and sending debris across the bright sky.

"Obviously a major malfunction," Stephen Nesbitt at mission control said according to transcripts of the Challenger disaster, a sound bite that has forever been etched in time by the disaster.

The accident happened 73 seconds after liftoff, erupting in a fireball that was also seen on live TV. The accident is said to have changed the space agency forever. NASA later said the accident was caused by a seal failure on a rocket booster, which allowed hot gas to ignite a fuel tank.

All members were killed instantly, including New Hampshire educator Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who had been selected to fly by NASA's "Teacher in Space" Program. McAuliffe had beat out 11,000 other applicants for the chance to go into space.

Last year during NASA's 'Day of Remembrance' for the 30th anniversary Steve McAuliffe, Christa's widower, told the Associated Press  that the disaster still feels fresh.

"For us, Challenger will always be an event that occurred just recently. Our thoughts and memories of Christa will always be fresh and comforting," he said. "We are happy to know that Christa's goals have been largely accomplished in that she has inspired generations of classroom teachers and students, and has focused public attention on the critical importance of teachers to our nation's well-being."

 

 

 


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