Monday, January 28, 2019

We Remember the Challenger Seven

by: 1st Lt. Rommel Anacan

Thirty-three years ago today (28 January, 1986) we lost the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-51L), when the orbiter exploded 73 seconds into the mission. It was determined that record cold temperatures damaged the rubber O-ring seals on the solid rocket boosters, reducing their ability to effectively seal the gap between the booster segments. This allowed superheated flare from the boosters to escape through the gaps, compromising the structural integrity of the external tank, causing a breakup of the vehicle in flight.

The Crew of Challenger STS 51-L
Interest in STS-51was high around the nation because it was to have the first teacher-in-space. Christa McAuliffe, of New Hampshire, was selected among over 100 semi-finalists (from 11,000 original applicants) to fly on board Challenger. The plan was for her to teach several lessons while Challenger was in orbit, which would have been broadcast live to millions of schoolchildren.

The crew of STS-51L was:
  • Commander: Lt. Col. Francis "Dick" Scobee, USAF
  • Pilot: Cmdr. Michael Smith, USN
  • Mission Specialist: Lt. Col. Ellison Onizuka, USAF
  • Mission Specialist: Judith Resnik
  • Mission Specialist: Ronald McNair
  • Payload Specialist: Gregory Jarvis
  • Payload Specialist: S. Christa McAuliffe
The legacy of the Challenger's crew lives on today...

"In the aftermath of the Challenger accident, the families of the Challenger crew come together, firmly committed to the belief that they must carry on the spirit of their loved ones. They envision a place where children, teachers and citizens can touch the future: manipulate equipment, conduct experiments, solve problems, and work together, immersing themselves in space-like surroundings. Their goal is to spark youth interest and joy in science and engineering, believing that spark can change lives. With their collective efforts, they create Challenger Center for Space Science Education. "