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It was 38 years ago today, on January 28, 1985, that America and the world watched in horror on live television as the space shuttle Challenger blew up and killed all seven crew members. 73 seconds into the flight a joint in the right solid rocket booster ruptured, which allowed pressurized burning gas to escape, causing the booster to disintegrate. This tragic accident occurred because the O-ring seals did not stand up to the cold temperatures.
The seven members were; Captain Francis R. Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialist Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist Judith Resnik, Payload Specialist Gregory Jarvis, and Payload Specialist Christa McAuliffe. The names read out like an Honor Roll. Their mission was to study Halley’s Comet, as well as to deploy tracking and data relay satellites. Sadly, this was not to be. In the funeral service, President Ronald Reagan said, “Sometimes, when we reach for the stars, we fall short. But we must pick ourselves up again and press on despite the pain”. The Challenger disaster will forever live on in history, and the brave men and women who died will never be forgotten. But as President Reagan said, there will be others who will boldly go where no man has gone before. NASA has had its ups and downs, but as long as people dream, NASA will lead the way.