Saturday, January 28, 2012

Learn Our History Today: January 28th

January 28th, 1986 was a tragic day in our nation’s history.  Many of us were watching live TV to see the launch of the space shuttle Challenger.  The Challenger was carrying Christa McAuliffe, a 37-year old social studies teacher who won a competition that let her join in the seven-member crew.  After six days of scrubbed launches due to weather and technical problems, the Challenger finally launched at 11:38a.m. at Cape Canaveral.  Just seventy-three seconds after liftoff, the shuttle exploded, killing all on board while hundreds of families and friends on the ground—and millions watching on TV—witnessed the tragedy unfold before their eyes.

President Reagan responded by assembling an all-star commission to determine what went wrong and to avert future disasters.  Headed by former secretary of state, William Rogers, and served by astronaut Neil Armstrong and test pilot Chuck Yeager, the team determined that the explosion was caused by a failed O-ring seal.  For two years, the shuttle program was halted.  And, in February, 2003, disaster struck again when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentry into the atmosphere, killing all aboard.

Do  you remember where you were when the Challenger exploded?  Were you watching it on TV?  Were you at Cape Canaveral?  Share your stories with us.  We read them.  And, please talk to your kids and grandkids about this sad day in our nation’s history.

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