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Remembering Challenger – Jan 28, 1986

January 28, 2011

It’s one of those moments seared into memory like the Kennedy Assassination and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. A blink in history so intense it will never be forgotten. Twenty-five years ago I was sitting in my cubicle in Raleigh, NC.  I was early in my engineering career and life was good. I never missed a launch if I didn’t have to and that morning was no exception. Space flight had become routine and there was very little live coverage that morning. I was listening to coverage on the radio. The last transmission was Commander Dick Scobee’s “Roger, go at throttle up.” At 11:38 a.m., EST, Challenger disintegrated over the Atlantic.

NASA Images

That evening, President Ronald Reagan addressed a country in mourning. He was scheduled to give his State of the Union address, but on the heels of this crisis, pushed it into the next week. He closed his speech that night with portions of the poem “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.:

“We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.”

So today we remember the crew of Space Shuttle Challenger.

Commander – Francis “Dick” Scobee

Pilot – Michael J. Smith

Mission Specialist – Ellison Onizuka

Mission Specialist – Judith Resnik

Mission Specialist – Ronald McNair

Payload Specialist – Gregory Jarvis

Payload Specialist – Sharon Christa McAuliffe



“The Shuttle is to space flight what Lindbergh was to commercial aviation.”
~Arthur C. Clarke

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3 Comments
  1. January 28, 2011 7:14 am

    I’ve written about the NASA expert Wernher von Braun, the man who sold the moon, at
    http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/wernher-von-braun/

  2. January 28, 2011 7:46 am

    I remember exactly where I was also. You’re right, it’s one of those moments are are burned into the collective American memory.

    A touching and fitting post, Mickey.

  3. January 29, 2011 6:12 am

    you mad my eyes wet , people who did this evil act and destroyed so many precious lives were only some of weak points of this world ,they are just puppets in some really strong and organized hands ,who want to turn the face of world in their favor ,

    i wish there is group of good humans must be exist in the world like evil ones ,who can keep the unity such strong way and made effective efforts towards the peaceful world .

    god bless

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