Facts about the Challenger Disaster

A look back at the Challenger shuttle disaster

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster is remembered each January.

The shuttle launched on January 28th, 1986, from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It exploded 73 seconds into flight.

The explosion killed seven crew members: Commander Francis R. Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Greg Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe were mission specialists. McAuliffe would have been the first teacher in space.

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The explosion was caused by a faulty seal on the rocket booster, which ignited the fuel tank, a government-appointed commission found during their investigation. Unusually cold temperatures contributed to the issue with the O-ring seals.

NASA suspended space missions with astronauts for two years until a design overhaul of main shuttle components was completed.

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