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Challenger Exploded 27 Years Ago Today

NASA/Getty Images

What were you doing 27 years ago today? Most likely you were watching the liftoff of the Space Shuttle Challenger blast off from the Kennedy Space Center. Millions were watching along the “space coast” of Florida on an absolutely beautiful morning. Millions more were watching on TV as well.

What made it special was the crew included for the first time ever a school teacher named Christa McAuliff. As a result, there were millions of students who were also tuned in for the launch. At 11:36am the Challenger blasted off into a brilliant blue sky. What took place 73 seconds later will forever be etched into the minds of all who watched.

The spacecraft suffered an O-ring failure which allowed gas to leak and it resulted in a devastating explosion killing all seven crew members including McAuliff. It was one of those “do you remember where you were when” moments. I had just gotten off the air and was watching the launch on TV with other co-workers.  I remember uttering the words “Oh my God” when I saw it. It was such a sad day and one I will always remember.

Having been to the launch site for the final Space Shuttle launch a year and a half ago, I had a very uneasy but thrilling feeling watching the lift off and flight. It’s too bad no more shuttles are scheduled in the future.

Growing up watching the Apollo fights as a kid, I always wanted to be the first broadcaster on the moon.  I have always had an interest in the space program and I probably always will.

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