For people of a certain age, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster is one of those events where one remembers where they were and what they were doing, not unlike JFK’s assassination or the morning of September 11, 2001.
It was the worst space program disaster since Apollo 1, resulting in the deaths of all astronauts aboard the Challenger. Or so we have been led to believe.
The official details of the disaster are fairly straight forward, as the Wikipedia entry attests:
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The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when the NASA Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger (OV-099) (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members, which included five NASA astronauts and two payload specialists. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida at 11:38 EST (16:38 UTC).