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On This Day… The Shuttle That Exploded!

Written by: George Chittenden : 30 Jun 2019

It was on this day, 28th January, back in 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger exploded on live television. The explosion occurred seventy-three seconds after lift-off and was the result of rapid deceleration and not combustion of fuel. A warning was ignored that certain equipment on the ship was vulnerable at certain temperatures.

Challenger was one of NASA's greatest achievements and was the second shuttle to reach space. It successfully completed nine missions, before becoming NASA's darkest tragedy. Seven astronauts were killed including a teacher from New Hampshire, Christa MacAuliffe, who was onboard as part of a new Teacher in Space project.

Sadly, many schools set up televisions for children to watch due to the involvement of a teacher in the shuttle. The tragic incident resulted in the grounding of the Space Shuttle fleet for nearly three years whilst improvements were made to safety measures, the rocket booster design, and the policy on management decision-making for future launches.

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