Challenger Disaster

On January 28, 1986, seven astronauts were killed when the Challenger space shuttle exploded off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, just 73 seconds into the flight.

Millions of Americans watched the event live as the crew included Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from New Hampshire who was selected by NASA to join in the mission.

Takeoff was delayed two hours the day of launch, and 6 days prior (originally set for Jan. 22) for technical and weather related issues. The cause of the disaster was determined to be a failure of the rocket booster’s O-rings which turned brittle in cold weather.