The Challenger

I was in fourth grade in 1986. We took a field trip to a local diner-type place for lunch on January 27, 1986. As we walked down the street, one of my friends – Hi, Eric! — had his walkman on. He heard the news in his ears first. “The space shuttle exploded,” he said.

When we got to the restaurant, we watched the CNN feed on the TV inside the door to see that he was, indeed, right. The first space shuttle mission with a teacher on board didn’t make it to space.

The Challenger broke apart twenty years ago today.

MSNBC debunks seven myths about that day, including the “explosion” one, and one about when the astronauts died that’s tough to hear even twenty years later.

Update: Posted that too quickly. The Challenger launched on January 28th, which would make the anniversary tomorrow. The mistake is mine, not MSNBC’s. They make their own mistakes.


6 Responses to “The Challenger”

  1. FindlayBoy
    27. January 2006 at 09:27

    Actually, it was the 28th, not the 27th.

  2. Cousar
    27. January 2006 at 09:59

    Wasn’t it the 26th?

  3. Peter
    27. January 2006 at 10:50

    I remember being in the 2nd grade and watching it in the classroom. I also remember the Punky Brewster special that followed after. The Challenger explosion is kinda of like “where were you when JFK was shot” for our generation.

  4. Mark
    27. January 2006 at 11:19

    The 26th was a Sunday, the day the Bears won Super Bowl XX.

    Challenger happened on Tuesday. So, the 28th.

    (I was living in Florida at the time, so that’s one of those things that is branded into my memory.)

    (Also, with the MSNBC article, the caption on the picture at the top says “Jan. 28,1986.”)

  5. cousar
    28. January 2006 at 13:57

    Oop, sorry. I shoulda checked the calendar.

  6. Rob
    30. January 2006 at 00:02

    I was in college when the launch was going on. For some reason that school had set up the student lounge, with a HUGE screen that they were broadcasting the launch on. All of us being 17-19 at the time, we had been part of the first generation that saw the “walk on the moon” when we were little kids. Anything space related was still like candy to us. SO of course – a lot of us sat down from a busy ( and mostly drunken ) day at college, and watched the launch. A few moments after launching, may have been seconds or hours, not sure at this point – big burst of light where the shuttle was. Until I read the article, I would have sworn we had all heard a big explosion, but I guess the mind plays tricks and fills in those cues when it needs to. Even after it happened, most of us didn’t believ it. For a lot of us- that moment was the end of the dream.