Sunday, February 2, 2003

Challenger explosion recalled

The Associated Press

On Jan. 28, 1986, seven crew members, including a New Hampshire schoolteacher, took off aboard the Space Shuttle challenger from Kennedy Space Center.

Seventy-three seconds later, the shuttle disintegrated in the sky. All crew members, including New Hampshire teacher Christa McAuliffe, were killed while millions watched on live television.

On Saturday, space shuttle Columbia apparently disintegrated in flames over Texas minutes before it was to land Saturday.

A gas leak in the right booster rocket was blamed for the Challenger blast. In the explosion, the crew module separated intact from the fireball, went into a 21/2-minute free fall from 50,000 feet and plunged into the sea.

The crew members had no parachutes and no way to jettison the hatch.

The public embraced the crew members, including McAuliffe; commander Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, pilot Michael J. Smith; specialists Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair and Ellison S. Onizuka; payload specialist Gregory B. Jarvis, a Hughes Aircraft Corp. employee.

McAuliffe was selected from among more than 11,000 teachers who applied for the Challenger mission. She was chosen by NASA in 1984 and took a leave of absence that fall to train for the mission.

NASA put the shuttle program on hold after the Challenger accident until 1988. The agency has put the odds of a catastrophic accident during launch - the most dangerous part of any shuttle mission - at 1 in 438.


(Complete Columbia coverage at

Tristaters shocked, seek answers
Terrace Park man loses friend on Columbia
Tristate Jews stunned by Israeli's death
India natives offer special prayers
KIESEWETTER: Another tragedy unfolds on TV
PULFER: Flight: a routine miracle
Enquirer seeking local connections
Disaster evokes Challenger image at Wright-Pat
School superintendent's hometown in debris path
Local woman witnessed 'perfect' launch
Ohio astronaut: `Oh, my God'
List of Ohio astronauts
Space program must go on, scientists say
DeWine: NASA funding will be rexamined
Reading firm makes shuttle fuel tanks

Archived video & special coverage from WCPO

Did NASA underestimate left-wing damage?
Body parts reportedly found
Columbia, crew of 7 lost
Families' pride turns to anguish
Texans saw trails in sky, heard booms
Final words: Astronauts gave no warning of disaster
Americans gasp, cry at news
Americans have taken space flights for granted
Bush consoles shuttle families, country
Text of Bush's remarks
Terrorism ruled out
Crew biographies: First Israeli aboard
Independent board to investigate
Landings were early safety concern
Challenger explosion recalled
Painful memories for teacher's hometown
Deadly accidents in space exploration
Former astronauts search for explanation
Space station crew won't be stranded
Timeline of Columbia flight
Columbia was NASA's oldest shuttle
Key dates in space program
New NASA administrator faces big task