The Challenger Tradegy

The explosion of the Challenger space shuttle was a tragedy that Americans who witnessed it will never forget. Those who did not see it but who were alive at the time have memories of what they were doing or where they were. The seven heroes who died will always be remembered for their willingness to contribute to the space program.


One of the astronauts who dies on the Challenger was Christa McAuliffe. Christa was born on September 2, 1948. Her birth name was Sharon Christa but she preferred Christa first. She was the first of five children of Edward and Grace Corrigan. Mrs. McAuliffe had been on one flight shuttle, which was known as the “Teacher in Space Project.” Christa attended Framing-ham and Marian high school. She also attended Framing-ham State College in her hometown. She graduated in 1970. She got a job teaching in secondary schools, specializing in American history, and she studied social studies. Christa and her husband Steve McAuliffe moved to Concord, New Hampshire in 1978. Steve accepted a job as an assistant to the state general. While Steve was assisting the general, Christa was teaching at Concord High School in 1982. Christa and Steve had two children. Her son Scott, 34, is married and pursing a career in marine resource management. Her daughter Caroline, 31, is an educator like her mother. Christa was very active in her community. She gave to her church, tennis club, a local play house, the YMCA, the Girls Scouts and Concord hospital. Her father was a very successful man. Christa decided to become an astronaut because she wanted to teach lessons all over the world from out of space. Out of 11,000 applications Christa was chosen to go into space because she wasn't doing it for the fun of it, but to show others a different view of learning. 73 seconds after the flight took off, the space shuttle exploded. A terrible tragedy. After this accident many monuments, schools, buildings, and other things were named after her. Things like Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, Christa McAuliffe Fellowship Program, Christa McAuliffe Center and many other things. When the disaster happened Christa husband and her two children disappeared from public view.


The Challenger flew nine missions before the day of the disaster. A piece of the rocket booster failed. This piece is called the O-Ring. When the shuttle launched it was cold and the seal around the O-Ring failed. Gases and flames leaked out the rocket boosters. The flames burned a whole in the external fuel tank and the piece that held the rocket booster to the side of the shuttle. The booster broke off and smashed into the external fuel tank. The fuels in the tank mixed together allowing the shuttle to explode. This all happened in 73 seconds after take off.


Along with Ron McNair, South Carolina has another famous astronaut, Charles F. Bolden, Jr. Mr Bolden was NASA adminstrator. Charles was born August 19th, 1946 in Columbia, S.C. Bolden is married to the former Alexis Walker of Columbia S.C. He has two children. Bolden son Anthony, A lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps and he is married. Bolden daughter Kelly Michelle is a medical doctor and is now serving a fellowship in plastic surgery. He was nominated by president Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S senate. He leads the NASA team and manages its resources to advance the agency's mission and goals. He served a variety of positions in the Marine Corps in California. Charles was a wonderful man and well respected.

NASA has several missions scheduled. The first mission is on February 23rd. The vehicle name is Orbital Sciences Taurus Rocket and it will be launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The second mission is on February 24th. The vehicle name is Space Shuttle Discovery. This shuttle will launch from The Kennedy Space Center. The this mission will be held on April 19th. The vehicle name is The Space Shuttle Endeavor. This shuttle will also be launched from The Kennedy Space Center.

Many people who watched the launch on January 28th, twenty five years ago have vivid memories of it. Others remember where they were at the time.





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