Challenger 1986

BrunoMars420

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Feb 14, 2016
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I am watching this documentary and man, I knew it was a big deal but had no idea about how big of a deal it actually was.

How do you guys alive at the time recall that event and the mood of America?
 

silasstarr

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Aug 25, 2003
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I watched it live in the library at school the day of the launch. It was shocking at the time, especially for an elementary kid. The launches were a big deal back then. Something Americans felt pride in.

I watched the series last night and didn't know NASA had tried covering up their fault.
 

DooBi

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Sep 18, 2006
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I was 8. I remember hearing about the cover up at the time. I also remember it taking the wind out of the sails of the bears super bowl win.
 

BrunoMars420

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Feb 14, 2016
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I watched it live in the library at school the day of the launch. It was shocking at the time, especially for an elementary kid. The launches were a big deal back then. Something Americans felt pride in.

I watched the series last night and didn't know NASA had tried covering up their fault.
Only time my generation watches a launch was to watch John Glenn orbit the earth at that super old age
 

hawkbirch

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I remember watching it at school and being rushed out of the room and not understanding why. My mom was crying when I got home and I didn't understand that either.
 

alaskanseminole

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Oct 20, 2002
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I am watching this documentary and man, I knew it was a big deal but had no idea about how big of a deal it actually was.

How do you guys alive at the time recall that event and the mood of America?
I was in the 6th grade (In Florida) and our Science focus that year was NASA...had just returned from a trip there. Our teacher actually applied to be the first teacher in space, so it was a big deal. We all went out to the parking lot to watch the launch and when it exploded it was pretty traumatic. The principal pulled all the students into the auditorium and rolled out a tube TV on a cart for us to watch updates while they called parents to come pick us up (it was a small private school).
 

GlenEllynHawk

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I am watching this documentary and man, I knew it was a big deal but had no idea about how big of a deal it actually was.

How do you guys alive at the time recall that event and the mood of America?
Here's how I recall finding out about the event (remember, this was pre interwebz days).

I was sitting at my desk, managing the equity trading desk of a small regional securites broker/dealer. My phone rang (another trader). I hear:

"What do Donna RIce and Christa McAuliffe have in common"?

Anybody know the answer?
 

Bonerfarts

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I was in kindergarten when it happened. I was in the after-lunch kindergarten class (back then they went half days). I remember not being able to tell time, but I knew after the Price is Right was over that it was time to get to school. That day I had so much anxiety from the crash, and also not knowing what time I needed to go to school since CBS's coverage of the explosion interrupted the Price is Right.
 

BlackNGoldBleeder

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Jun 23, 2017
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I vaguely remember it. I was four about to turn five. I remember my mother being sad, as she was a school teacher.
 

jasonrann

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Apr 11, 2007
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I was in Spanish class my junior year in high school. The principal made an announcement over the intercom. The reality didn't hit me until I actually saw the explosion. Gut punch.
 

HawkCat

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May 29, 2001
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I was in the hallway during my first year of law school when I heard the news. It had special significance for me.

Two years earlier, I worked a three-month internship as a reporter at the newspaper in Cocoa, Florida. During that internship, I got to attend the launch of Challenger on its fifth mission (STS-41C) on April 6, 1984. I watched the launch from the press viewing area at the Kennedy Space Center. I was close enough that my pant legs ruffled a bit during the launch, video of which is linked below. While there, I interviewed some guys for a sidebar I wrote about a company that was forming to train private shuttle pilots. A week later, I got up in the middle of the night to attend what was supposed to be the dawn landing at KSC, only to have the landing diverted to Edwards AFB in California at the last minute.

 
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JMNSHO

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Mar 11, 2010
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3rd grade. I wanted to be an astronaut. I even had a NASA jacket I wore everywhere. I was home sick that day and watched the launch live. I made a life decision to not be an astronaut that day.
 

Hawki97

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Dec 16, 2001
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Iowa City, IA
It was a very big deal at the time. The shuttle program was an amazing achievement and while it was losing a bit of its luster due to the frequency of launches and the public’s short attention span, this launch was huge especially for school kids. Teacher in Space was a big deal! Being born in the 70’s - my most impactful TV moments in order are:

1: 9/11, second plane hitting in particular.
2: Challenger explosion from my classroom.
3: Finding out Sue Ellen’s sister shot J.R. and was pregnant with his child.

Honorable Mention: Magic announcing he had AIDS.
 
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dekhawk

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Nov 14, 2001
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That is a good series to watch. Thankfully whistle blowers provided info to question the O rings. The reason whistle blowers are important. Reagan did not want NASA to look bad.
 
Feb 9, 2013
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By that time shuttle flights had gotten routine but was still a notable flight because of McAuliffe. I was in high school and remember people sort of stunned but also it was a bit of a jolt that space flight was still a dangerous endeavor. Reagan’s speech about the tragedy was quite memorable.

The footage of families and spectators watching the launch is tough viewing.

 
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BelemNole

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Mar 29, 2002
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I was in Spanish class my junior year in high school. The principal made an announcement over the intercom. The reality didn't hit me until I actually saw the explosion. Gut punch.
Class of '87!
As an AF brat attending school on base this hit us hard. Those were our people. We knew that somewhere out there families were getting visited by guys in govt sedans like they had in our neighborhoods over the years.
 
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hawkmart

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6th grade, towards end of math when a teacher walked in and said the space shuttle blew up. Homeroom was next and that teacher had a TV, so we watched the news the entire time before lunch. Besides knowing where I was when heard the news it being all over the news the next few days after my memories of that day aren't as vivid as the one's from 9/11.
 

jasonrann

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Class of '87!
As an AF brat attending school on base this hit us hard. Those were our people. We knew that somewhere out there families were getting visited by guys in govt sedans like they had in our neighborhoods over the years.
I cannot begin to imagine, wow!
 

Hoosierhawkeye

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Sep 16, 2008
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I am watching this documentary and man, I knew it was a big deal but had no idea about how big of a deal it actually was.

How do you guys alive at the time recall that event and the mood of America?
I was only 4 for the Challenger explosion so I don't remember that much about it. But I was in college when Columbia was destroyed on re-entry and I was and remain still shocked at how little attention that got at the time and gets now.
 
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tarheelbybirth

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Apr 17, 2003
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One of those "remember every damn detail" moments. I was sitting in my office and had NPR on in the background. I heard a scrap of a story but not enough to understand what they were saying. I had to sit there for what seemed like forever - probably no more than 2-3 minutes - for them to come back to it and confirm that the Challenger had exploded during it's launch. I stood up and my knees kind of buckled and I just sat down hard. I remember sitting there shaking. I knew a teacher who was a finalist for the ride and how disappointed she was to not get it. I was finally able to get up and went out and found my crew...let them know what had happened. We took a break but then it was time to get back to work.

I still feel like my heart just drops to the floor when I watch it.
 
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tarheelbybirth

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Apr 17, 2003
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I was only 4 for the Challenger explosion so I don't remember that much about it. But I was in college when Columbia was destroyed on re-entry and I was and remain still shocked at how little attention that got at the time and gets now.
The first one was a stone-cold slap in the face. The second one was a "not again" moment.
 
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hawkeyeandy

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Apr 11, 2008
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I was strolling through IMU and noticed crowds of people gathered around the TVs and the eerie quiet. Stopped to watch. Stood there absolutely stunned. One of those times you never forget where you were when it happened or when you found out.
 

SSG T

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Jul 10, 2002
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We were watching it in Recent US History my Sr year of HS. As they were going through the launch sequence, our teacher, Mr. Carlson, was reading through some stuff about McAuliffe. He stopped reading when they said "Ignition" and we just watched. The Challenger exploded about 10-12 minutes before class ended. I don't think anyone said a word between the explosion and the bell. I mean, I can't name a single person that was in that class with me, but I can still point to the exact seat I was sitting in during the launch (the class was in the back of the school auditorium).

It's the only lift off I've ever watched live (well, aside from Apollo 11...when I was 5 months old).
 

Fan In Black

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Nov 9, 2001
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I was in 8th grade and watching in class. We had to pray for a really long time. I was 13 and a dick with no empathy. I just remember being annoyed that we had to pray. Now it hits me pretty hard.
 

Jan Itor

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Jan 31, 2009
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I am watching this documentary and man, I knew it was a big deal but had no idea about how big of a deal it actually was.

How do you guys alive at the time recall that event and the mood of America?
I was in the military at Fort Lee heading back to class from lunch when I heard it on the radio. Was with a classmate and we both just had this sinking feeling and didn't say a word until we walked into the classroom and everyone was talking about it.

My wife (pics on the internet) was in the Hotel room the military put us up in while I went to school. Walked in the room and we just sat and watched the footage over and over. Sick feeling.
 

HawkCat

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May 29, 2001
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The first one was a stone-cold slap in the face. The second one was a "not again" moment.
Looking back, it is amazing how overconfident and blase we had become about the shuttle launches at the time. They were so frequent and routine for a while that we lost sight of the complexities involved and the number of tiny things that could go wrong and lead to catastrophic results.
 
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tarheelbybirth

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Apr 17, 2003
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Looking back, it is amazing how overconfident and blase we had become about the shuttle launches at the time. They were so frequent and routine for a while that we lost sight of the complexities involved and the number of tiny things that could go wrong and lead to catastrophic results.
And then to find out that the engineers were advising against the launch all along. Really slammed the culture at NASA which was what made the Columbia disaster so fvcking sad. They learned nothing from Challenger.
 

yescyam

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May 29, 2001
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By that time shuttle flights had gotten routine but was still a notable flight because of McAuliffe. I was in high school and remember people sort of stunned but also it was a bit of a jolt that space flight was still a dangerous endeavor. Reagan’s speech about the tragedy was quite memorable.

The footage of families and spectators watching the launch is tough viewing.

Man.....that is just brutal.
 

rivalhawks

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I was 8. I remember hearing about the cover up at the time. I also remember it taking the wind out of the sails of the bears super bowl win.
I was already traumatized by Iowa’s beatdown in the Rose Bowl earlier that month.
 

BubsFinn

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Nov 20, 2004
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Sr. in high school. I was in an art class when one of the coaches came in and told us the space shuttle just blew up. I worked in the office next period so the vice principal and I watched the replays the entire time.
 

Bonerfarts

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NASA's study of the explosion found that at least 3 of the astronauts were alive after the explosion until the impact of the ocean.

The separation of the crew compartment deprived the crew of
Orbiter-supplied oxygen, except for a few seconds supply in the
lines. Each crew member's helmet was also connected to a
personal egress air pack (PEAP) containing an emergency supply of
breathing air (not oxygen) for ground egress emergencies, which
must be manually activated to be available. Four PEAP's were
recovered, and there is evidence that three had been activated.
The nonactivated PEAP was identified as the Commander's, one of
the others as the Pilot's, and the remaining ones could not be
associated with any crew member. The evidence indicates that the
PEAP's were not activated due to water impact.
 

ELCHawk

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I was in 2nd grade. I remember a naughty kid telling our teacher that he wished she was on it. She cried.
 

wneff

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Jan 14, 2003
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I was strolling through IMU and noticed crowds of people gathered around the TVs and the eerie quiet. Stopped to watch. Stood there absolutely stunned. One of those times you never forget where you were when it happened or when you found out.
I was going to post the same thing. I was cutting through the IMU either to or from class because it was in January. I knew something bad had happened because so many people were watching the big TV in the basement.