Challenger Explodes


On January 28, 1986, after about 73 seconds into its launch, space shuttle Challenger exploded, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members, which included the first teacher in space. The Challenger’s crew was honored with burials at Arlington National Cemetery. It was the first such tragedy in shuttle history–but sadly not to be the last.

President Reagan postponed his annual State of the Union Address for a week and instead gave a national address on the disaster from the Oval Office. A 32-month hiatus in the program followed, along with the Rogers Commissions, which found that O-rings which failed in the extremely cold and wet conditions of that fateful January day were to blame for the accident. However, the plans Rogers Commission recommended to NASA for its management structure and organizational culture were not followed or properly implemented, thus leading to another shuttle disaster mismanagement in 2003.

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