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Challenger Space Shuttle

Posted by danlanders

The Challenger Disaster:

January 28,1986 11:38 A.M.

Submitted and authored by Captain HUnter
Commanding officer of SFI's
USS Challenger

      The images above are ones that will forever be ingrained into the minds of Humanity. It was the day the dream of space took a crushing blow......and seven brave adventurers lost their lives while in pursuit of that dream. After the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger, Humanity struggled to come to terms with the grief and the pain, and, eventually returned to space. But we must never forget the sacrifice that was made by the Challenger-7.

Top Row:Francis Scobee-Commander
Michael Smith-Pilot
Judith Resnik-Mission Specialist
Middle Row: Ellison Onizuka-Mission Specialist
Ronald McNair-Mission Specialist
Gregory Jarvis-Payload Specialist
Bottom Row:Christa McAuliffe-Teacher in Space
      The seven people above gave of themselves in order to increase the knowledge of all humanity. They gave of themselves willingly, accepting the risks. They are all true Heroes in the finest sense, and, sixteen years later, their dreams and visions of the future are still burning just as bright as ever before.

"We go forth in your name, keeping the dream alive, remembering the sacrifice you made."

A Personal Note from the Author

     On that cold day in January, I was one of the many people lined up along the highway across from the Cape to watch the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. It had been one of the major attractions for me when planning this vacation. A group of us had come down to Florida for a week to recharge after the Christmas Holidays. I and one other friend had left Clearwater very early that morning so as to be able to see the launch of the Challenger. We didn't try to get into the Space Center, as you have to book well in advance if you want to be there for a shuttle launch. Instead, we parked on the highway across Cape, which looked out over the water towards the Space Center, along with a large number of other people. There was flash of fire and smoke, and Challenger was away. It was a majestic sight to see......the epitomy of Man's technology and genius......lifting towards the Heavens. Then......in a flash......Challenger was gone......a fireball had taken her place, the now-famous image of her twin boosters arcing off in a huge "Y" shape. I don't recall a moment ever before in my life where there was such a silence. People stared at the sky, and finally, a sob broke the silence. There was stunned disbelief. How could this have happened???? Then, the tears came. We had all just witnessed the death of seven brave people, including a civilian woman, Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who was to conduct a class session from space. I remember hugging a woman next to me. I didn't know her, and never did find out her name. It was just such a moment where everyone helped each other, tried to comfort each other. In reflecting on it, years later, it was also a moment where we lost our innocence. Until that moment, as a young man, I had been supremely sure of myself and my place in the world. It had been an illusion. Challenger's loss proved we were all mortal, even me. We could die, as had been painfully proven to me that cold January day. It was a coming-of-age, and a bitter lesson to learn. Today, I still remember that moment, and hope to never forget. To do so would be to dishonour the brave crew who launched that day, with such bright dreams for the future. All we can do is remember, and continue to dream the dream, for them, and for us all.

Jim Hunter


     I was also watching that day, though not quite as close as Captain Hunter was. I was home watching the launch on television. I saw the shuttle climb into the sky, and then came the sudden fireball and billows of smoke. The two bosters following their own course as they were freed from their mountings. the news commentators had been doing their job talking about the weather and such, and hadn't wuite realized something was not right, but the realization came all too soon.
     I want to thank Jim for bringing this event back to my attention, and the fine word written to remember the incident by.

Vice Admiral Dan Landers

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