A Space History Tragedy

The date may not register with all of us every year, but few space enthusiasts — and probably few U.C. citizens — over thirty will ever forget the mishap that destroyed the Space Shuttle Challenger.

It’s hard to believe that it was 25 years ago today — January 28, 1986 — that the Challenger lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on mission STS-51L, and exploded a little over a minute into the launch profile.

To this day, I find it almost painful to watch the video of the explosion. Indeed, I find it hard to compose this post, even though I’ve known it was coming for a long time.

So I will just post this picture of the Challenger astronauts — Francis R. “Dick” Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Ellison S. Onizuka, Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, and Gregory Jarvis — the way I like to remember them:

(STS-51L crew, leaving the Operations & Checkout Building. NASA image.)

Hopeful. Enthusiastic. Fearless.

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