25th Anniversary of the Challenger Accident

This coming Friday marks the 25th anniversary of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger shortly after launch. We were college students on January 28, 1986.

To commemorate the Challenger accident, Chapman University is hosting a symposium today (Monday, January 24) at 2-5pm in Sandhu Conference Center. “Truth, Lies, and O-rings: Lessons from Challenger” features Lofty Ambitions guest bloggers Richard C. Cook and Allan J. McDonald. Read their posts here (includes CNN video) and here.

The symposium will also feature artifacts (an o-ring?) and documents from the Roger and Roberta Boisjoly Challenger Disaster Collection. Boisjoly, Cook, and McDonald were all whistleblowers in the wake of the space shuttle accident. Boisjoly donated his papers to Leatherby Libraries at Chapman University. He was also a guest blogger at Lofty Ambitions. Read his post here.

We also include discussion of Challenger in one of our “Countdown to the Cape” posts here. You can view the report from the Presidential Commission (before which the whistleblowers testified) here.

Below is a 45-minute NASA documentary of the launch and investigation. If you watch the entire video, you get a sense of exactly what happened, where the o-ring was, where the plume of flame emerged, how the shuttle broke apart, even the path of the crew cabin as it fell to the ocean, and how the shuttle parts were recovered and reconstructed.


2 thoughts on “25th Anniversary of the Challenger Accident

  1. Just visited the Space Museum in Alamogordo, New Mexico last Friday. It is a wonderful exhibit and brought back memories of where I was on certain flight days. It was a balanced display of all the pioneers, movers and shakers for space flight. Sadly, the tragedy of Challenger as well as Gus Grissom and crew were mentioned but there were no details as to the causes of these terrible losses.

  2. The symposium was fascinating, full of detailed information and hope for making the future better. Lofty Ambitions garnered a couple of video interviews, and now we’re off to dinner with these whistleblowers.

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