BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – It’s been 34 years since the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after takeoff from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
On January 28, 1986 the Challenger lifted off and exploded 73 seconds into flight. The shuttle broke apart and fell 46,000 feet to the Atlantic Ocean.
All seven crew members died. Their names were Gregory Jarvis, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, and Christa McAuliffe. McAuliffe would have been the first teacher in space.
The explosion was a result of a rocket booster failure which ignited the fuel tank.
17% of the American population witnessed the launch broadcast on live television, in part because of McAuliffe’s high profile.