HomeSpace NewsOn This Day in Space! Jan. 28, 1986: Space shuttle Challenger explodes...

On This Day in Space! Jan. 28, 1986: Space shuttle Challenger explodes after launch

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff, killing the seven crewmembers on board. The space shuttle disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The seven astronauts who lost their lives in the Challenger STS-51L launch tragedy were commander Francis “Dick” Scobee, pilot Mike Smith, mission specialists Judy Resnik, Ellison Onizuka and Ron McNair, and payload specialists Greg Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe, who was trained to be the first teacher in space. 

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The crew of the space shuttle Challenger’s STS-51L mission, which ended in tragedy shortly after launch on Jan. 28, 1986. From left to right, the astronauts are Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judy Resnik, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Michael Smith and Ellison Onizuka. (Image credit: NASA)
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The space shuttle Challenger STS-51L spaceflight ended in tragedy on Jan. 28, 1986 73 seconds after liftoff.

The space shuttle Challenger STS-51L spaceflight ended in tragedy on Jan. 28, 1986 73 seconds after liftoff. (Image credit: NASA.)
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STS-51L payload specialists appear to float momentarily in a human chain inside the KC-135 aircraft during zero-g training.

STS-51L payload specialists appear to float momentarily in a human chain inside the KC-135 aircraft during zero-g training. (Image credit: NASA)
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NASA's Day of Remembrance on Feb. 1, 2013, will honor the memories of astronauts who died during the Apollo 1, space shuttle Challenger and shuttle Columbia tragedies.

NASA’s Day of Remembrance on Feb. 1, 2013, will honor the memories of astronauts who died during the Apollo 1, space shuttle Challenger and shuttle Columbia tragedies. (Image credit: NASA)
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