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.
NASA later determined that two rubber O-rings, which were designed to separate the sections of the rocket booster, had failed due to cold temperatures on the morning of the launch.
The disaster resulted in a 32-month hiatus in the space shuttle program as NASA worked to redesign the spacecraft to prevent another tragedy like this from happening again.
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