Memories of the Challenger

This is one page of many, check out the intro at I Remember Challenger for others.

This page currently edited by: Dagwood. Past editor: Junior

I was 8 years old and had stayed home from school sick I had a huge interest in the space program and had wanted to learn everything I could about the shuttle launches. I wanted to do what my sister's husband did (he works at Edwards Air Force Base as a civilian firefighter) which was a space rescue unit for emergencies the shuttle might encounter while in orbit, so my mom let me watch he shuttle lanch on TV. She was in the kitchen when the Challenger exploded I didn't understand what had occured until my mother explained through her tears what had happened. To this day me, a 22 year old former military man still well up with tears when I see anything about it and reading some of the comments left here brings tears to my eyes. Godspeed Challenger & we will never forget.

From: Matt

I was only two at the time, so I don't remember anything about it. I am doing a report on how television broad-casting of this event affected society. I find that this site is quite helpful to me, because it allows me to read first hand what people thought and felt after seeing the explosion on live television.

From: Lyssa

I was 13 when it happened, we felt the grief and shock over this side of the world too (Dublin, Ireland) I think I was too stunned to cry, but my mom cried for me.

From: Noel O Neill

Being in Australia, we didn't learn about the tragey until the next morning as it happened when we were all asleep. I was 15 and I remember my mother coming in to wake me half an hour earlier than usual and she was crying. She told me what had happened and we all congregated in front of the morning TV news show which dedicated all it's programming to the Challenger disaster. We were late for school that day, but I don't think anybody really cared.

From: Kieron

I'm 13 year old now, When my teacher told us to work on project so I picked for my project about the Challenger then my teacher telling me whole what happened and I couldn't belive that .... and I was using internet about the Challengers and see what happened and I feel so bad about this. My mom told me that she does remember and my brother was only baby he was born after that. I don't remember it but I saw whole things of video that my mom copied in 1986 and it was so awful that the teacher was in it. Bless of god to everyone from Paige Barnaby

From: Paige Barnaby

I was in the room with my brother painting our room. My brother took a break to watch the launch, I still was painting my room thinking it would be a normal launch. Then my brother shouted at me and said it blew up. I said what blew up and he said the Challenger. I quickly turned around and looked at the tv. I saw this strange smoke in the sky that looked like the letter Y. I said oh no, we stood there in shock. The commentators that were covering the launch weren't saying a thing. I didn't know what to think, my heart dropped. Then the annoucers said that something had gone wrong with the launch. They said the computers were showing a malfunction. I remember Scobee saying "GOING WITH TROTTLE UP" and then that explosion. They played it over and over again that whole night. My heart goes out to all of them God bless them. That's one day I will never forget.


I was living in Florida when the Challenger blew up. I remember sitting on the hill on the side of Shrader Elementary in Port Richy. I had just thought to myself how lucky I was to witness the launching of the shuttles. I had seen a few and had hoped this one would be better. The last time I did not get a good view. This time it was not at all good although my view was perfect. That day my bubble had burst I thought we were so technologicaly advanced and my dream was burning and exploding all over the sky. I still to this day envy those who died that day. They died living as pioneers that is what it is to be an American. Sincerly StarMan

From: Marc Bernier

I was 15 when Challenger died. That's the only way I can think of it -- she died, and all her crew with her. That's how wrapped up in the Space Program I was at the time. I watched it unfold live, in complete shock at what had happened. Spontaneous tears flowed, and even now all these years later, it doesn't take more than a few thoughts, or listening to a tape of "filk" tribute songs I have from that year, to bring it all back. I didn't watch another launch for 14 years, not until they sent John Glenn back up recently. And watching /that/ launch, I cried again -- not for Glenn, I really don't feel that strongly about him, but to see that bird go up again... beautiful.

From: Michael Atreides

I was 18 at the time and in my senior year of high school. I was at home that day because it had snowed and we were out of school. I had forgotten about the launch, but I had the tv on and was flipping through the channels when I came across it on CNN. I stopped to watch because of Christa McAuliffe. I, too, remember that last communication from the astronauts, "Roger, go with throttle up." I sat in stunned horror when it exploded. I remember the looks of anguish on the faces of Christa's parents. I cried the rest of the day, because I realized Christa could have been MY teacher, MY mother or MY friend. Challenger remains my most vivid memory from that decade.

From: Lara Hayes

In 1986 my high school class and others watched the Challenger launch on television live. Everyone was so excited as we were proud to see a teacher "Christa" going into space on that shuttle. I was age 16 at the time and I can still remember it like it was yesterday. The countdown and finally the launch: We were shocked and in disbelief of the explosion that we had just witnessed. It still feels strange when I think back about it. The spouses and children seeing this is just something I think not many will experience in a lifetime. I often wonder what happened to the families and how they are doing now. I would like to hear their thoughts and their stories. We've already heard Nasa's reports, the President's reorts.... We know why and how the accident happened. How are the families?

From: Kelly Harper

I remember I was in my father's office and I was about 15 at the time. I was just leaving with my Dad to go to a doctor when someone said to my dad "Hey Tommy the Challenger exploded". My father assumed that he meant the shuttle that would go from Washington DC to New York City with about 60 people on board and he said "Oh that's awful" in a real calm way. Then his worker said "the Space shuttle with the seven astronauts", that was when he looked up surprised and said "Oh my gosh, when"! The shock of the seven astronauts got him more then when he originally had thought that 60 people had died in a plane crash.

From: Michael Fannon

I was 22, living in upstate NY....and it was the very first time I watched a shuttle launch. I remember trying to explain to my 3 year old why mommy was crying.. I swore I'd never watch one again.. then I moved to Florida the year the shuttle program started again... I couldn't help but watch and pray that everything would turn out all right.. I have watched every single one since, and not on TV =) right in my own front yard...

From: Suzanne

I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was a junior in high school and I was on my way back from the lavatory, I passed a science class that had been watching the launch and stuck my head in to see what all the activity was about. It was just moments before that it had exploded. I quickly got back to my class and informed the teacher and my classmates what I had just seen. We turned on the T.V. and watched in horror the replay of the explosion again and again. Later that day a moment of silence was held for the crew and their families during our lunch break. It is one moment in time that I will never forget. Although Space Shuttle missions had become routine, this event changed the space program and my look on life forever.

From: Michael Blackwell

I was a junior in High School - my best friend and I had just sat down at our desks in our American History class when our teacher Mr. Bailey came into the room with a somber look on his face. He said "shortly after takeoff, the shuttle Challenger apparently just blew up". I remember wondering if there was any chance that any of the crew could have survived, but Bailey said that the chances of any survivors was extremely remote. For the next couple of hours, we watched the news footage of the explosion. To this day, every time I watch a shuttle launch and I see the smoke trail of the rocket boosters, I can't help but think of the explosion, and wonder if it will happen again.

From: Stacy Hartzog

I was 8 years old in 3rd grade, I remember my teacher coming in with the TV and watching the explosion. It was so sad, we all were just in shock and really didn't know what to say or how to react. The rest of the day we discussed basically the meaning of life and how important it is to tell the ones you love you love them.

From: Ivonne Melver

I was 20 years old and in a college electronics class, when I passed by a group of other students staring at a TV monitor, I could barely see over their heads, when someone told me I was watching the Shuttle explode. It was a pretty sinking feeling for the rest of the day...the same feeling your stomach gets if you're scared of heights. What I didn't realize at that moment is that the next day I was to interview for a job at NASA in Houston. Two weeks later I was there, and for some reason, it didn't seem strange that there were so many national news corresponents walking all over the NASA campus...interviewing anyone that they came across. It was a strange feeling, first of all the excitment of all of a sudden being right in the middle of the space program, but with the fresh sinking feeling of the historic tragedy that had just happend. 10 years after the disaster, my wife and I were priveledged, to witness NASA's small commemerance, with about 200 other NASA workers, walking to where the flag poles are. Not a word was spoken. Everyone simply stood...watching a somewhat large portrait of the crew. Then, not even 1 foot from my wife and I, a small opening in the crowd opened up, and allowed the Spouses of the Challenger 7 to walk through and stand right in front of the portrait. I remember feeling that same sinking feeling of 10 years before, but now with a sense of privledge that the family was right in front of me, and could now feel the sorrow as part of the NASA family. When the second hand showed that precise second of the Challenger exposion, a missing man formation of fighter jets flew right over us...then the civil alert sirens, very, very, long bell tolls...they seemed to last forever. Not a word was ever spoken. We all walked away and returned back to our buildings to get back to work. One day, I came across an old Shuttle navigation computer that was being surplused, since new ones replaced them back in 1991. Intreagued, I bought it for 0....I wasn't sure if it actually flew on a shuttle or was only an engineering unit used for testing. I did a little research on my computer..which a few coworkers called "a worthless piece of junk" and found out...that this computer commanded the space shuttle Challenger: the engines, rocket boosters, everything. "Luckly", it had a failure and had to be removed for was removed from Challenger before the disastrous launch in 1986. After repair, it commanded Columbia and Atlantis until it was retired....It now sits in my home in Houston, along with my collection of other 80's vintage stuff, and I never fail to glance at still gives me that sinking feeling I first felt in 1986...... I was priveledge to work 7 years on those new Shuttle computers that replaced the old ones in 1991. And I made it a point to never forget the consequences of cutting corners. The sinking feeling will always be with me until I retire. "and the meek shall inherit the earth...." 2112

From: 2112

I was about two months shy of my 1st b-day when it happened. And for some odd reason I actually remember it. My mom was watching it on tv and I was in the room playing with my toys. Just as they were taking off, my mom told me to watch. When it exploded I knew something wasn't right, but I really didn't understand it at the time. My mom was in tears. I can't believe something like that happened.

From: Debbie

I was only six years old at the time, but I didn't get the news untill the early afternoon in my after school program. They put the news on and I watched as the space shuttle took off and started it's ascent, and then exploded. From that day on, I have always remembered it as a great tragedy that will always be remembered. And to the seven astronauts: Cmdr. Francis Scobee, Michael Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair, Judith Resnik, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe, I want you to know your lives are eternally remembered, and we always remember you in our prayers and remember that you are in the arms of God from now on. You are forever remembered as seven great heroes whose lives were cut short by a tragic accident, and whose souls were taken from the flaming wreckage and placed in paradise because God did not want you to suffer any more than you should have even had to in the first place. Rest in peace. Rob Adair (Larcen Tyler) 04-27-01

From: Larcen Tyler

I was 3 and a half years when the Challenger blew up, and I remember watching it happen live on T.V. In the few weeks before it was to launch, my preschool class had been talking and learning about it. We were excited because there was a teacher inthe crew. My teacher brought in a refrigerator box and we made it into a space shuttle, and pretended it was Challenger. I watched the launch with my mom, she was on the couch and I was sitting on the floor in front of her with a plastic airplane, and we watched it launch and then it exploded - I remember turning around and looking up at my mom saying "that wasn't s'possed to happen was it Mommy?" And my mom was crying and she said "No it wasn't" then she hugged me and called my dad at work. I totally remember this as a memory not as someone telling it to me, I think it's my first real memory.

From: Sarah

I remember watching this on TV at school. I was 18 years old and in my Social Studies class. The focus of the day was the Space Shuttle only because it was taking off that day with a teacher. Our science teacher was first in line to go if the first one could not make it for some reason. It's sad to say but I'm glad our teacher was not on that flight. The shuttle took off and the whole class was cheering that it got off the ground and then the whole room was quiet after watching for just a few more seconds. Many of us were crying openly but some were weeping in there own way. That one day that I'll never forget.

From: Heather

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