Memories of the Challenger

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

I am doing a research paper on the Challenger. I went to the Houston Space Center and watched videos about it. That was a very sad moment. They showed the reactions of the people working in Mission Control when the disaster occured. Their faces all turned blank as they watched in disbelief. It was unreal that all 7 lives were lost in a matter of only a few seconds. A costly, unforgettable mistake which changed the lives of astronauts today. :( Allie

From: Allie Gilman

I was a freshman in high school. My family had gone on vacation to Florida and part of our hopes was to watch the launch. We took a tour of Kennedy Space Center and I have a picture of the shuttle on the launch pad that I took through the window of the tour bus. Anyway, we were waiting around a few extra days, they kept delaying the launch due to ice on the wings. Finally we couldn't stay any longer and headed for home in Ohio. We had bad luck and our van broke down at 3:00 AM about 30 mintues from home. Had to stay in a hotel that night. I finally got to school the next day and the first thing anyone said to me was that the shuttle blew up. I'll never forget it.

From: Randy

I remember I was 6 years old, sitting on my grandmothers bed early one morning...watching the Price is Right and watching my mom get ready for work, and waited for her to get me ready. I remeber a news break, and they started to show the shuttle take off....I had never seen that before, and my mother came in the room and watched with me and my grandmother for a second, then left...when seconds later, I remember it taking off, then all of a sudden, the shuttle I had been watching in wonder had disappeared into a cloud of smoke and fire.....I didn't understand at first why my mother and grandmother were crying....but I soon understood that the people I had just watched get in that shuttle had all just died....Funny that I remember soo vividly what happened that day....but I don't think I will ever forget....

From: Jennifer Regan 22

I just turned 15 on March 14, 2002. In other words, I was born in 1987, a year after the "Challenger" exploded. After reading the memories people have of the Challenger and of the day the Challenger exploded, I think of the memories I have of September 11th. It was really a beautiful day outside, just a normal day. I was in Algebra class and a freshman at St. Rose High School in Belmar, New Jersey. The bell was about to ring because first period was over. The bell didn't ring. I remember saying to my friend Cindy, "Where's the bell? We are gonna be so late for our next class!" Then, a lady came on the loud speaker and explained to the whole entire school that two planes have just crashed into New York City's Twin Towers! We were all horrified and extremely shocked! Some of us even broke down into tears. Before the lady mentioned the planes, we all just thought of a stupid bomb scare and that everyone in the buildings would be alright! I am originally from New York City and after hearing what happened to the Twin Towers, I was extremely sad and scared for my dad, who still lives in New York City. I will always remember that day and where I was, just like many of you remember where you were the day of the Challenger explosion. I think it is extremely sad what happened on January 28, 1986. Reading some of your memories has put me into tears. I can't believe that after a few seconds after launching off, the shuttle exploded! We will always be thinking of those seven people who died that shocking day in 1986.

From: Alexandria

I was 13. I remember I was sitting in math class when one of the science teachers came in and took our whole class down to her room. We sat with about four other classes crammed into that one room watching it. I was a HUGE (still am) NASA fan and I remember being upset about missing it when they pulled us in to watch the replay I was all happy, not knowing. Back then I had the preflight lists and post launch lists memorized. I knew what was supposed to come next after "go with throttle up." I still to this day tear up seeing it. Every flight that went up I wanted to be onboard. When that shuttle exploaded part of me died.

From: Thane R. Hecox

I remember that sad day... I was almost 9 years old with dreams of becoming an astronaut. My brother and I had just arrived home from school and I saw my mom standing in front of the television crying. She said.. "Oh my God it exploded!" Then she hugged me and my brother. At first I was baffled. Why is my mom crying? What exploded? Then I saw the replay and I understood. I went to my room and looked at my shelf where my brother and I had a model of the Challenger made. We also had each a Teacher In Space badge. I was glued to the television trying to figure out what went wrong. After that day I decided not to become an astronaut. It seems as if every decade or so there is an event to remember.. '86 was a tough year.. sadly with the World Trade Center attack(9/11/01)its like its happening all over again just in different form and my/our children are going to reflect on it in a few years....

From: Anita Aponte

I remember the day like it just happened. I was going to school at Beachwood Elementary in Whitehall, OH. I was in 5th grade Mr. Day's class. We had just sat down to lunch and were going to watch the lauch from video tape. When Mrs. Gonwer(please forgive the spelling I remeber her name not the spelling) came in to the lunch room and asked everyone to be quiet. She said the shuttle had just exploded then she turned on a transister radio and we listened to the radio report. It was so quiet in the room you could hear a pin drop. We then watched the explosion over and over again all day. The only comparison I can make to it is Sept 11th. The only difference betwen the 2 is one was carelessness/accident and the other was terrorism. Both left an imprint that will never go away. Cathy

From: Cathy Friedlander

My 8th grade History teacher, Mrs. K., had been up for the spot on Challenger. I don't recall how close she'd gotten to going, but I do remember that our class was very excited about the mission and discussed it a great deal because Mrs. K. almost went. On the day of the launch, we'd all gotten permission from our parents to come to school early and watch the live feed. Everyone was grinning and murmuring about how cool it was that a teacher was going up on the shuttle. A teacher! A regular person, like Mrs. K.! And Mrs. K., even though she didn't get to go, she was absolutely giddy. When Challenger exploded, the room went completely silent. The girl in front of me flinched. Mrs. K. was standing off to one side of the classroom, and her mouth was just hanging open. I looked back at the TV screen, and the reporters were saying something about a "vehicle" exploding, and I just couldn't get my mind around the fact that the "vehicle" they were talking about was Challenger. It had to be a joke, or an optical illusion or something! Challenger couldn't have exploded! It must have been a booster. I looked back at Mrs. K. Her face had turned a bit pink, and she was blinking tears away. "What happened?" "What was that?" "Was that it?" my friends all asked her. "Did it..." I swallowed, "It exploded... ?" I asked. And Mrs. K. looked at me, and she looked at my friends, and all she could do was nod.

From: Ana

I know this is terrible, but I will remember the day the Challenger exploded. I was in high school, and had chosen that day to skip school. I was on Silver Springs Blvd. and looked up to see the smoke trail. I flippantly wondered if that was the space shuttle, but didn't know until I got home and my mom asked me about the terrible event. Of course I didn't know for sure that that had actually been the shuttle. I had never skipped school before and didn't do it again.

From: Julie Smith

My son came home from his first day of school yesterday saying, "mom, what important event happened in 1986"? It was such an easy question for me as I will never forget watching the Challenger's take off and the tragic explosion. I immediately said, my first thoughts are the explosion of the Challenger. I reminded him of how he wouldn't remember the actual date as he was only nine months old. But I certainly remembered clear as day watching the entire event. Watching as the families stood waiting for the take off and seeing their facial expressions in that moment we all were not completely sure of what we had just saw. Then watching the reality of the situation sweep over their faces. Few things have affected me so deeply. I remember spending my day watching every bit of news possible and weeping for hours over the loss of so many loved ones. Last September many of us were doing the same thing. Being from the North East and having spent time in the buildings we were watching blow up I sat in disbelief once again. Weeping for those lost and this time thanking God that my loved ones were home safe and sound.

From: Carolann

I remember being in my Junior year English class waiting for the teacher to come in to start class and when she came in she was as white as a ghost and told the entire class that the Challenger has just blown up. No one in the class believed her that was until we went to lunch and saw the televisions in the lunchroom that kept showing the explosion over and over.

From: Diane Nishikawa

I was 10 years old when the Challenger exploded. I was not in school that day, and I cannot remember why. But I remember being at a department store with my mother, in the section of the store where they sell TV's. We were walking by a row of TV's, and my mom kept asking "What the heck is that?" One of the salesmen in the store came over and turned up several of the TV's so the people standing around could hear. And that's when we heard what it was we had been watching for that few moments. It was so very sad, and I remember a solemn mood for days after that. The teacher, Miss McAuliffe, is what stands out in my mind the most. I felt so bad for her family...

From: Heather F

I remember being in the fourth grade, we were supposed to watch it live on tv, but our teacher was having a hard time tuning into the station. All of a sudden another teacher burst in the room crying, she could barely talk but managed to convey to our teacher what had happened. At that point the reception came in on our tv and we watched the replays of the shuttle blowing up. We had all written letters to the shuttle members wishing them luck. I don't think there was a kid in the room who wasn't in tears. It was the first big tragedy of our lives. Something that was supposed to be such a triumph turning into such a disaster.

From: Missy

Yo no habia nacido cuando la nave exploto, pero ahora que estoy en segundo grado estamos estudiando el espacio, me conmovio sobremanera e hize que mi mama buscara informacion en el Internet y estoy estudiando todo sobre el Challenger, me senti muy triste y estoy sentimentalmete ligados a todos ustedes. Mis Respetos y me unire al grupo del que jamas los olvidara Brenda Naommy Puerto Rico Escuela Maria Bas de Vazquez

From: Brenda Naommy Reyes Colon, Felix Jose

I was 5 years old and I was really interested in space. I think it is the reason why I still can't forget the photo of smiling faces of the crew of Challenger and photo of the explosion in the newspaper of january 29 1986.

From: Zeynep

I was only 4 years old when the Challenger accident happened. I remember sitting down to have a snack and watch some TV and instead of the usual Mr. Rogers my dad turned on the shuttle launch. Other than that all I remember is seeing the trail of smoke and feeling incredibly sad. Many years later in my Senior year of high school, I found out that my Enviromental Science teacher year had applied to be the one teacher they were going to let on board and that for a while they had actually had his name on a "short list". But they picked Christa McAuliffe instead....ironic isn't it?

From: Ginni

I Don't Remember Anything Because I Was Not Even Born But My Teacher Told Us About It. I Was Born On The Last Day Of December At 12:59 P.m .

From: ivona tinkle

I wasn't born when the Challenger exploded. I'm only 10 years old. I know about the Chalenger7 by reading books and the computer and some people. I think about the Challenger7 at night when I'm going to bed and my sister wasn't alive when the Challenger exploded because she's only 14 and neither was my brother.

From: Scott

I grew up in Concord, NH where Christa McAuliffe was a teacher. I was an 8th grader at Rundlett Jr. High School and was thrilled to have met Christa, and to get to watch her go into space on that fateful day. I was in the cafeteria with the rest of the school watching it live, talking with friends about how cool it would be to have her as our teacher the next year and watching all of our teachers, friends of Christa's, exuberant at the sight of watching the shuttle launch. The launch began and then the eerie smoke. No one knew what was happening. The reporter on t.v. was saying nothing. The cafeteria was silent, the t.v. was silent, the teachers were huddled together in the back of the cafeteria looking concerned. Shortly thereafter we were ushered out the cafeteria and into our next period class. I went to US History with Mr. Peace who was visibly upset and had red eyes (presumably from crying). He turned his television on and we soon learned the news of the explosion. Mr. Peace, perhaps more out of his own need to believe this, spoke at length to us about the possibility that the astronauts had had time to get into the escpae hatch and were safely bobbing in that hatch in the ocean just waiting to be rescued. We were dismissed early, rode home on the buses in silence and I remember sitting until late into the night with my family talking about this tragedy that day. It's a somber time each January in Concord NH and I don't think there is anyone, particularly those like me who were old enough to remember this clearly, who doesn't hurt each winter thinking about this tragedy. One of my clearest memories of this time was feeling such pain over the fact that Christa's children had been at the launch and witnessed this tragedy. As an 8th grader (though I often pretended I couldn't care less about my parents) I could not fathom what it would be like to lose a parent.

From: Rebecca

I remember Challenger like it was yesterday. At the time, we didn't usually watch launches at school. I had told my parents I was sick so I could stay home- of course I wasn't sick but I hated school. Anyway, I was flipping through the channels and stopped at the launch. I didn't understand what happened at first because something like this couldn't happen. I remember my dad coming home and watching, and the guy on T.V. saying "Obviously a major malfunction" and my dad and I saying "obviously" at the same time. A few years later, Pinky Nelson and Dave Hilmers came to out school right after the following mission put America back in space.

From: Keith Kruse

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