Memories of the Challenger

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

I adopted a week old kitten on December 21 1985. just prior to the Challenger disaster, she fell from my third floor balcony and due to her survival and after much t.l.c. , she turned out to be a beautiful cat and remains to this day a brave and courageous friend, which is why she is named for Christa(the brave and heroic adventurer). She will be 22 this year!!!!!!! We both wish all Christa lovers and fans a very healthy and happy Christmas. with love from Australia.

From: susan haywood

I was a Freshman in High School and had just finished lunch. I noticed a group of people crowded around a tv in the Library. As a Journalism student I was curious to what they were watching. I remember seeing Dan Rather and thinking, "What is he doing on so early in the day?" Soon after he replayed the launch and then I remembered the shuttle was launching that day. It became so routine that I had forgotten about it. When I saw the reply of the explosion I was in total shock. A few minutes later I ran outside and just stared into the northeast sky. I will never forget that was cold and the smoke from the explosion could be seen from where I was in Tampa. It was in the sky almost all day. When I got home, I immediately put a tape in the VCR and just started recording. I am sad/happy to say I have two tapes, totaling about 4-5 hours of actual coverage from January 28, 1986. May they rest in peace........

From: JR

I remember I was in 2nd grade. It was such a big deal at school every class was watching it. I remember hearing cheers when it took off then a dead silence and some crying when it exploded. What a horrible day for everyone.

From: Charles

I was a freshman at Hubbard High when the shuttle exploded.I remember just being in shock I couldn't believe it it was very sad indeed.

From: Byron Benguche

I was born in 1978 and was also a child in the 80's. I too wore the jelly sandals. Had them in every color imaginable. From the white ones to black to clear ones in every color and even gold, silver and black ones...i wore these with my jelly bracelets. Yes my mother spoiled me. I had soooo many cool toys like Teddy Ruxbin, Munchichi, my little ponies, and ofcouse Atari!!!!!I remember the slip and slides in the summer time, playing outside till it got dark without a care in the world. I remeber when the challenger space shuttle blew up and how sad it was at school. I remeber the music and the clothes. Salt N' pepa and the Fat boys. The beastie boys and brass monkey! Hair sparyed nbangs and l.a gear. How about the british knights at the end of the 80's. Vans and i remeber my dad working at a factory where they made the op tshirts. I always had so may!!!! I remember my neighbors...the older teenage girls down the street who whore leggings with long sweaters and big belts over them. They wore sandals that would tie up all the way to their knees. Boy george, cindy lauper, and duran duran!Debbie gibson and lisa lisa and cult jam!!!! Those wre the days...days that are gone but still remain in my heart!


I was working at a grocery store at the service counter. Another worker came to me and said the space shuttle had exploded. I remember staring at him in disbelief. I spent the remainder of my shift only half believing what I was told. I got home and saw the news on television. I was in total shock that such a thing could happen. I can still recall that day as if it were just yesterday.

From: Joe C.

I was in 4th grade. They brought a tv into a class room and all the 4th graders gathered around to watch. A teacher in space! No way! Then it all went to hell. We knew right away that this was bad. REAL BAD! It was the first time I had seen a boy cry. I will never forget it.

From: Lynn

I was in the 4th grade, when the challenger had exploded and that our teacher had brought in the tv to have us watch as part of the history lesson that week and seeing how happy all seven of those astronauts were and knowing one of them was at eacher i thought that was the greatest thing that , theY were sending a teacher in space but unfortunately the worst disaster happened. My teacher, had shut off the tv and everyone was in shock and the principal had canceled school for the rest of the day, and President Regan came on the tv and called it the worst disaster in the history of space. But every time that I look up in that sky on that anniversary of the 28th of Jan I will always take a moment of silence to remember these seven heroes that made a part of American history.

From: Aimee Dahlberg

I was an Air Force historian stationed at Kadena Air Base Okinawa. A week or so prior to Challenger, we had received our orders. I was amazed to learn that I was assigned as the first historian for the Air Force's new unit called the First Manned Spaceflight Control Squadron, based at Johnson Space Center near Houston. That morning as my kids were getting ready for school, my oldest son Eric came running into our room and said something had gone very wrong with the launch of Challenger. We flipped on the TV and there it was in all its ugly glory. We stood transfixed for quite a while before we realized that we had to get the kids to school and we had to be at work. Luckily, the command post in my building was getting a constant feed of information about the explosion. I thought of nothing else that day. In the aftermath of the explosion and loss of a terrific crew, my orders were changed. The Air Force decided it was not going to build a fleet of shuttles like Challenger. I was reassigned to the 2nd Space Wing at a brand new base called Falcon, about 11 miles east of Colorado Springs. While I was crushed not to work with the manned spaceflight program, I was delighted to find myself in the unit which began controlling the NAVSTAR network of satellites orbitting Earth. We now know all that as GPS but, in 1986, it was brand new and only for military applications. The loss of the Challenger crew was tragic and one of those moments in time that seems to freeze in your consciousness, rather like (for my generation) when President Kennedy was shot. There are certain moments which are remembered in utter clarity down to the tiniest detail. Now that I am a history teacher, I often think about Krista McAuliffe, our first teacher in space. Or, she would have been if the day had not gone so terribly wrong.

From: Chris Scharping

I was 16, sitting in algebra class failing yet another test when the announcement came out. . . a very sad time that really impacted me. My parents were splitting up ( my mom left my dad a week later) which made the whole disaster so much more depressing....what a strange time.

From: Jason

I was sitting in class, in 10th grade, when my princapal came on the intercom and announced that the space shuttle had just exploded in flight, right after lift off. No one survived. I took us all a few minutes to register this. Then we all began to was horrible. My Mother later told me it was akin to the reaction people had to Kennedy being shot while she was in high school. I never really got over it. To this day I still cringe whenever a space shuttle takes off.

From: Cathleen Abrams

When the Challenger exploded I had just turned 7 yrs old. I believe my cousin and I were home from school that day due to the weather. I knew of the space shuttle and the teacher set to go into space. My mother was the one who told me of the explosion and I knew it was a terrible tragedy and I was very sad, but too young to fully understand it all. At the time my mother was working part time as a home telemarketer and unkowingly called the home of one of the astronauts relatives. After giving her pitch, the woman on the other end told her she had just lost her brother in the Challenger explosion and to please not call again. My mother apologized and felt so incredibly sad after that. This tragedy and the launch footage haunts me and my family to this day. God bless all the seven crew members!!

From: Kenaisha

I was a freshman at Jackson State University. I was walking to my computer science class, I looked to the sky and wondered if the space shuttle launched safely. The professor walked into class and said, "Now that the space shuttle has exploded, what do we do now"? The entire class gasped. We talked about it and class was released early because everyone wanted to go to find a television.

From: I remember Challenger

I was just 3 months shy of my 16th birthday when it happened. School was closed that day because of the weather. (In Atlanta, 1/8th of an inch of snow is enough to close the roads, because it will melt and re-freeze into a sheet of ice). I had walked to a friend's house across the street, and we were in his basement playing on his Commodore 64 when my sister called. "Omigod! The Space Suttle just BLEW UP!" We quickly switched the TV to CNN just in time to see them re-playing the video for the first time. I vividly remember, later that afternoon, Peter Jennings on ABC news going over it again and again. And later that evening, Ronald Reagan's speech about the 7 people onboard the Shuttle and how they "slipped the surly bonds of Earth, to touch the face of God." Hard to believe it's been more than twenty-two years since that day.

From: Laurence in Mableton, GA

It was a memory that has stayed with me through the years.It was the first historic tragedy that i could recall as a child.I'm 32 now and it still remains to me one of the most memorable events in my lifetime.I remember everything at that time was Jim Mcmahon,William "The REfrengerator" Perry and the Chicago Bears Superbowl victory.This event only happened I believe the next day.Now my step-son has a report due on it tomarrow.REST IN PIECE.

From: kevin "charger" ramsey

This day is forever etched in my memory. As a teacher I took part, with my 2nd grade class, in a special Scholastic News project. We corresponded with Krista's second grade son. I watched the telecast with my class ... it was horrifying for me to realize what I had just witnessed...I will never forget the look on Krista's mother's face as she realized the truth...Most of my second graders did not understand exactly what happened...I called each parent to alert them to the fact that they needed to sit with their child quietly and explain...I felt it was much better coming from a loving parent...

From: nancy dykema

It was really sad shen I saw it happening I think I cried but i know that they are in heaven not the other thing

From: rochelle

I was 19 and had a job cleaning motel rooms in Tonopah AZ. I had the tv's on as I would go from one room to the next. I was in roon number 5 when I heard the news and just sat at the end of the bed in disbelief. Then ran outside and looked up at the sky.

From: Pauline

I was any 18 years old college student. That morning I had to wake up early after a late night of work to cover a job for a coworker. Over the night it had been so cold that sprinklers had frozen many yards and the sky was cleared of any haze. I even got to see some flurries. On my way to work the sun was up but the sky was so black that stars could still be clearly seen. Upon arriving at work I setup a cold breakfast for a very nice group of people (It was not my normal duties and I did not know how to heat the coffee). After the people left I cleaned up and quickly made it back home before the launch. For the launch I turned up the TV and went out onto the driveway. I had taken CR520 to work that morning and remember being able to clearly see the Orbiter on the pad from the top of the bridge. The people I had earlier served were the families and friends of the astronauts.

From: Alan

I was 7 all i saw was smoke it was so tragic.

From: zoe

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