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 wish they had never picked that day to launch. Now 7 lives are gone.


We had just been let out of school early for a basketball game a few hours later, so a few of us went to a friend's gradmother's house to change. We turned on the TV, and they were about to show the liftoff, so we couldn't wait to see it really happen... When it exploded, we were struck dumb. It was just an unbelivable moment that we never forgot...

From: Bryan

I was 6 and in first or second grade at the time. I was a huge space and sci-fi nut,(and still am)with loads of toy rockets and Shuttles. I practically worshipped the Shuttle,space program, sci-fi and Reagan. All my teachers were really into the "Teacher In Space" idea, so they really wanted to watch it in their classes. TV in school was still rare at the time, so I was happy we could see it. For some reason that day, my class didnt watch, then at recess a girl told me that the shuttle had blown up. I just totally blew off the idea. I came home that day and my mom turned on the TV. Every channel was covered with the news, which was also rare for that time. As soon as the TV turned on I saw Dan Rather with a scale model saying, "The leak seems to have been on the solid rocket boosters." I knew exactly what he was talking about because I had already learned so much about the Shuttle. I realized right away what had happened and started weeping, then he repeated the news, and then my mom and even my "mean" big sister were crying, just sitting still. The stations kept repeating it and kept repeating it, then President Reagan (who always did and always will make me feel secure) gave his speech. He could not have done it any better, he did the right thing for the situation and gave an honorable and beautiful speech. My childhood (and the '80s) was never quite so positive after that time,because it was the beginning of more tragedies and blame(Chernobyl, etc.). Shuttle launches, and the whole space program in general,were frowned upon, and people almost seemed to blame whoever they could,(Reagan,NASA etc.) for all the problems. I am glad for a place like this, where all the good things of the '80s will not be forgotten.

From: Chris

I had to do a book report on her. When I finally realized what a sweet, beautiful person she was, I decided to look her up. I am extrememy upset that she had to die this way and I hope she is living in peace now. I love you Christa!

From: Chanel

I will never forget Judy, we were great friends. We grew up together in Akron, Ohio. We spent meny weekends together with the youth group at the JC Balsh Street center, and I was in the first Zimrah service with Judy, I still have the Torah that Judy gave me, as they ran out during the service, and she was that type of person, very concerened about humanity. We would have long conversations about music as I played oboe and clarinet, and we had great times together. Judy was a fantastic piano player. A day never goes by that I don't think of Judy and the great times I had growing up with her. Lots of Love to Judy and the family

From: Dr Joel S. Cohen

I remember where I was when the Challenger exploded. I was 5 years old, my grandma was with me, my mom and Dad were at work. We watched, and at first, I did not know what happened, but it was soon explained to me, and I was very sad. Meanwhile, my mom was informed about what happened, and she rushed home. At about 7'o clock that night, my Dad came home, and he had no idea what happened that morning (which is ironic because he is a total news buff). We told him, and he was glued to the TV for the next two days.

From: Will

I graduated in 85 from Merritt Island High. My father was a NASA engineer. He worked on the Challenger and the previous shuttles as well as the ones after it. I was recently out of school working for an auto parts store in Cocoa Beach while waiting to join the USN. That day I remember like yesterday. I was coming back from a delivery and was listening to the launch coverage on the truck radio. I was running out of time trying to get back to the store to see the launch. I had seen dozens prior to this but they are still awesome. I couldn't make back in time so I decided to pull over in the Ron Jon Surf Shop parking lot to see the launch. Well the launch started and it seemed like another usual, but great launch. During the launch it exploded. As soon as that happened I knew something terrible had happened. I got in the truck and flew back to my job to call my Dad. When he answered I asked him what happened and he said he wasn't sure. It was very quiet at the Kennedy Space Center he said. What a tragic day. Growing up around the space race and meeting many astronauts, that was a difficult day. All of east central Fl was mourning. While I never met any of the Challenger crew, my Dad did give me an autographed pic from each of the crew prior to the accident. What a sad day!!

From: Al Barnett

I was in the Air Force stationed at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. I was part of a "mobility" squadron whose mission was to provide transportable buildings and other facilities anywhere in the world on a moments notice. I remember my shop chief coming out to the hanger and asking my co-worker if he was ready to go to Florida. I couldn't believe our squadron was being tasked to go. My co-worker declined to go so my supervisor asked how soon I could be ready. About 2 hours later I had my bag packed and was sitting in the briefing. Myself and 27 other airmen from our squadron were briefed then loaded on a C-141 bound for Kennedy Space Center in Florida to erect an aircraft hanger in which to store the recovered pieces of the Challenger. The people of Titusville treated us like royalty. I will never forget the kindness we were shown.

From: Renae

I was 10 when the Challenger exploded, and it stands out in my mind as one of the most tragic events that I have ever witnessed. My teacher came in the classroom and told us that the space shuttle had exploded. We had an opened discussion about it to put our fears at rest. When my teacher asked us who died in the accident, we said "astronauts!" Then the teacher asked "who else died besides the astronaughts?" I, being a somewhat bright child, said "a teacher!" This is something that I won't soon forget. I'm sure that none of us will forget it. 6 astronauts and a civilian gone in a puff of smoke.

From: Celeste Keenan

I was 15 years old and I had the day off from school I was walking thru the Worc Galleria Looking in The Jordan Marsh Windows at the Tv When they were doing the count down, then I walked down the escalater to the lower level and saw the explosion as I approached the window of Radio Shack to see their tvs. Its a sight I will never forget.

From: Angela A

I was 10 when the Challenger space craft exploded. I don't remember very much about it except that my heart just sank. I knew that it wasn't just some scientists on board that ship that were killed but an innocent civilian was killed too. I was in my Special Ed class at Jesse Ketchum Public School, in Toronto, Canada when it happened and my teacher had told us the dreadful news and she asked us "who else was killed in that explosion besides the scientists", and I said, "a teacher!" It's a moment that no one in the world will soon forget!

From: Celeste Keenan

I remember the day the Challenger exploded. It was an awful day. I remember sitting in my classroom watching my teacher Ms. McAuliffe about to be launched into space. Of course I was very excited not even thinking of just how dangerous this launch really was. As I watched the rocket blow up with my teacher inside I burst into tears. I can still hear the sweet sound of her voice teaching in my head.

From: Lauren

I was watching it from my grammar school library and poof. It was all over. That afternoon, my father who was really into Aeronautics taped it off the news and we watched it together frame by frame and we noticed that the booster had a fuel leak in it just before it exploded. I remember thinking that we figured out what caused the accident before the news did.

From: Jonathan Finkel

I often think of the Challenger disaster. I was in elementary school when the accident occured. All of our teachers were making the students file into the lunch room to watch the launch of the space shuttle. I remember all of us counting down "T-MINUS 10 SECONDS AND COUNTING"9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 "IGNITION" "WE HAVE LIFT OFF" We had one television for the entire school to witness the event. I'll never forget the way the shuttle looked, the way that room looked, the way that television looked. It is a scene I will never forget. I remember Christa asking everyone to turn their porch lights on so she could see us from space. To your families, your friends and the countless people you inspired I have a poem. The lord graced the sky with the wing. THE Heavens once a thought, reach. I am smiling down, my light always shown We flew onward, upward into the unknown Hero's we have already become, immortal forever, seven rays of light. My porch light was on that night!

From: Tom McCutcheon

I didn't really remember this tragedy. Maybe because I was only 2 when it happened. But I just want to say I pray for the families every day now. The reasons I have these feelings is because I did a huge report on the accident, So I know how hard it was.

From: stephanie

I was only about 5 years old when Challenger went on it's brief and disasterous flight. I remember sitting at home on the floor watching the launch live on television. My mom had told me to keep my eye on the tv so I wouldn't miss anything, and she had gone into the other room to do something. I remember telling her it was on, and then saying "Mommy! The space ship split!" to which she replied "no it didn't, it doesn't split. Maybe you mean one of the fuel rockets." "No!" I insisted "it split in two!" she came in then and said "Oh my God. I don't think it was supposed to do that." The voice on the television sounded panicked and upset. Later, my mother became a teacher at the CHS: the high school Christa had worked at. I had economics in her old room, and every year we had a memorial on the day of the explosion. My mother taught Christa's daughter Carolyn for a few years. It was hard for everyone to see such a tragedy, but I can't imagine being in her daughter's shoes.

From: ali vaught scott

I was born in July of 1986 so, as you know I wasn't alive yet but my mom, my dad and my big sister were. My mom was pregnant with me at the time when she was watching the Challenger take off on January 28. She and my dad were watching it together I think. She felt devastated when it exploded. She told me that that was the reason that she worried about having children, that so many bad things happen in this world and she couldn't protect me from all of them. Now I am doing a research project on the Challenger and its crew. I felt so sad when I really got into the project and researched it. Rest in peace Challenger crew.

From: Brooke Sheeran

I was in the 6th grade at Bulter Middle School in Wenham, MA. We were in Math class waiting for Mrs. Peterson to come in and give us our weekly test. When she finally came in, I had noticed that her eyes were all puffy and red from crying. She told us to get all of our belongings and form a line to go to the gym because something has gone wrong with the Challenger. We get in the gym and sit down. The school had brought in four large t.v.'s for the launch. The teachers got to see it before us.. Mr. Driscoll walked in, grabbed a microphone and announced "We have some extremely tragic news. The Space shuttle has just exploded." We all sat there stunned with disbelief. I got all choked up and I couldn't and wouldn't belive it. The T.V.'s were turned on and all we kept on watching was the take off - we heard mission control say "throttle up" and then BOOM! the shuttle explodes... we watched this for about a half hour or so. Next thing I know there wasn't a dry face in the gym. Mr. Driscoll announced that we would be dismissed from school for the rest of the day. Come to find out, one of our Science teachers had been in the same program as Christa. It was depressing. I remember going outside and seeing my grandpa (papa) out side talking with our family friend Mike (who was a bus driver for the school system) and looking at me with this sad look on his face. We went home and I remember running into the house and hugging my grandma (nini) and crying. The three of us watched the whole thing over and over again. Nini tried to get me to watch cartoons that afternoon, but I didn't want to. I just wanted to see it happen - I wanted to make sure that it was real. It felt very imaginary to me. I kept on saying "No, it didnt happen, NASA is playing a joke on us." I also remember hearing the person at mission control sound so unfeeling (it sounded almost cruel) when he said "we have vehicle failure". This all happened when I was 12 going on 13. It's now almost 13 years later and I still remember everything to this day. This year around New Years, there were all these flashbacks to the last century and one of the "highlights" was the Challenger. As soon as they showed the whole clip, I cried my eyes out. It still gets to me and always will.....

From: Kim

I was in High School and had a part time job at a resteraunt. I had just closed and got out by 5:00 am so I slept in until noon. When I got up and turned on the television I saw one (of many) of the replays of the explosion. Dan Rather then came on and said, "In case you're just joining us here is the tragic news. The space shuttle Challenger exploded this morning and all seven astronauts are feared dead." I lived in Conyers, GA. at the time.

From: Daniel Biehl

Twentyfour years after the Challenger accident, I, a 26 year old danish boy, that is both a space exploration, cartoon and Jean Michel Jarre fan, sat by the internet and watched after people and their memories about the Challenger accident, and then I discovered 'I Remember Challenger', my favorite site about the Challenger catastrophe in 1986, where I was a kid, and I thought the explosion looked really nice, but some days after, I was really chocked, and still is. I lost two of my family members this year, including my favoritedog they owned. I will forever dedicate 'Always Near' from 'The Land Before Time 5', 'I Will Always Be With You' from 'All Dogs Go To Heaven 2' and of course, Jean Michel Jarre's 'Rendezvous Part 6' to the astronauts and their families.

From: Ulrik Raben

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