Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

On January 28, 1986, the American Space Shuttle Challenger launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida on its 10th mission. It exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, bringing a devastating end to the spacecraft. The disaster claimed the lives of all seven astronauts onboard, including a teacher from New Hampshire who had been selected to join the mission and teach lessons from space to schoolchildren around the country, Christa McAuliffe.

An investigation found that the two rubber O-rings, which were designed to separate the sections of the rocket booster, failed due to bad weather, very cold Florida temperature on the morning of the launch.

Below is a selection of photos from the Associated Press archive that documents the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. 


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