Stranger Fruit

Twenty years tomorrow

On January 28th 1986, the shuttle Challenger broke up 73 seconds into its tenth mission. Here James Oberg demolishes seven myths about the Challenger tragedy – including the idea that millions of people saw the “explosion” (and the reason for quotes will become obvious if you read the article) live on television. I was a freshman in college at the time. The flight started at 11:08 EST – just after four in the afternoon in Ireland and I remember watching the launch on CNN which, as Oberg notes, was the only channel that was showing the event live.

While some of Oberg’s points were not news to me, I had not realized that the “[t]he flight, and the astronauts’ lives, did not end at that point, 73 seconds after launch. After Challenger was torn apart, the pieces continued upward from their own momentum, reaching a peak altitude of 65,000 ft before arching back down into the water. The cabin hit the surface 2 minutes and 45 seconds after breakup, and all investigations indicate the crew was still alive until then.”

Technorati Tags: ,

Comments

  1. #1 Dave S.
    January 27, 2006

    While some of Oberg’s points were not news to me, I had not realized that the “[t]he flight, and the astronauts’ lives, did not end at that point, 73 seconds after launch.

    I was aware of this, although it certainly was not then or now made prominant in the news. It was an unwritten rule that nobody talked about that.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.