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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Jan. 28, 1986: Challenger disaster plays out on live TV

The excitement lasted only 73 seconds.

On January 28, 1986, 1 minute and 13 seconds after liftoff, space shuttle Challenger exploded as thousands watched the launch in person and on television. All seven astronauts on board were killed.

It became one of the most iconic live breaking news events in television history.

"This is one of the first big ones," said Stacey Schulman, a media analyst with Katz Television Group. "It is one of those moments, particularly for the current generation, where they say 'where were you when?'"



Anonymous said...

Not intending to be rude, just enlightening what many of us believe... The vast majority of us DID NOT SEE the Challenger blow up LIVE.

All of the public schools around here were closed because of snow. There was only 2 places that broadcast the explosion live. Those at school elsewhere or at home who had a satellite dish and were turned into NASA TV. Or those with Cable/Satellite with CNN (which was very few back in 1986).

The rest of us may have WATCHED THE LAUNCH LIVE - but all of the broadcast channels CBS NBC ABC had all switched away from video of the shuttle itself because it was 73 seconds after launch, and they were doing commentary etc, not showing live video.

That image of it exploding is from the tape delayed replay after replay after replay later - not as it happened.

Anonymous said...

Where was I? At Goddard supporting Hubble and the Teacher in Space program. Like I, a lot of people were out rather quickly looking for another job. Hubble was delayed (launch) years and the Teacher program was shut down.

If you didn't see it when it happened and want to, just click on:

Anonymous said...

I was in the Navy stationed In Mayport Florida. The shuttles had become routine, however we could always observe the plumes from the shipyard during launches. That morning I was working inside the ship when we heard of the explosion on the TVNews. We all ran outside and witnessed the infamous smoke plumes. It was awful and sad day. The first civilian in space died. I now work at Wallops.

Anonymous said...

USN San Diego. Didn't see it live, but many replays afterward....still the same.

Ben in Wicomico County said...

I was driving to my dad's house between classes when I heard it on the radio, I told him when I got there and we just stared at each other for a moment.

Anonymous said...

In March that year I was down in Florida hitting the flea markets and they had fragments of the Challenger for sale.
Small dime size pieces of heat tile, honeycomb aluminum skin pieces, orange fabric from spacesuits. I bought a piece of the tile.

Anonymous said...

In labor.