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In this photo from Jan. 9, 1986, the Challenger crew takes a break during countdown training at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Left to right are Teacher-in-Space payload specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe; payload specialist Gregory Jarvis; and astronauts Judith A. Resnik, mission specialist; Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, mission commander; Ronald E. McNair, mission specialist; Mike J. Smith, pilot; and Ellison S. Onizuka, mission specialist.  (NASA photo)

In this photo from Jan. 9, 1986, the Challenger crew takes a break during countdown training at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Left to right are Teacher-in-Space payload specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe; payload specialist Gregory Jarvis; and astronauts Judith A. Resnik, mission specialist; Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, mission commander; Ronald E. McNair, mission specialist; Mike J. Smith, pilot; and Ellison S. Onizuka, mission specialist. (NASA photo)

NASA logoCape Canaveral, Fla. — Do you remember where you were 30 years ago Thursday, Jan. 28, when the space shuttle Challenger blew up?
This writer does. I was watching on that icy cold Florida morning as the shuttle blew up right in front of me. I was on the fair grounds at West Palm Beach, about 140 miles south of Cape Canaveral. We were all waiting for the shuttle to launch. It launched, and suddenly became an uneven fireball spewing black pieces of metal down into the ocean and became a thing of horror as it disintegrated in front of our eyes.
It took several minutes to realize what had happened. That Challenger had blown up, and the astronauts died in that fireball.
What could have gone wrong? What happened? It was very simple, really. Floridians are not used to cold. It had been 28 degrees — and the O rings had frozen, not been checked, and disaster struck.
There were seven astronauts on the crew. There were five men and two women who risked it all to touch the stars.
Look at their picture; give them a passing thought.
To view a video of the takeoff and explosion, click HERE.
Caroll Lucas
The Challenger

The Challenger

Challenger liftoff

Challenger liftoff

The Challenger explosion

The Challenger explosion

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