28 degrees, astronauts, blew up, blown up, Cape Canaveral FL, Challenger, Christa McAuliffe, cold morning, crew, died in fireball, disaster, disintegrated, Ellison S. Onizuka, explosion, fireball, Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Gregory Jarvis, I watched it, Jan. 28 1986, Judith A. Resnik, launch, liftoff, Mike J. Smith, NASA, O rings frozen, photo, risked all to touch the stars, Ronald E. McNair, seven brave astronauts, Space Shuttle Challenger, West Palm Beach fairgrounds, West Palm Beach FL, where were you?
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