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(WTKR)   Man sorting through old box in grandparents' house finds never before seen pics of the Challenger disaster, blasting subby right back to his fourth-grade classroom. Where were you older Farkers that day? (with the pics)   (wtkr.com) divider line 309
    More: Sad, Challenger, space shuttles, Challenger disasters, Bill Rendle, Christa McAuliffe, grandparents, Michael Hindes  
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13096 clicks; posted to Main » on 18 Jan 2014 at 8:36 AM (49 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



309 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-01-18 07:02:43 AM  
I was at work.  Passing by the breakroom where a television was on 24/7 (manufacturing plant).
I was the only one there to see.  Broke my heart.
 
2014-01-18 07:38:07 AM  
I was sitting in Computer Science class, senior year of High School. When the announcement came of the disaster, and the teacher asked if we knew anything about this particular mission, I was the only student in class that knew a teacher was among the crew.

My CS class was full of morons.
 
2014-01-18 07:57:27 AM  

MmmmBacon: I was sitting in Computer Science class, senior year of High School. When the announcement came of the disaster, and the teacher asked if we knew anything about this particular mission, I was the only student in class that knew a teacher was among the crew.


I had just finished my grade 12 English exam and was heading home for lunch when I heard it in the car.

/Grad '86 represent
 
2014-01-18 08:12:12 AM  
I was late for school (sophomore year), at my best friend Gina's house, watching the launch while putting on our makeup. I don't even remember if we ever made it to school that day.
 
2014-01-18 08:15:09 AM  
Was working plainclothes security for Macy's and wandered over to Electronics to watch the launch (it was a slow day). When the few of us there realized what we had just witnessed, it was like we all went numb. Within a few hours, nearly the entire store was empty, except for the employees. A very sad day.
 
2014-01-18 08:17:42 AM  
My boss told me as I walked into the shop that morning

/I thought he was joking
 
2014-01-18 08:20:36 AM  
I was a teenager, watching it live, unprepared for it to get sickening.

I remember what seemed like a rather long time when I was thinking "ummm....this...seems very wrong...." but the commentators weren't really saying much.

Later I would watch the events of 9/11 unfold live on tv from beginning to end, and despite the obvious differences I'm left with this sense of a farked-up set of bookends.
 
2014-01-18 08:21:08 AM  
I was a junior in HS pulling a Ferris Bueller, though without the good times and quirky soundtrack.  I turned on the TV after finally getting up, saw the news and sat there the rest of the day.
 
2014-01-18 08:26:17 AM  
What really brought it home for me was when I got home from school that afternoon, and saw the announcement on MTV that they were immediately retiring the hourly "Moonman" intro. That may seem kinda weird, but it brought home the enormity of the event, that this quite literally changed things forever. Our space program during my lifetime (born in 68) had been mostly a model of efficiency and safety, especially the Shuttle program. That was over, and our country and in some ways the world hasn't been the same since.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-01-18 08:27:31 AM  
I was playing piano in the living room while my family huddled at the other end of the house with the TV. So I missed it live but saw the replays about as often as I got to see the Tacoma Narrows Bridge video in a series of science and engineering classes.

If you remember Challenger, you also remember a time when you could not watch any video in the history of video with a mouse click. You had to wait for replays on TV. You had to wait for the projector to be rolled into class and the teacher to order the film. You had to have a blank tape ready and hit record at the right time (not valid with Macrovision-protected video inputs).
 
2014-01-18 08:39:32 AM  
I was driving to work, second-shift, and heard about it on the radio. Very little was done that evening.
 
2014-01-18 08:41:51 AM  
Remember how they had kindergartners from around the country watching the launch on live TV? 'Cause I sure as shiat remember.
 
2014-01-18 08:42:10 AM  
It was my day off, and I celebrated with a wake-n-bake, so it was very unreal.
 
2014-01-18 08:43:32 AM  
Brave people died that day.

CFB Summerside PEI.
 
2014-01-18 08:43:43 AM  
I was 1 1/2, so likely playing with toys or watching Fraggle Rock or something.
 
2014-01-18 08:44:24 AM  
sophomore in high school just leaving lunch to go back to class when the news went through the cafeteria quickly.  they had a radio in the school store so I went down to listen and confirm what was up.
 
2014-01-18 08:44:26 AM  
I was in second grade, and we were all a little upset that we didn't get to see the shuttle launch. We'd been hearing about this "teacher in space" for over a year, but we weren't going to see it happen. Then during recess we starting picking up on a vibe from the teachers that "something" had happened to the shuttle. We were kids, so we had all sorts of theories, including UFOs and the like. The teachers weren't really saying anything. Now, it was a private, religious school, so suddenly we were all herded into the chapel for a special prayer service. That's when we learned what had happened. When I got home, I finally got to see the footage. Because it was on every channel, and that meant I didn't get to see my cartoons that day.
 
2014-01-18 08:45:31 AM  
  I watched it live not sure what I was seeing.
 
2014-01-18 08:45:48 AM  
I was in first grade, but I watched it at home.  When I happened, I thought "This is a big deal" so I grabbed a polaroid camera and took an entire cartridge's worth of photos of the TV.
 
2014-01-18 08:45:48 AM  
Sophomore year, geometry class.  We were watching it live on TV.

Say what you want about Reagan, but he delivered his "surly bonds of earth" speech masterfully afterwards.
 
2014-01-18 08:46:09 AM  
I was in my 5th grade class taught by Mr. Griffin.
 
2014-01-18 08:46:11 AM  
Electronics class in HS.  The principal announced it over the intercom and my electronics teacher cried...crusty shop teacher type.  Not boo-hoo but taking off glasses to wipe tears...I'll never forget that.
 
2014-01-18 08:47:50 AM  
I was a college junior, and was in a class when it happened.  Got back to my dorm room and turned on the TV just as news coverage was starting to ramp up.
 
2014-01-18 08:48:24 AM  
Rounding at the VA hospital in Wichita. One of those truly unbelievable moments. I remember seeing the first images and thinking we were just seeing the boosters separate and the shuttle was not in that huge gas ball. Took a while for it to sink in.

Interesting, most of us who remember seeing broadcasts from that day recall seeing it on live TV. But that shuttle launch was one of the first not broadcast on network television and most of us saw replays.
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/11031097/ns/technology_and_science-space/t /m yths-about-challenger-shuttle-disaster/#.UtqFmUbnbIU
 
2014-01-18 08:48:27 AM  
At home, working on my resume (on an IBM Selectric Typewriter) and job applications. Looking at "Want Ads" in a thing called a "newspaper." Going to real buildings with real people submitting job applications, and having something different to converse about for about a week.
 
2014-01-18 08:48:31 AM  
I was a high school junior standing in line at lunch. We hadn't seen footage so there were rumors of the shuttle intact and floating in the Atlantic.

/nope.
//yes, I know. Thank you.
 
2014-01-18 08:49:08 AM  
Darmstadt, Germany 94th (combat heavy) Engineer Battalion
 
2014-01-18 08:49:10 AM  
In college. Kid across the hall came over and said it blew up. Nobody believed him.
 
2014-01-18 08:49:20 AM  
I was about 7 years old, and I remember knowing that a teacher was on board. Being so young, I have to ask the older Farkers, was it pretty standard for people to make a point to watch shuttle launches? I don't remember ever watching shuttle launches after that (probably for good reason). But it seems like a lot of people were looking forward to this launch. Was it because this one had a civilian or was it pretty standard to get this excited about a launch?
 
2014-01-18 08:49:52 AM  
I don't remember
 
2014-01-18 08:50:50 AM  
I was at home sick from school that day. I turned on the TV to watch the launch and was stunned and confused about what happened.
 
2014-01-18 08:51:01 AM  
7 dead.... 0 held accountable.


NASA repeated the trick of knowingly killing 7 when they returned Columbia.
 
2014-01-18 08:51:19 AM  
I was in my forth grade class. Didn't see it happen, sixth graders saw it.
 
2014-01-18 08:52:24 AM  
I was in bed with the flu.
No school = no t.v. rule was overlooked that day.
 
2014-01-18 08:53:04 AM  

Maturin: Rounding at the VA hospital in Wichita. One of those truly unbelievable moments. I remember seeing the first images and thinking we were just seeing the boosters separate and the shuttle was not in that huge gas ball. Took a while for it to sink in.

Interesting, most of us who remember seeing broadcasts from that day recall seeing it on live TV. But that shuttle launch was one of the first not broadcast on network television and most of us saw replays.
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/11031097/ns/technology_and_science-space/t /m yths-about-challenger-shuttle-disaster/#.UtqFmUbnbIU


That's right. I was listening to the radio. They covered up until it cleared the pad, then had to break back in when everyone realized something had gone wrong. We were reminded that day, as we were 17 years later, that manned space flight is still something of an R&D program.
 
2014-01-18 08:53:10 AM  
I was 25, and I'm still alive.  I was getting in my truck to head out to an auction.  Missed the auction of course.
 
2014-01-18 08:54:21 AM  
A friend and I had just left his apartment to head out to the mall when a young teen we considered pretty damn stupid ran up and told us that the space shuttle had just blown up. We shrugged it off and continued on our way. When we arrived at the mall the CMC (tv / stereo store) near the entrance had tvs in the front window, needless to say the replays were on and we spent the next hour in shock.
 
2014-01-18 08:55:29 AM  
I was at work and a friend of mine came up to my desk to tell me the mission had blown up seconds after liftoff.  After a prolonged silence, I realized there was no punch line and I felt awful the rest of the day.
 
2014-01-18 08:55:34 AM  
I was living in Chile, and something caught my eye as I walked past the newsstand.  I stopped, bought a paper and learned of it that way.  I still have that paper.
 
2014-01-18 08:58:19 AM  
11th grade Oceanography class. They wheeled in a tv and we watched the coverage right after it happened.

For 9/11, getting ready for work and just out of shower, Howard Stern on radio with TV on mute. Drying off and see TV is covering some skyscraper that has smoke coming out of it. I turn the tv up and they're talking about a plane hitting and as they say this I watch the second plane hit.

For Red Wedding, was in tub and crapped self. Had to then take shower - shower of tears. :(
 
2014-01-18 09:00:44 AM  
I was in 8th grade, having lunch. My social studies teacher came up to us and told us that the shuttle had exploded. We thought he was joking with us.

When the principal got on the PA system to tell everyone the news, afterwards, you could hear a pin drop in the school.
 
2014-01-18 09:01:52 AM  
Sophomore, U of Oregon School of Music.
Came back from class and my roomies are sayin'

"OMG the shuttle blew-up ! "
 
2014-01-18 09:02:29 AM  
I was in 4th grade. My principal came into the classroom, pulled the teacher aside, and then almost immediately the teacher gasped and burst into tears. Throughout the day all of the adults looked sad beyond words. Not of them told us, though. Not one. The principal decided that a noteworthy historical event wasn't worth losing two class periods in the afternoon.

I came home and my dad was watching the coverage. I was stunned beyond words. The sad thing is, because I know what actually happened and why, with the additional knowledge that they didn't die until they hit the water, I'm still stunned. It was my first encounter with the casual, callous nature of government. but not my last.
 
2014-01-18 09:02:54 AM  
Fourth grade, watched it live.  Our school was small enough that we watched it with fifth graders.  I still remember when the shuttle blew up, the announcer saying: obviously, a major malfunction.  Even at that age, I remember thinking: no shiat.
 
2014-01-18 09:03:15 AM  

Unobtanium: That's right. I was listening to the radio. They covered up until it cleared the pad, then had to break back in when everyone realized something had gone wrong. We were reminded that day, as we were 17 years later, that manned space flight is still something of an R&D program


I still find it astonishing.  25-30 years ago manned space flight was in its infancy and the nation was captivated every time a launch occurred.  There was so much promise.  Now, the US doesn't even have a manned spaceflight program and no one even knows when missions launch.

Sad.
 
2014-01-18 09:04:42 AM  
Laying on the couch nursing a hangover and watching a shiatty game show.  I don't remember the show, but I do remember I had solve the clue (WHALES), but the idiot contestants had not.

A "news break" broke in, and the news casters where like "It appears there has been a malfunction on the Space shuttle, we are told it happens at 1:xx on the video".  Then they show the video, starting with the shuttle on the pad.  I don't think the newscaster even knew what the "malfunction" was until it happend
 
2014-01-18 09:04:51 AM  
I'm not old, dammit!!! F*CK YOU!!

...

and I don't remember. I have a vague memory of watching it in the school library but I think it was a recording of it. Not live. In retrospect that's kind of weird isn't it? Huh.
 
2014-01-18 09:05:05 AM  
6th grade, watching live in class. I made a stupid 6th grader comment, then realized what I'd said. Learned to think before speaking that day, at least a little bit.
 
2014-01-18 09:05:59 AM  
As a freshman member of the A/V club, I was in the library recording the broadcast for the teachers to use later that morning.  Watched it all live.
 
vpc
2014-01-18 09:06:25 AM  

Fabric_Man: Remember how they had kindergartners from around the country watching the launch on live TV? 'Cause I sure as shiat remember.


Me too except I was in first grade.
 
2014-01-18 09:06:46 AM  
Second grade, in lunch. We returned to the classroom where we watched replays...
 
2014-01-18 09:06:52 AM  
Second grade. Like most school kids around the country, we were being shown the launch live because of the teacher on board. I don't remember the teachers'reactions all that clearly, but I remember it wasn't a good time.
 
2014-01-18 09:07:08 AM  
Watched it live in my 2nd grade classroom...I really thought this was going to be the "where were you when" moment of my generation, then 9/11 happened...
 
2014-01-18 09:08:04 AM  

Fabric_Man: Remember how they had kindergartners from around the country watching the launch on live TV? 'Cause I sure as shiat remember.


pretty sure i was in one of those classes.  or it was first grade.  yup.
 
2014-01-18 09:08:30 AM  
I was delivering mail on a rural route, at box 273.  You can deliver mail the remainder of the day in tears, but it is more difficult.
 
2014-01-18 09:08:46 AM  
Walking into AP Biology, 9th grade, McCallum High School, Austin, Texas.
 
2014-01-18 09:09:03 AM  
My first wedding anniversary with my first husband had been two days earlier. He'd driven to work and I had the launch on the tee and vee.

I called him after it happened.

"The Challenger blew up."

"Oh yeah? And?" he says, sure I'm telling a joke because as it turned out, he was a mean stupid a&&hole

"This isn't a joke. If anybody there has a television, go turn it on."

I don't remember much else about that day.
 
2014-01-18 09:09:06 AM  
Freshman year at boarding school, I was from Florida but one idiot kid from NYC became obsessed by it, tape-recorded the NPR broadcasts and played them back over and over. The next year he was my roommate, bought a 45 single of "Tequila" by the Champs and played it over and over. Idiot.
 
2014-01-18 09:11:35 AM  
I missed it because I had late classes that day at college. Found out when I turned ob the TV before I left for campus.  Never saw a major university campus that quiet.


Oh, and:

OnlyM3: 7 dead.... 0 held accountable.

NASA repeated the trick of knowingly killing 7 when they returned Columbia.


Go fark yourself.
 
2014-01-18 09:11:57 AM  
7th grade parochial school. Only other time class was stopped to watch TV was when Reagan was shot. I remember there was a debate in class to whether or not the astronauts and teachers were heroes or not, that anyone would jump at the chance to fly in a spaceship and they were not risking their lives to save somoene else.
 
2014-01-18 09:13:14 AM  

Adolf Oliver Nipples: I was in 4th grade. My principal came into the classroom, pulled the teacher aside, and then almost immediately the teacher gasped and burst into tears. Throughout the day all of the adults looked sad beyond words. Not of them told us, though. Not one. The principal decided that a noteworthy historical event wasn't worth losing two class periods in the afternoon.

I came home and my dad was watching the coverage. I was stunned beyond words. The sad thing is, because I know what actually happened and why, with the additional knowledge that they didn't die until they hit the water, I'm still stunned. It was my first encounter with the casual, callous nature of government. but not my last.


Wait. You take the fact that faculty at an elementary school weren't immediately prepared to deal with the biggest national tragedy since the Kennedy assassination as evidence of the callous nature of government? What the actual fark, man?
 
2014-01-18 09:13:47 AM  
Sixth grade. Between classes or right around lunch, another kid came up to me in the hall and said, "Did you know there are dead people floating in space?"

Not cool.
 
2014-01-18 09:13:53 AM  
Where was I? A place that I don't like revisiting, but I get dragged back to every time I come across something like this. It's right next to 9/11 Place, and a bit down the street from "she's been in an accident. I'm heading to the hospital now".

Fark.
 
2014-01-18 09:14:28 AM  
I was in my cube at Singer-Link Flight Simulation Division working on the next shuttle flght when the word came out to go to the media room. It was very quiet in the room while the NASA feed was on. As a kid, I lived next door to one of the Apollo 1 astronauts and it seemed a little too familiar.
 
2014-01-18 09:16:16 AM  

drgloryboy: 7th grade parochial school. Only other time class was stopped to watch TV was when Reagan was shot. I remember there was a debate in class to whether or not the astronauts and teachers were heroes or not, that anyone would jump at the chance to fly in a spaceship and they were not risking their lives to save somoene else.


What a weird time for a debate like that, especially from a child's perspective safely on the ground.
 
2014-01-18 09:17:37 AM  

EZ1923: Adolf Oliver Nipples: I was in 4th grade. My principal came into the classroom, pulled the teacher aside, and then almost immediately the teacher gasped and burst into tears. Throughout the day all of the adults looked sad beyond words. Not of them told us, though. Not one. The principal decided that a noteworthy historical event wasn't worth losing two class periods in the afternoon.

I came home and my dad was watching the coverage. I was stunned beyond words. The sad thing is, because I know what actually happened and why, with the additional knowledge that they didn't die until they hit the water, I'm still stunned. It was my first encounter with the casual, callous nature of government. but not my last.

Wait. You take the fact that faculty at an elementary school weren't immediately prepared to deal with the biggest national tragedy since the Kennedy assassination as evidence of the callous nature of government? What the actual fark, man?


No, I was referring to the fact that they launched with the knowledge that the shuttle had a substantial possibility of blowing up.

Paragraph breaks mean different thoughts.
 
2014-01-18 09:18:14 AM  
Thanks, Subby. Maybe you'd like to give me a nice papercut and squeeze some lemon into it.

Not CSB:

So, fifth grade, teacher had a TV set up in the room so we could all watch along for the liftoff. Don't remember exactly, but the teacher either knew or had met McAuliffe, and was very excited. We were all told how important this mission would be, and how it showed anyone could become an astronaut.

The kicker was after liftoff when the actual explosion took place, the teacher was over at her desk and didn't immediately see what happened. We (being dumbass fifth graders) didn't know what happened, and started chattering and shouting at each other.

I still remember how pale our teacher looked, as she turned off the TV and told us to wait there in a broken voice. She left, and a it later, our assistant principal came to our class with a substitute for the rest of the day.

I'd experienced death before from grandparents and pets, but it was the first time to actually see a tragedy and know that those people were dead from it. Godspeed to Challenger and Columbia.
 
2014-01-18 09:18:37 AM  
I would have been 5, in kindergarten.  I have no memories of that day, though of course I've since watched the news as it happened.
 
2014-01-18 09:19:13 AM  
I don't remember where I was when it happened, though I'm sure I was in school.  My strongest memories are all of the drawings and the letter my friend and I wrote to NASA for the launch of Discovery afterward.

NASA sent us both a hand-written note and an absolute TON of stuff back.
 
2014-01-18 09:19:33 AM  
I was 14 and had stayed home from school that day...in an otherwise very busy home, I found myself all alone watching tv.
Watched the entire thing unfold live sitting in my Dads rocker.

Very sad and very lonely day I will never forget.
 
2014-01-18 09:19:33 AM  

Adolf Oliver Nipples: I was in 4th grade. My principal came into the classroom, pulled the teacher aside, and then almost immediately the teacher gasped and burst into tears. Throughout the day all of the adults looked sad beyond words. Not of them told us, though. Not one. The principal decided that a noteworthy historical event wasn't worth losing two class periods in the afternoon.

I came home and my dad was watching the coverage. I was stunned beyond words. The sad thing is, because I know what actually happened and why, with the additional knowledge that they didn't die until they hit the water, I'm still stunned. It was my first encounter with the casual, callous nature of government. but not my last.


I was working in an office, listening to the radio, and hoping they survived by splashing down into water.  Much later, Lewis Grizzard wrote an editorial for the Atlanta Journal, and actually used a profanity that got printed in full about the revelation that the astronauts survived the blast.  And then when the Columbia disaster came along years later, I felt the exact same way Lewis felt.  Sons of biatches knew, dammit.
 
2014-01-18 09:21:15 AM  

Bedstead Polisher: I was about 7 years old, and I remember knowing that a teacher was on board. Being so young, I have to ask the older Farkers, was it pretty standard for people to make a point to watch shuttle launches? I don't remember ever watching shuttle launches after that (probably for good reason). But it seems like a lot of people were looking forward to this launch. Was it because this one had a civilian or was it pretty standard to get this excited about a launch?


The Shuttle was amazing because it took off and landed sort of like an airplane. Before the Shuttle, astronauts had to splashdown in the ocean and be picked up.

I remember the first Shuttle landing. We cried with pride at the advances scientists had made over the old days. A space vehicle that could take off and land with such ease...

I remember watching the Moonwalk. Dad had bought a color tv because it was such an occasion. The moon landing was televised in black and white!

Many people watched the Challenger take-off because of the teacher on board. She was the first non-professional astronaut. She was one of us, just plain folks, going on a fantastic adventure. I recall lots of schools having assemblies so kids could watch the First Teacher in Space.

I recall watching most of the Apollo launches, but only those two shuttles...the very first landing and the Challenger.
 
2014-01-18 09:21:44 AM  
I was working nights and sleeping in days covering a paramedic shift at the local Volunteer Fire Department. My driver woke me up to tell me that it had happened and spent most of the morning watching the coverage.

As for Columbia, I was driving cross country and was at the Iowa 80 truckstop for breakfast and heard it on the TV they had going there.
 
2014-01-18 09:23:01 AM  
9th grade library, they herded us in there to watch what must have been one of the replays.

Chemguy: I was living in Chile, and something caught my eye as I walked past the newsstand.  I stopped, bought a paper and learned of it that way.  I still have that paper.


Wow, what a way to find out. I still have the Columbia paper.
 
2014-01-18 09:24:12 AM  
10th grade watching it live in class. We all just sat there stunned
 
x23
2014-01-18 09:24:16 AM  
i was in 3rd grade.

before school i was arguing with my mom forever because she refused to let me bring this new Transformers triple-charger i got. when she wasn't looking i snuck it into my backpack anyway.

i was playing with it at school before the bell rang. was still playing with it few minutes into the school day they made the announcement on the PA.

the triple changer would transform between a robot / train / and this...

static.seibertron.com
 
2014-01-18 09:25:30 AM  
I was passing through the student union while attending college at University Of Michigan-Flint. I paused to watch the launch... everybody was stunned
 
2014-01-18 09:25:31 AM  
A friend of mine ran into our classroom crying after having gone to the bathroom. We were in a "trailer" classroom since our school was a little overcrowded.

We all walked outside and looked up at the sky to the east and knew something was wrong by the trail.

/10th grade social studies
// Oviedo Florida
 
2014-01-18 09:27:30 AM  
Was at work, heard about it on the radio. What I remember most of that day is my foreman saying something to the effect of "serves them right". He was a bit of a jerk.
 
2014-01-18 09:30:13 AM  
A little older than you, subs. I was in 7th grade and was getting my braces adjusted.  I heard about it on the radio when Mom was bringing me back from the orthodontist.
 
2014-01-18 09:30:34 AM  

Bedstead Polisher: I was about 7 years old, and I remember knowing that a teacher was on board. Being so young, I have to ask the older Farkers, was it pretty standard for people to make a point to watch shuttle launches? I don't remember ever watching shuttle launches after that (probably for good reason). But it seems like a lot of people were looking forward to this launch. Was it because this one had a civilian or was it pretty standard to get this excited about a launch?



By then, no it was not. In fact the "teacher in space" angle was a publicity stunt to try and rekindle interest in the program because they were starting to get common.
 
2014-01-18 09:30:52 AM  

jfarkinB: Where was I? A place that I don't like revisiting, but I get dragged back to every time I come across something like this. It's right next to 9/11 Place, and a bit down the street from "she's been in an accident. I'm heading to the hospital now".

Fark.


Internet hug.
 
2014-01-18 09:33:29 AM  
College in Texas. But as sad as it is, I have no memories of the event. Don't know how I found out or where exactly I was. I was too distracted by my college years I suppose.
 
2014-01-18 09:34:47 AM  
We had off from school, and my tv show was interrupted
 
2014-01-18 09:37:08 AM  
Just a kid in a classroom, I think about 5th grade. One of my earliest memories.
 
2014-01-18 09:38:45 AM  
Heard someone say at work that the Challenger blew up and thought they were talking about my car.
 
2014-01-18 09:39:21 AM  

x23: i was in 3rd grade.

before school i was arguing with my mom forever because she refused to let me bring this new Transformers triple-charger i got. when she wasn't looking i snuck it into my backpack anyway.

i was playing with it at school before the bell rang. was still playing with it few minutes into the school day they made the announcement on the PA.

the triple changer would transform between a robot / train / and this...


I had that triple changer :-)
 
2014-01-18 09:40:06 AM  

Limeyluv: Bedstead Polisher: I was about 7 years old, and I remember knowing that a teacher was on board. Being so young, I have to ask the older Farkers, was it pretty standard for people to make a point to watch shuttle launches? I don't remember ever watching shuttle launches after that (probably for good reason). But it seems like a lot of people were looking forward to this launch. Was it because this one had a civilian or was it pretty standard to get this excited about a launch?

The Shuttle was amazing because it took off and landed sort of like an airplane. Before the Shuttle, astronauts had to splashdown in the ocean and be picked up.

I remember the first Shuttle landing. We cried with pride at the advances scientists had made over the old days. A space vehicle that could take off and land with such ease...

I remember watching the Moonwalk. Dad had bought a color tv because it was such an occasion. The moon landing was televised in black and white!

Many people watched the Challenger take-off because of the teacher on board. She was the first non-professional astronaut. She was one of us, just plain folks, going on a fantastic adventure. I recall lots of schools having assemblies so kids could watch the First Teacher in Space.

I recall watching most of the Apollo launches, but only those two shuttles...the very first landing and the Challenger.


Thanks. These days there are so few "new" things, and the internet has made it so that everything has been done already. Makes you feel kind of jaded. Probably the last "historic moment" that people got excited about was Obama's inauguration, at least that I can think of.
 
2014-01-18 09:40:37 AM  
I was in 7th grade algebra class when....no wait, that is where I was when we heard Kennedy was shot. THAT is the one I will always remember. The day Challenger blew up was just another day at work.
Went home at noon and watched the replays of the explosion all through lunch. Sad day.
 
2014-01-18 09:41:37 AM  
I was in high school, junior year, when I heard what had happened.  Spent most of the day stunned.
 
2014-01-18 09:43:29 AM  
Watched it live with my 3rd grade class. I do not remember the explosion all I can recall is my teachers uncontrolled sobbing. None of us kids knew what to do. I have only felt that level of true helplessness on one other occasion, that of watching my father telling His father it was OK to let go...

 I would wish that feeling on no one.

    I would later learn that she had been in the running to be a Teacher in space. After that I was never sure if they were tears of grief or relief.
 
2014-01-18 09:44:11 AM  
I was about a year old, so I don't remember.

I remember what I was doing when I heard about Columbia, but that was barely a year after 9/11, so I don't think it will get to "where were you" status among national tragedies.
 
2014-01-18 09:45:53 AM  
Grade 6... watching live at school for science class....
 
2014-01-18 09:47:10 AM  
Sophomore in college.  Walked into the student lounge and saw the tv just after the fireball and all I saw were the 'horns' of the boosters.  I thought, "that doesn't look right"
 
2014-01-18 09:48:39 AM  
I was in 5th grade. My class wasn't watching but another class was. One of the other teachers came in to our room and told my teacher what had happened loud enough for the kids in the front to hear and when it got back to me in the back of the class, being a huge NASA fanboy and 10 year old "expert" on these things, I told the kid in the next seat that he'd heard wrong and that the challenger blowing up was impossible.

I also remember that one of the 5th grade teachers had had a dream the night before that it had blown up and everyone thought it was creepy and pre-cognitive, though in fairness in 5th grade you don't know anything about probability.

Also remember very vividly all the horrid jokes we told:

What does NASA stand for? Need Another Seven Astronauts

Where was Christa McAuliffe's last vacation? All over Florida?

What was Christa McAuliffe's last words to her husband? "You feed the dog, I'll feed the fish"

/A paychiatrist would say that Gallows Humor is an appropriate coping mechanism for tragedy

//I just think 10 year old boys are insensitive little jerks

///at least I was a jerk in the 80s and was allowed to mature into a functional adult. In 2014, my 10 year old self would be sent to sensitivity training and receive death threats after being outed and shamed on Gawker or jezebel for making cracks like that.
 
2014-01-18 09:48:45 AM  

Fabric_Man: Remember how they had kindergartners from around the country watching the launch on live TV? 'Cause I sure as shiat remember.


I was in kindergarten at the time; I don't remember anything of it or my parents saying anything.  Then again, my dad told me I once witnessed a plane crash at an air show some time around that age and I don't remember that either.
 
2014-01-18 09:48:46 AM  

dajoro: 11th grade Oceanography class. They wheeled in a tv and we watched the coverage right after it happened.

For 9/11, getting ready for work and just out of shower, Howard Stern on radio with TV on mute. Drying off and see TV is covering some skyscraper that has smoke coming out of it. I turn the tv up and they're talking about a plane hitting and as they say this I watch the second plane hit.

For Red Wedding, was in tub and crapped self. Had to then take shower - shower of tears. :(


Don't read books, huh?
 
2014-01-18 09:49:46 AM  
Senior year of college, majoring in aerospace engineering, coming back from class.  One of my suitemates yelled out the window that the shuttle had exploded.  Ran up and watched for a while, then had to go to another class.  Spent the afternoon in a lecture hall with a few aero majors and our propulsion professor watching the replays and trying to figure out what happened.

Later, my landlord was Judy Resnick's cousin.
 
2014-01-18 09:51:18 AM  
Where was I that day? Updating my 'What do I want to be when I grow up?" list.


1. Cowboy
2. Astronaut
3. Football Player
4. Porn star

Actually I was 8 years old, in the 3rd grade, and quite sad when it happened... I really did want to be an astronaut, even won the science fair that year with my Solar System project...
 
2014-01-18 09:51:52 AM  
On the West Coast, I was just getting out of bed. Heard the news on the clock-radio.

As has been said, the shuttle launches had become so routine for the general public that this launch wasn't broadcast live by the networks.

CSB
I got a job at NASA the following year, so I was there when flights resumed. Job not Shuttle related, but I did get a pass to watch the landing of the shuttle at Edwards.

/CSB
 
2014-01-18 09:53:25 AM  

painless42: I was in 5th grade. My class wasn't watching but another class was. One of the other teachers came in to our room and told my teacher what had happened loud enough for the kids in the front to hear and when it got back to me in the back of the class, being a huge NASA fanboy and 10 year old "expert" on these things, I told the kid in the next seat that he'd heard wrong and that the challenger blowing up was impossible.


Strictly speaking, you were right. The Challenger didn't explode. It was torn apart by excessive loads.
 
2014-01-18 09:54:54 AM  

painless42: I was in 5th grade. My class wasn't watching but another class was. One of the other teachers came in to our room and told my teacher what had happened loud enough for the kids in the front to hear and when it got back to me in the back of the class, being a huge NASA fanboy and 10 year old "expert" on these things, I told the kid in the next seat that he'd heard wrong and that the challenger blowing up was impossible.

I also remember that one of the 5th grade teachers had had a dream the night before that it had blown up and everyone thought it was creepy and pre-cognitive, though in fairness in 5th grade you don't know anything about probability.

Also remember very vividly all the horrid jokes we told:

What does NASA stand for? Need Another Seven Astronauts

Where was Christa McAuliffe's last vacation? All over Florida?

What was Christa McAuliffe's last words to her husband? "You feed the dog, I'll feed the fish"

/A paychiatrist would say that Gallows Humor is an appropriate coping mechanism for tragedy

//I just think 10 year old boys are insensitive little jerks

///at least I was a jerk in the 80s and was allowed to mature into a functional adult. In 2014, my 10 year old self would be sent to sensitivity training and receive death threats after being outed and shamed on Gawker or jezebel for making cracks like that.


How did they find out Christa McAuliffe had dandruff?

They found her head and shoulders all over the beach.
 
2014-01-18 09:55:01 AM  
I didn't know a thing about it, was in grade 5, walked home for lunch, and the crossing guard mentioned something.  Saw it on tv when I got home.  As a kid you just don't realize the enormity of what had happened, but the space program which was the way of the future, has never been the same.
 
2014-01-18 09:55:42 AM  
I was at work and a guy said to me "did you hear the shuttle blew up"? I thought he was going to tell me some sick joke. The he was "no really". We listened to the news on the radio. When I got home that day I turned on the news to see the video. A was almost in tears.
 
2014-01-18 09:55:43 AM  
I was in bed.  I had worked the night before closing the pizza place, didn't get home until 4:30 or some similar ungodly hour.  I was having a dream about the shuttle and it blew up in my dream.  Then my roommate shook me awake and said "Dan, the shuttle just blew up."

"No, it didn't.  That was just a dream."

"Whaa..?  No, Dan, the shuttle, it really blew up."

"What?  No way.  Are you sure?"

/let it not be said that I'm totally coherent when shaken from a sound sleep.
//still one of those moments in my life when I wonder about senses beyond the traditional 5 or 6 humans are attributed with.
 
2014-01-18 09:57:17 AM  
West coast, got up early to go to school to watch the launch of the shuttle, my school district had won a spot to send some seeds or some stupid thing up with the teacher. Went home about an hour after the explosion, the teachers couldn't handle it.
 
2014-01-18 09:58:18 AM  

Adolf Oliver Nipples: painless42: I was in 5th grade. My class wasn't watching but another class was. One of the other teachers came in to our room and told my teacher what had happened loud enough for the kids in the front to hear and when it got back to me in the back of the class, being a huge NASA fanboy and 10 year old "expert" on these things, I told the kid in the next seat that he'd heard wrong and that the challenger blowing up was impossible.

Strictly speaking, you were right. The Challenger didn't explode. It was torn apart by excessive loads.


Strictly speaking, I didnt "sleep" her

Baby....? Where you going.... Don't leave me.... Please don't take the Firefly BluRays!
 
2014-01-18 09:59:37 AM  
At working, listening to the radio.  Was the only one in the office at the time....my boss thought I was joking when he arrived back.  Because I would joke about something like that.....
Really felt bad for the kids watching it in school...can't imagine trying to process that as a child.
 
2014-01-18 09:59:51 AM  

rhiannon: Was at work, heard about it on the radio. What I remember most of that day is my foreman saying something to the effect of "serves them right". He was a bit of a jerk.


Lolwut? Yeah those damn astronauts, doing science and crap. Screw them.
 
2014-01-18 10:00:11 AM  
Standing on the roof at work in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. About 150 miles away, but you could see it launch and the explosion.

Cheering and yelling (we were all engineers) immediately went to total silence.

Nothing much got done that day.
 
2014-01-18 10:00:11 AM  
I was on my way to American History class as a junior in high school.
 
2014-01-18 10:00:36 AM  

painless42: Adolf Oliver Nipples: painless42: I was in 5th grade. My class wasn't watching but another class was. One of the other teachers came in to our room and told my teacher what had happened loud enough for the kids in the front to hear and when it got back to me in the back of the class, being a huge NASA fanboy and 10 year old "expert" on these things, I told the kid in the next seat that he'd heard wrong and that the challenger blowing up was impossible.

Strictly speaking, you were right. The Challenger didn't explode. It was torn apart by excessive loads.

Strictly speaking, I didnt "sleep" her

Baby....? Where you going.... Don't leave me.... Please don't take the Firefly BluRays!


Doh! That didn't format right I guess putting text in carrots doesn't work. Eh fark it, it wasn't that good of a joke anyway.
 
2014-01-18 10:02:38 AM  
On the East/West runway at TIA, freezin' our butts off
I got to watch it thru a Pentax survey transit
Cried, I did

2 years later

Driving along 581 (N. Tampa) had to stop and pull over...
To see the next one liftin' off
Cheered I did!
 
2014-01-18 10:04:17 AM  
I saw it happen live... that is to say, not on tv.

I was a 5th grader in Florida. We used to go outside to the PE field to watch shuttle launches. From 100 mile away they usually looked like a tiny sun rising through the air. That day we saw those crazy contrails. The teachers hustled back inside, they wheeled a tv into the classroom, and we learned the awful truth about what we'd just witnessed.

Later a reporter came by and asked our class to write essays about what we'd seen. Mine got printed in the newspaper. CSB
 
2014-01-18 10:04:18 AM  
Senior year in HS, was the only day of HS I stayed home sick. Turned on the TV specifically to watch the launch. I didn't move from the sofa all day.

After reading some of the reactions other people posted, about stores being ghost towns and businesses shutting down etc made me realize something. If this happened today, how little anyone would care. The general public knows so little about and seems to be so ambivalent regarding our space program efforts. I guess it's the result of the newness of the space program wearing off or perhaps it just isn't emphasized in schools like it was when I was young.

Would love to see the public fall in love with space again. It's a worthwhile endeavor.
 
2014-01-18 10:04:22 AM  
6th grade.  We were changing classes and everyone was running into a series of classrooms on one hall that had been showing the launch. A lot of students stayed there a while even though we were supposed to be somewhere else. I remember thinking "how could that happen?"  Learning moment, a big learning moment.
 
2014-01-18 10:05:49 AM  
I was in 6th grade and like many students in FL that day the teachers took us out to watch. Shuttle launches were common and the only reason we were let out to see this one was because of mcauliffe.

/they had a sign up contest to be the first teacher in space. My mom signed up. Glad she didnt win.
 
2014-01-18 10:07:08 AM  
Yeah, I don't remember 'cause I'm an older Farker.
And fark you subby.
 
2014-01-18 10:09:57 AM  
Just outside Cape Canaveral with a shoulder-launched SAM...why do you ask?
 
2014-01-18 10:11:57 AM  
never before seen pics of the Challenger disaster

inigomontoya.jpg
 
2014-01-18 10:13:25 AM  

unyon: MmmmBacon: I was sitting in Computer Science class, senior year of High School. When the announcement came of the disaster, and the teacher asked if we knew anything about this particular mission, I was the only student in class that knew a teacher was among the crew.

I had just finished my grade 12 English exam and was heading home for lunch when I heard it in the car.

/Grad '86 represent


I was in gov't/econ class. The vice principal rolled in a tv cart while she cried.
 
2014-01-18 10:13:43 AM  
Shuttle launches had become frequent enough that they didn't wheel the tv carts into our classrooms to watch anymore. Someone came in and whispered something to my teacher and she brought int he tv and tuned it to CNN so we could see the news on what happened.

/go with throttle up
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-01-18 10:14:28 AM  
16 months after the explosion rapid disassembly I got a job in the McNair Building, named for a Challenger crew member who wasn't a teacher or a pilot.  But I didn't become an astronaut or an astronomer after all. And nobody called the building by its proper name.
 
2014-01-18 10:15:36 AM  
I was in preschool at the time, but I remember being at home with my Mom playing with toys (not the triple changer, even though I had one) that day. We were watching it live. When it happened, my Mom got emotional, but I didn't understand what happened. Can't believe I remember that!
 
2014-01-18 10:16:06 AM  
I was working as a jerk-of-all-trades at a restaurant/bar & package goods store while drinking my way thru college. I was putting away the mop bucket and assorted crap & walked past one of the TV's in the bar just as the launch was counting down. (we had satellite TV and Joyce the bartender liked to watch the news) The electricians were finishing up on rewiring the breaker boxes after the places little "dances with code enforcement" episode.

I stopped to watch the launch expecting nothing more surprising than maybe another last minute abort...Yeah, we all know how that turned out.
 
2014-01-18 10:17:01 AM  
I was home watching the launch on TV before I went to my afternoon shift at work. I've been fascinated with space travel since I was a kid. I used to write to NASA and request pictures of the astronauts back in the 60's. Having watched numerous launches prior, I knew something was farked up.  Years later, I had to had to have an emergency appendectomy. The morning after the surgery I awoke to the doctor coming into the room to check on my progress. After looking me over he says, "By the way, the space shuttle (Columbia) blew up this morning".
 
2014-01-18 10:17:12 AM  
On my way to elementary school with my mother.  The launch and disaster were all over the news in Hawaii, as Onizuka was a native Hawaiian and that was a pretty big deal for us.
 
2014-01-18 10:19:47 AM  
I was home that day.  I wasn't watching the launch...but, my sister was.  I'd given up watching live launches since EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I'd tried to watch one, the launch was scrubbed for one reason or another.  I didn't think there was much point in setting myself up for disappointment.

When it happened, my sister ran to my room and said something along the lines of "the space shuttle just blew up!"  I don't think I said a single word.  I just stared back at her with a quizzical dog look.  My little kid mind couldn't process what she was saying.  It didn't make sense.  Space shuttles don't blow up.

My sister finally physically pushed me to the TV and I watched the replays.  I felt sick.

For the rest of the day, until my dad came home, I sat in the living room with my sister and mom watching all the coverage.  Silently.  For hours, nobody talked.  I don't think any of us wanted to.
 
2014-01-18 10:19:58 AM  
I was at work, an engineering office where we did space and military work.  Someone got a phone call, someone else got out a radio, We rode the news misinformation roller coaster all day long.  Someone saw parachutes, no they didn't, there may be survivors, no there aren't.  A quiet carpool going home where I finally got to see news footage and I was sick about it for days.

Growing up in the 60's I always wanted to be an astronaut, I built model spacecraft instead of the model cars my friends were all into.

BTW, the BBC docudrama about Feinman and the Challenger investigation is very much worth catching.
 
2014-01-18 10:20:01 AM  
I was in third grade at Kirkmere Elementary. We'd just come in from recess. The principal came on for the afternoon. He usually started with "Good morning/afternoon," depending on the time of day. He said "It is NOT a good afternoon," and told us what happened.
I went home and we watched Peter Jennings all night.
 
2014-01-18 10:21:57 AM  
I was at my parent's house. I had a day off work that day and went to the gym that I belonged to near their house to work out. I stopped mom and dad's to shower and visit with them for a bit. I was in the shower when the news broke. I remember mom banging on the door and I said "I'm in the shower. What do you need?" and she said "The space shuttle just blew up"
 
2014-01-18 10:23:15 AM  
Senior year at college, found out after lunch on the East Coast, some three to four hours. It was brought up in casual conversation and it took the other people five minutes to convince me that they weren't making a sick joke.

In retrospect, even though I ate alone, I find it remarkable that I was in a crowded cafeteria for a lunchtime and still had no clue.
 
2014-01-18 10:23:59 AM  
...71 CMU at Langley AFB, VA.  We had the radio on, and they broke into the report a couple minutes after the explosion, so what we heard first was a report about debris falling, smoke trails, etc. - and for some reason, a bunch of us jumped to the conclusion that Air Force One had crashed/been shot down.  I called home, and my wife was already crying.  We headed to Ammo Control, which had the only TV in the bomb dump (no cable, just three channels) and spent the next hour or two with about a hundred people crammed in there watching what we already knew was a recovery operation.  The one thing that has always stayed with me is how quiet it was - not a sound over four different radio nets, and ammo guys are not known for being quiet and reserved, but there was absolute silence until our OIC came in and told us flying was cancelled for the rest of the day.
 
2014-01-18 10:24:25 AM  
I was 4 days old. It's all a little hazy at this point.
 
2014-01-18 10:24:45 AM  
I was in fourth grade and out sick from school, and was at my Grammy's apartment for the day.  The Shuttle launched just as my Spaghetti-O's were ready, so I watched it for 45-60 seconds or so before going into the kitchen to grab my bowl.  I came back to a very odd cloud on the TV.

Don't remember watching much TV until Mom came to pick me up and wanted to watch the coverage for a few minutes.

\random not-so-CSB: My best friend was in third grade in Keene, NH, and McAuliffe had come to visit her school before it happened.  Needless to say, this topic is strictly off-limits to her
\\slightly better CSB: My cousin got into the program McAuliffe was in either right before or right after the accident, and still runs a NASA club at her middle school
\\\got pics of her in the full spacesuit at Space Camp and everything
 
2014-01-18 10:25:02 AM  
DontMakeMeComeBackThere
>>> OnlyM3: 7 dead.... 0 held accountable.

>>> NASA repeated the trick of knowingly killing 7 when they returned Columbia.

Go fark yourself.

Knee-jerk hatred to the thought of accountability. Guess how we know you're an obama voter.
 
2014-01-18 10:25:04 AM  
I was home sick that day and watched the launch since i was a big fan of all things space as a kid.
 
2014-01-18 10:28:30 AM  
I was either in 2nd or 3rd grade, and we were all shoved into the auditorium to watch the lift-off (what with the teacher on board and everything).  I remember someone yelling out, "Is that supposed to happen?"
 
2014-01-18 10:28:52 AM  
Two horrible facts about the Challenger disaster

1) They were killed by shiatty management
2) They were probably alive until they hit the ground

http://www.amazon.com/Riding-Rockets-Outrageous-Shuttle-Astronaut/dp /0 743276833/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390058878&sr=8-1&keywords=riding+roc kets
 
2014-01-18 10:29:22 AM  
Perfect memory of that sad tragic day.

I was on Fark.

Some people were saying it was the Muslims; some said it was sabotage by the Jews; some said it was aliens and the moon landings were a hoax anyway, and others said it looks photoshopped.

/Drew came on and wrote that everyone will be banned for creating so many newsflashes.
//one of the mods then said 'you'll get over it'.
 
2014-01-18 10:32:12 AM  
I was sitting in Mrs. Parnell's second-grade class. The Challenger accident is my first vivid memory of a public event. Like so many classrooms around the country, we had it live on a television at the front of the room.

I remember my teacher, normally a very animated, boisterous woman with a strong Brooklynese accent, just crumpling into the chair at her desk at the front of the room. She didn't go into hysterics or anything, but seeing her so sad really struck a chord with me.

I remember her saying something to the effect of: "Children, you may not really understand this now, but for the rest of your life, you will always remember where you were when this happened."

She was right.
 
2014-01-18 10:32:15 AM  
I was a sophomore in high school, watching the whole thing happen live because back in those days a space shuttle launch was still a big deal, and we watched them in class.
 
2014-01-18 10:33:43 AM  

Brawndo: I was in 8th grade, having lunch. My social studies teacher came up to us and told us that the shuttle had exploded. We thought he was joking with us.

When the principal got on the PA system to tell everyone the news, afterwards, you could hear a pin drop in the school.


What kind of farked up Social Studies teacher did you have to make you think that it was a joke?
 
2014-01-18 10:34:20 AM  
I wasn't even a seed in my father's balls. But in honesty, I read these posts and realize that the Challenger had an impact on people in the same way that 9/11 did for me. The memory is forever in my brain. I love history, and it's always astonishing to learn of the events and connections that burn themselves into the collective psyche. I never knew that this launch was so important, but thank you all for your input. I've seen the footage, but now am able to apply the emotions. This has been a lesson for me.
 
2014-01-18 10:34:43 AM  
I was flying over Macho Grande.


/and don't call me Shirley.
 
2014-01-18 10:36:07 AM  

GungFu: Perfect memory of that sad tragic day.

I was on Fark.

Some people were saying it was the Muslims; some said it was sabotage by the Jews; some said it was aliens and the moon landings were a hoax anyway, and others said it looks photoshopped.

/Drew came on and wrote that everyone will be banned for creating so many newsflashes.
//one of the mods then said 'you'll get over it'.


Yeah, that 1986 Fark kinda sucked because of the dial-up and all... And Drew still being in junior high school kinda meant it was all a bit amateur at the time. He had to do it on CompuServe, and the fact that hardly anybody was online at the time meant it was pretty dull.
 
2014-01-18 10:38:25 AM  
I was at the Jensen Beach campus of Florida Institute of Technology on the way to pick up a package at facilities. As my buddy and I passed the photo lab we saw all of the photo majors outside waiting for the launch.

The photo director commented "all these photo majors and not a single one has a camera." One of his students replied "it's just another shuttle launch."

Being so far away it wasn't readily apparent what went wrong. We saw the white plume get a lot bigger, the SRBs continue going up, and didn't think utter disaster until we saw smoke trails of large objects going down.

A few hours later they announced our beloved campus was closing. Banner fn day.
 
2014-01-18 10:39:12 AM  
I was at work at an engineering/design company, watching the launch on an old 12" B&W TV......never forget the feeling when the pieces started spiraling.  Numb....realizing what had just happened, but not truly believing it could.

Reality check, which was repeated on 9/11.  Live TV's a biatch.
 
2014-01-18 10:44:55 AM  
I heard Pepsi was the sponsor of that launch because they got not get 7up.....to soon to joke.
 
2014-01-18 10:44:58 AM  

Orion5k: I wasn't even a seed in my father's balls. But in honesty, I read these posts and realize that the Challenger had an impact on people in the same way that 9/11 did for me. The memory is forever in my brain. I love history, and it's always astonishing to learn of the events and connections that burn themselves into the collective psyche. I never knew that this launch was so important, but thank you all for your input. I've seen the footage, but now am able to apply the emotions. This has been a lesson for me.


It was huge. The teacher in space aspect was major. It was all over over the news beforehand and I remember it being integrated into the science ciriulum. NASA had tied it all in to a bunch of educational materials they'd produced..... I'm sure Joe Biden would have called it a Big Effing Deal

Plus it had been a long time since the US had had a major tragedy, so much like 9/11 it was seared in your brain if you were of a certain age. If you were a child of he 80s you were living in Ronald Regan's Morning in America/American Exceptionalism age. No war, good economy, Cold War thawing, NASA saying that they'd be soon doing a launch a month and we'd have a fleet of dozens of shuttles. Obvious as an adult you can look back and appreciate that it wasn't all rainbows and roses, but overall if you were a kid in that era you were luckier than most. shiat, American automakers were actually beginning to make semi-decent cars again....

/my childhood consited of the Atari 2600, NES and SNES.....
//and the good transformers when they actually had some metal in them
/
 
2014-01-18 10:45:04 AM  
Happened while I was walking a couple of blocks between my apartment and work. I'd been following the shuttle program from the start, building models and whatnot before the first one was built. Later moved to Florida and could occasionally see a launch. Once I heard I told the boss I couldn't work that day. Went home and was numb for rest of day.
 
2014-01-18 10:45:35 AM  

Orion5k: I wasn't even a seed in my father's balls. But in honesty, I read these posts and realize that the Challenger had an impact on people in the same way that 9/11 did for me. The memory is forever in my brain. I love history, and it's always astonishing to learn of the events and connections that burn themselves into the collective psyche. I never knew that this launch was so important, but thank you all for your input. I've seen the footage, but now am able to apply the emotions. This has been a lesson for me.


I don't really think I'd compare the two.  Prior to Challenger we'd had the Apollo I fire.  Nobody didn't know that space travel was risky.  9/11 stunned the world and forever changed the geopolitical paradigm.  Challenger was simply a tragedy in exploration.
 
2014-01-18 10:48:38 AM  
I was home sick, on the couch. I remember being puzzled as to what was happening at first, then screaming for my mom.
 
2014-01-18 10:49:43 AM  
Sixth grade science class.   We were watching the launch together, and the teacher was particularly excited about it (and this was a guy who didn't get excited about much).

Obviously, it was awful.

Two years later I had the same teacher for science, and I parroted one of those stupid old Challenger jokes.  Got a talking-to after class.  He was one of the many teachers who had tried to get into the program to be on board the mission.

/I was a teenage idiot
//outgrew it only a little
///obviously...I'm a grown man still using slashies
 
2014-01-18 10:50:36 AM  
I was working at the Dallas Morning News. We had just finished our run for the next days subscriptions when it happened. We had to re-do everything because we put out a special edition. Still have the newspaper from that day wrapped in plastic.
 
HKW
2014-01-18 10:50:39 AM  
Always hated teachers. Glad to see one get what she deserves.

next.
 
2014-01-18 10:51:05 AM  
localtvwtkr.files.wordpress.com

Wow.  Just wow.
 
2014-01-18 10:53:22 AM  
Fifth grade, I stayed home that day because I was "sick" so I tuned in to watch and then history happened.
 
2014-01-18 10:53:47 AM  

nekom: Orion5k: I wasn't even a seed in my father's balls. But in honesty, I read these posts and realize that the Challenger had an impact on people in the same way that 9/11 did for me. The memory is forever in my brain. I love history, and it's always astonishing to learn of the events and connections that burn themselves into the collective psyche. I never knew that this launch was so important, but thank you all for your input. I've seen the footage, but now am able to apply the emotions. This has been a lesson for me.

I don't really think I'd compare the two.  Prior to Challenger we'd had the Apollo I fire.  Nobody didn't know that space travel was risky.  9/11 stunned the world and forever changed the geopolitical paradigm.  Challenger was simply a tragedy in exploration.


I'd agree with you in the long-term sense, that 9/11 had a far broader impact, but if someone asked me what that actual day was like, I'd say 9/11 is the perfect comparison. This huge sense of loss and general confusion. I was in school, but when you listen to the accounts of people who were adults. It mirrors exactly the 9/11 situation for me at least as an adult. The sense of loss, the struggle for information, the misinformation and then corrections so at the midpoint no one is clear on exactly what happened, people not knowing quite what to do with themselves....
 
2014-01-18 10:53:53 AM  

Tigger: Two horrible facts about the Challenger disaster

1) They were killed by shiatty management
2) They were probably alive until they hit the ground

http://www.amazon.com/Riding-Rockets-Outrageous-Shuttle-Astronaut/dp /0 743276833/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390058878&sr=8-1&keywords=riding+roc kets


Thank you for your contribution. Now, kindly go fark yourself with a rusty butcher knife.

Was in Belle Vernon, Pa unloading my trailer load of eggs at the FoodLand warehouse facility. The Government Fruit Inspector came by and told me what happened. I broke out in to a sweat and just stood there unable to speak for quite a few minutes.
 
2014-01-18 10:54:26 AM  
I was in art class, when someone came in the class and said "the Challenger exploded" we all got let out of class, went into the lounge to watch it. Very sad day.
 
2014-01-18 10:55:01 AM  
McAuliffe would have been on an early flight if baffin' Jake hasn't bumped her off for his joy ride.
 
2014-01-18 10:55:12 AM  
I was about 19, walking through the student union at the community college, on my way to meet a friend. Paused to watch the launch on the NASA feed they had up. Then HOLY shiat DID THAT JUST HAPPEN? My dad worked for NASA, so I called him at work. We were both crying.

For him it was especially bad, since he had known the crew of Apollo 1, and the only reason he wasn't at the Cape when they died was that I'd been born nine days earlier. He dedicated his entire life to the US space program, so he took those tragedies very personally.

That was a rough day. I took it pretty hard when Columbia went down too. My dad raised me to be a true believer in the space program, and to this day I tear up just thinking about the fact that we went to the moon. People take it for granted these days (except the crazy deniers), but god damn it, we PUT A MAN ON THE FREAKIN' MOON. How can anybody not appreciate the magnitude of that achievement?

/I'll just be over here, sniffling and muttering to myself
 
2014-01-18 10:55:13 AM  
I was sitting in the waiting room of a tire company in Tyler, TX getting new tires for my car. One of the grease monkeys came in the room, changed the channel, and said something like  "The dang space shuttle done blowed up!" This was years before Boomhauer.
 
2014-01-18 10:57:41 AM  
I was in college in rural NY. I didn't hang out with people who watched TV and none of my friends really paid attention to the news so I didn't hear about it for a few months.
 
2014-01-18 10:59:00 AM  

librarianwah: Brawndo: I was in 8th grade, having lunch. My social studies teacher came up to us and told us that the shuttle had exploded. We thought he was joking with us.

When the principal got on the PA system to tell everyone the news, afterwards, you could hear a pin drop in the school.

What kind of farked up Social Studies teacher did you have to make you think that it was a joke?


He wasn't farked up, just very laid back with a dry sense of humor. Also, he just told us and not other kids, so we really thought he was messing with us.

Obviously, we felt like shiat when we realized that he was trying to tell us an unbelievably huge piece of news.
 
2014-01-18 11:00:02 AM  

eraser8: painless42: I was in 5th grade. My class wasn't watching but another class was. One of the other teachers came in to our room and told my teacher what had happened loud enough for the kids in the front to hear and when it got back to me in the back of the class, being a huge NASA fanboy and 10 year old "expert" on these things, I told the kid in the next seat that he'd heard wrong and that the challenger blowing up was impossible.

I also remember that one of the 5th grade teachers had had a dream the night before that it had blown up and everyone thought it was creepy and pre-cognitive, though in fairness in 5th grade you don't know anything about probability.

Also remember very vividly all the horrid jokes we told:

What does NASA stand for? Need Another Seven Astronauts

Where was Christa McAuliffe's last vacation? All over Florida?

What was Christa McAuliffe's last words to her husband? "You feed the dog, I'll feed the fish"

/A paychiatrist would say that Gallows Humor is an appropriate coping mechanism for tragedy

//I just think 10 year old boys are insensitive little jerks

///at least I was a jerk in the 80s and was allowed to mature into a functional adult. In 2014, my 10 year old self would be sent to sensitivity training and receive death threats after being outed and shamed on Gawker or jezebel for making cracks like that.

How did they find out Christa McAuliffe had dandruff?

They found her head and shoulders all over the beach.


What was the last thing that went through Christa McAuliffe's head on that fateful day?

The astronaut seated right behind her.

/window seat, please
 
2014-01-18 11:00:51 AM  
I was working maintenance at what used to be The Quality Inn at Rt 17 & I95. I lived in a house on the property and was on my way to lunch when I heard two men in the parking lot discussing the accident. I spent the rest of the day repairing a timeclock so I would have a reason to sit in front of the TV while doing so.


/Anyone here remember the old Heart's Lounge?
 
2014-01-18 11:01:31 AM  

Fear the Clam: I was in college in rural NY. I didn't hang out with people who watched TV and none of my friends really paid attention to the news so I didn't hear about it for a few months.


Months? Where was this college, buried 500 ft under the bottom of Lake Erie?
 
2014-01-18 11:01:41 AM  

marto: I was in my forth grade class. Didn't see it happen, sixth graders saw it.


Perhaps you should have paid better attention during spelling.
 
2014-01-18 11:02:28 AM  

broken jebus: [localtvwtkr.files.wordpress.com image 627x408]

Wow.  Just wow.


I had never seen that picture until today. It kinda gave me the chills.
 
2014-01-18 11:02:34 AM  
I was a sophomore in college.  I had some time between classes so stopped by the student center to watch the launch.  There were about 20 people standing around the TV.  After the shuttle exploded, all of us were utterly speechless until someone said, in a hopeful voice, "maybe it's supposed to do that..?"
 
2014-01-18 11:06:09 AM  

blacksho89: It was my day off, and I celebrated with a wake-n-bake, so it was very unreal.


I had worked overnight, drank a bottle of wine after I got off, as usual, and when it happened I got up out of bed and came out to yell at my housemates, because they'd turned the TV up really loud and woken me up. Boy, did I shut up fast.
 
2014-01-18 11:09:26 AM  
Was at lunch in elementary school when the principal went around telling everyone what had happened.

Living in the most obvious first-strike target city in the United States at the time my table mates thought it was the Soviets before we knew any further details.
 
2014-01-18 11:09:29 AM  
Watching it in an aeronautics class taught by an ex-NASA flight instructor who knew some of the astronauts.  That was a rough day.
 
2014-01-18 11:12:59 AM  
I was in Jr. High.  My dad had come to get me (we were going to go to Florida that evening) and he told me in the school office.  I remember asking him if the astronauts were ok.  They were not. I was stunned.

I was a science-y dorky kid (and now on Fark? Youdontsay.jpg) and this was a very big deal. Even today,   "Challenger go at throttle up" gets to me.
 
2014-01-18 11:13:01 AM  
I was at work in my office/shop, WBCN broke the news. We went to an upstairs office and tried to tune in  a shiatty black and white portable TV. Design and Engineering (4 20-somethings) walked over to the industrial park bar and watched for an hour or so.
Back then, "What were Christa McCauliff's last words?" jokes came by fax machine.
 
2014-01-18 11:17:01 AM  
I was in fifth grade, and had stayed home sick from school.  Or, it may have been a snow day.

Anyway, I watched it live on the TV in my parent's bedroom.  This was when shuttle launches were still a big deal, and thanks to the Sunday ritual of watching Star Trek with my Dad, I was very into science.

The one thing I'll never forget is Dan Rather fumbling around with a model, getting the fuel tank mixed up with the boosters.

The hindsight of being in broadcasting lends some understanding that he was in a tough spot.

But in the moment, I was mad at him for being not only an adult, but someone of "authority", and not knowing any better how the shuttle worked.
 
2014-01-18 11:17:51 AM  
Just got home from working the graveyard shift, was watching it more or less because there was nothing else more interesting as I got ready to crash. I didn't get any sleep before my next shift.
 
2014-01-18 11:18:05 AM  
8th Grade history class.  The superintendent (small town school) came on the intercom and told the teacher that he should turn on the TV. Very sad.
 
2014-01-18 11:18:08 AM  
I was a junior in high school at the time, and was home that day, as school had been cancelled due to heavy snow (southwestern Pennsylvania).  I didn't see it live, but my mom (also home because she was a teacher at the same school) did, and told me about it.  Spent the rest of the day watching the news coverage - remember a friend recording a lot of it on his VCR - I probably would've done the same, had we had a VCR at the time, but we didn't have one until the following Christmas...
 
2014-01-18 11:18:25 AM  
My heart sinks every time I see something like that and knowing it will be used to hold us back another 10 to 20 years.

/ RIP brave souls.
 
2014-01-18 11:18:48 AM  
At home from work, incredibly sick with the flu, watching live as it occurred...

/sad
 
2014-01-18 11:18:53 AM  
I was only about 9 months old, so obviously I have no direct memory of it.

That said, it seems like one of my earliest memories, and my parents tell me that as soon as I could talk I wanted to know about rockets and planes, so I assume they taught me about it at a very early age.
 
2014-01-18 11:19:05 AM  
I was in a Firestone tire store getting new tires with my now departed grandfather and watched it on the stores guest TV.
 
2014-01-18 11:19:16 AM  
Sophomore year, in industrial shop class. Our teacher loved the shuttle program and wanted us all to watch it. We stayed at school, but it was the subject of discussion in every class that day.
 
2014-01-18 11:23:35 AM  

nekom: Orion5k: I wasn't even a seed in my father's balls. But in honesty, I read these posts and realize that the Challenger had an impact on people in the same way that 9/11 did for me. The memory is forever in my brain. I love history, and it's always astonishing to learn of the events and connections that burn themselves into the collective psyche. I never knew that this launch was so important, but thank you all for your input. I've seen the footage, but now am able to apply the emotions. This has been a lesson for me.

I don't really think I'd compare the two.  Prior to Challenger we'd had the Apollo I fire.  Nobody didn't know that space travel was risky.  9/11 stunned the world and forever changed the geopolitical paradigm.  Challenger was simply a tragedy in exploration.


The only similarity with 9/11 was wall-to-wall TV coverage repeating the same footage. The space program had symbolized national success and Challenger punched the hole in that with the worst space disaster ever. There was some disgust that NASA has falsely sold the idea that the shuttle was an Arthur C. Clarkeian space airline with routine flights:  it lands like an airplane, the crew doesn't have to wear spacesuits, and now, look even ordinary civilians can ride it! But Challenger was mainly just about the space program. Some people made superficial comparisons with Chernobyl, the same year, about technology run amok (though the incompetence and recklessness at Chernobyl was far beyond NASA).

9/11 was a day of intense fear, all day, because of the second attack at the Pentagon followed by constant rumors that more attacks were underway. Air Force One flew to secret location after secret location and all civilian flights were grounded. And then the aftereffects:  we gave the executive branch the power to secretly redefine the Bill of Rights, gave states and cities more money to militarize police, openly invaded two countries and covertly entered and bombed more. When the space shuttle Columbia went down, fairly early in the post-9/11 world, you could sense America's disaster fatigue and lingering numbness. It was awful again, but we just couldn't feel as much as we did about Challenger.
 
2014-01-18 11:23:36 AM  
That was the day that a pest control employee was making the rounds at my apartment complex.  He was given a pass key and was not accompanied by the apartment manager.  The asshole stole 80 buck from my dresser drawer and then proceeded start masturbating to an copy of Hustler magazine that featured a Frank Zappa 'ThingFish' layout.(autographed by Ike Willis)
good times good times
 
2014-01-18 11:24:17 AM  
I was a service electrician watching with a customer on their tv. I had earned my journeyman's degree the year before and was now making decent money (this was just before the first round of illegal immigrant amnesty in CA drove all the trade jobs' wages from $20 to $10 per hour). Within three years I was out of the electrical field and had my first modern computer - the rest is prehistory. It was a weird, extremely bright and sunny, very sad day.
 
2014-01-18 11:24:30 AM  

nekom: I don't really think I'd compare the two.  Prior to Challenger we'd had the Apollo I fire.  Nobody didn't know that space travel was risky.  9/11 stunned the world and forever changed the geopolitical paradigm.  Challenger was simply a tragedy in exploration.


Great, short (2:16) vid about the highs and lows of exploration: Per Aspera Ad Astra
 
2014-01-18 11:26:30 AM  
Oh, I forgot my tangential CSB to the shuttle program:

A mere 9 or so years later, I had a job at a Trimac tanker terminal in my hometown of Louisville.  The compound that binds the components of the solid fuel in the boosters is made there, and we hauled it.  Its called P-BAN.

So, we had to get the tank trailers (I worked on the wash rack) clean enough to "haul the cure for cancer" before they could take the load to FL.  Then, when the tank came back, we had to clean them out.  Shiat was STICKY, like super-mega concentrated pitch or tar or something.
 
2014-01-18 11:30:41 AM  
I was already old and the weight of the world had already crushed my little spirit.
 
2014-01-18 11:32:21 AM  
I was a young teen at the time. I was at my father's that day and we were sitting around watching the launch on tv. No one said much afterwards. We just kind of stared at the tv in shock and horror. I don't really remember anything about the rest of the day but that moment is seared into my memory forever. I still get this sinking feeling whenever that day is brought up(same with Columbia...and 9/11). Knowing that incompetence/negligence contributed to the Challenger disaster still angers me. Until this thread I'd never heard they might have survived the initial event and died on impact with the water though. How utterly horrifying! Dying instantly in the initial explosion would have been merciful.
 
2014-01-18 11:32:43 AM  
I was home "sick" from school in 7th grade, had the radio on in the basement when I heard the news come across. I ran upstairs and my mom had it on the tv.
 
2014-01-18 11:35:06 AM  
I read this on or through a story on Fark once.


"At what point did we forget that the Space Shuttle was, essentially, a program that strapped human beings to an explosion and tried to stab through the sky with fire and math?"
 
2014-01-18 11:38:11 AM  
I was 23 years old and my parents from Ohio happened to be visiting me in NY that day.  We were just chilling watching "The Price is Right" when it was interrupted by Dan Rather with a CBS News Special Report...looking back I was glad that someone was there with me to talk and share the sadness with.
 
2014-01-18 11:41:11 AM  
Freshman in a terrible high school. My dad worked on the communication relays. In Huntsville, Alabama, every dad came home kinda broken that day. The next day, we began crafting the jokes...
 
2014-01-18 11:41:23 AM  
My whole Kindergarten class watched it
 
2014-01-18 11:43:01 AM  
I was in 7th grade, I'd just gotten to school and was getting my first period books from my locker when my friend told me the shuttle had exploded on liftoff. I thought he was kidding until a bit later when they announced it over the school PA.
 
2014-01-18 11:46:42 AM  
I was in 6th grade at Holly Hilly Elementary in Daytona Beach, Florida.  I saw it blow up in the sky.
 
2014-01-18 11:46:57 AM  
Senior in high school at lunch. There had been a lot of hype about the teacher in space. I had an American Government class after lunch and we had been studying media and government so the teacher had a TV. I don't remember the kid's name who told me. I thought it was a joke and was waiting for a punch line. Then went to the Government class and confirmed with the teacher. Came to class early and watched the news with some other students in silent awe.

I found out later my mom who was a middle school teacher had put in an application for "Teacher in Space".
 
2014-01-18 11:47:28 AM  
And for the record, those boosters were always BS firecrackers just waiting to go off. Every year my dad gets older, and can tell me more and more about the crazy end-of-the-cold-war things that were going on...
 
2014-01-18 11:49:25 AM  
I stayed home from grades school that day. My mom was in the bathroom getting for work while I was watching, sitting on the carpet about a foot from the screen. When it blew up, I called to my mom. Her reaction was almost like a family member was in a car accident, and she was waiting to hear how bad it was...
 
2014-01-18 11:50:40 AM  
I had just moved to Arizona . New third grade class . We watched in the library. I think the teacher turned it off after that .
 
2014-01-18 11:51:13 AM  
i was 4 months old
 
2014-01-18 11:51:40 AM  
Where was I that day .. remember it well. I was closing a leveraged buyout worth $3.1 million in brokerage fees.
 
2014-01-18 11:54:56 AM  
HS sophmore math class.  Principal announced it over the loudspeaker, math teacher threw up his hands and said class was over.
 
2014-01-18 12:04:24 PM  
Senior in high school. Watched it live on tv. Knew immediately what was happening. Felt sick when someone said maybe they survived.
 
2014-01-18 12:08:09 PM  

Launch Code: Darmstadt, Germany 94th (combat heavy) Engineer Battalion


I was just down the road in Weiterstadt.

Dad was stationed at Rhein-Main.  I was just home from school and had gone up to the finished attic my parents let me have as my own "boy"cave den.  I was quite a Space Cadet at that age. (would have been 4th grade).  Lots of tears and the like.

My 7th grade science teacher was one of the contestants in the Teacher in Space program, and if memory serves she was one of the semi-finalists or finalists ...

For Columbia, I was living down here in Florida driving for a courier service and was puzzled by the lack of sonic booms until I got into one of my delivery locations and the shop manager mentioned what happened.
 
2014-01-18 12:12:18 PM  
I was working overnight at the time and had gotten home so I could get some dinner, have a few beers and whatnot, and watch the launch with a few friends. I will never forget my friend's comment as we watched. "Is it supposed to do that?" We were stunned and lost a good buzz over it. In many ways, I don't think we as a nation have recovered any of that buzz either. The untold discovery and possible help we as a planet might find out there and yet our nation wants to bicker and whine about how much it cost and how the rich won't get any ROI they can greedily control out of it.

I really believe Gene Cernan, while commenting on the end of the Apollo program, said "Many decades from now people are going ask, after all the work we did, after all the equipment we created, and after all we had accomplished to that time, why did we just quit?" pretty much nailed it on the head. Why did we stop aiming for the stars? (I actually have an idea as to why, but I don't want to get into another rant about the rot of capitalism.)

/NASA should be getting double what the Pentagon gets. Why worry about aggression when we can just say, "Hey, you don't want us here, we can leave you to this crappy little polluted planet and go find another one!"
 
2014-01-18 12:17:06 PM  
2nd grade classroom.
 
2014-01-18 12:18:11 PM  
Some where in the desert of Palm Bay, 40 miles south of Cape Canaveral, watching it live. Standing on roof trusses waiting for plywood. A crew of about 8 of us stopped working and were watching the launch.

When the flash and puff of smoke happened, somebody said  "Well that ain't right."

No, Biker Bob, Two Wheeled Tony, Surfer Jeff, Toothless Rob or Keenan (whoever said it) that wasn't right.
 
2014-01-18 12:20:00 PM  

Hipjoint: Watched it live with my 3rd grade class. I do not remember the explosion all I can recall is my teachers uncontrolled sobbing. None of us kids knew what to do. I have only felt that level of true helplessness on one other occasion, that of watching my father telling His father it was OK to let go...

 I would wish that feeling on no one.

    I would later learn that she had been in the running to be a Teacher in space. After that I was never sure if they were tears of grief or relief.


I was in my 8th grade Algebra teacher's room.  Like your's, she had applied and advanced pretty far in that competition (from what I can remember).  We were crowded in her classroom to see it.  I saw the link about the myths earlier, but I don't recall any cutting in program.  I remember watching the commentator talking about how historical it was for McAuliffe to be heading towards Space.

I was such a space geek back then, I had a model of the original shuttle with the white fuel tank instead of the orange one.  I could name most every crew from all the previous launches as well.  Watching my teacher's reaction shook me in a way that I had never been shook before as I had never seen an adult stranger break down with such emotion.
 
2014-01-18 12:20:24 PM  
Midwest city, recess.  Girl cried next to me; I didn't understand why.

(Wasn't callous; just really didn't understand why people cried, I do now)
 
2014-01-18 12:25:44 PM  
In my truck on I-264 at the Lynnhaven exit headed west.
 
2014-01-18 12:33:18 PM  

austin_millbarge: Senior year in HS, was the only day of HS I stayed home sick. Turned on the TV specifically to watch the launch. I didn't move from the sofa all day.

After reading some of the reactions other people posted, about stores being ghost towns and businesses shutting down etc made me realize something. If this happened today, how little anyone would care. The general public knows so little about and seems to be so ambivalent regarding our space program efforts. I guess it's the result of the newness of the space program wearing off or perhaps it just isn't emphasized in schools like it was when I was young.

Would love to see the public fall in love with space again. It's a worthwhile endeavor.


Not this kid here...  Still 100% space geek.  I think it's downright amazing what we did with technology then.  I can't understand why we can't rebuild a better shuttle now with the advanced technology available.  The shuttles were getting kinda long in the tooth for the requirements of the job, but there has to be a way to replicate it and make it better.
 
2014-01-18 12:38:19 PM  
I was two and a half. I have no memory of the event since my memories only go back to five years of age or so. But my mom likely held me and cried about it, and I likely had no idea what had my mom upset.

But thinking about it makes me feel sad, not in the general tragedy sense, like I really think she did hold me and cry and I had forgotten about it till now.

/kinda dusty in here
 
2014-01-18 12:39:56 PM  
I was in 8th grade shop class. The Principal announced it over the PA system. I didn't see it live.

I had played the he'll out of the C64 game "Space Shuttle: A Journey Into Space." Even got the highest ranking in the game, where you got to take a photo of the computer screen, mail it in, and got badges and stuff. I don't know what happened to the stuff. Wish I did.
 
2014-01-18 12:41:39 PM  
Senior in high school.

Physics class 4th period.  Jimmy Stott burst thru the door with the news.  Mr. Kukola told him if he was lying, he was getting flung out the window.

The class went to the library to watch the news. . .it had the only TV in the school.
 
2014-01-18 12:51:39 PM  
I was so deep in a woman when that happened that it took 5 weeks and a midwife to get me out.

/Well, okay
//I was 5 weeks from being born
 
2014-01-18 12:54:18 PM  
I was only two when it happened, so I don't remember.  But my mother was at work and she walked in on her coworkers sitting frozen around the TV. She asked what was on TV and no-one replied.

I see these pictures and my throat just seizes up.  What happened to those people, those kids that were in her class watching this when it happened, and what it did to the space program... It's just, I mean my heart just aches for all the implications of this.

But honestly? If I had to pick a way to go? It would be slipping the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of god.
 
2014-01-18 12:59:17 PM  
I don't remember where I was, but the date is easy enough to remember because it's my mom's birthday.

Happy b-day, mom.
 
2014-01-18 01:01:09 PM  
Junior year, when I grew up in a suburb of Tampa. Some kids actually saw it happen outside (we could see shuttle launches that far away), but weren't quite sure until teachers wheeled in TV's.
 
2014-01-18 01:03:08 PM  
Watched it live and in person as a senior in high school just a bit down the Indian River.  Was 4th period right before lunch and after seeing multiple launches the whole class knew something was wrong.  So many people saw it the assistant principal had to make an announcement so people would go back to class.
 
2014-01-18 01:04:40 PM  
5th grade, Mrs. Hopfinger's class. It was on PBS and we got to school early to watch. we were going to have lessons filmed live in space by Christa McAuliffe and we had been excited to see the launch. The "Coming Up" screen was playing A-ha's "Take On Me".
The big TV stand was painted this ugly yellow color, and we stared at this strange municipal altar as the shuttle exploded.
When it happened, the disbelief I felt was surprisingly durable, and it took a few minutes to sink in.
 it was a time of multicultural diaspora, and there were 13 languages in my 5th grade class.
kids from Iran, Korea,El Salvador, Nicaragua,Guatemala, Armenia,and a bunch of other far flung countries all cried in the same tongue.
the big Y shape in the sky was burned into my mind and I still matrix it in my head when seeing crossing contrails.
 
2014-01-18 01:09:35 PM  

Brosephus: austin_millbarge: Senior year in HS, was the only day of HS I stayed home sick. Turned on the TV specifically to watch the launch. I didn't move from the sofa all day.

After reading some of the reactions other people posted, about stores being ghost towns and businesses shutting down etc made me realize something. If this happened today, how little anyone would care. The general public knows so little about and seems to be so ambivalent regarding our space program efforts. I guess it's the result of the newness of the space program wearing off or perhaps it just isn't emphasized in schools like it was when I was young.

Would love to see the public fall in love with space again. It's a worthwhile endeavor.

Not this kid here...  Still 100% space geek.  I think it's downright amazing what we did with technology then.  I can't understand why we can't rebuild a better shuttle now with the advanced technology available.  The shuttles were getting kinda long in the tooth for the requirements of the job, but there has to be a way to replicate it and make it better.


There is a way but we need that money for the Pentagon and social services. We need some social services, but less Pentagon spending. I'd love to see what we are actually capable of doing and I'm sure it is a LOT more than we did when we had the shuttle program.
 
2014-01-18 01:12:37 PM  
First day on the job as a manager for a restaurant chain.  Got out of the car listening to the news as it was about to launch, and once inside I turned on the radio 3 minutes or so later, commentators were talking about what happened.   It didn't really sink in for a few minutes.  A very quiet day at work.
 
2014-01-18 01:13:35 PM  
I was in school watching it on TV.

As to what I was doing on 9/11 I was changing a fuel pump on my pickup in the parking lot at work. I heard about it on the radio after I was done and driving home. When I first heard about it they didnt mention using hijacked passenger jets as the weapons and was just reporting that there was air raids in New York and Washington and that the WTC and Pentagon where hit.
 
2014-01-18 01:14:36 PM  
 
2014-01-18 01:18:20 PM  
Subby, apparently we were born around the same time? May of 1978 for me so I think that puts me in 4th grade when Challenger happened but I'm not sure.

The weird part is that I don't remember if we watched it happen or ended up seeing it later. I just can't recall.
I do remember it did severely bum a lot of us out and my Mom who was a Teacher's Assistant was definitely affected.

Something crazy I just looked up was the final seconds of the launch leading up to the disaster:

...

Each solid rocket booster (SRB, the two white rockets on either side of the orange external tank) is shipped from Utah to Florida in four separate segments. At the Kennedy Space Center, they stack these segments up into a single rocket. Rubber O-rings are used to seal the joints between the segments, keeping the hot exhaust gases from escaping. The SRBs are attached to the external tank at just two places, at the top and at the bottom of the rocket.

The morning of the launch was very cold - colder than the SRBs had been designed for. The rubber material the O-rings were made of is very brittle (meaning it breaks instead of stretches) at those cold temperatures, but NASA didn't realize there would be a problem and decided to launch anyway. During the launch, the O-rings in the joint between the lower two segments of one rocket broke, and the hot exhaust gases leaked through the joint. That started about 59 seconds after launch. The gases burned through the wall of the external tank about 5 seconds later, and the liquid hydrogen fuel started leaking out. At this point, neither the astronauts nor the mission controllers knew that anything was wrong. About 68 seconds after launch, Mission Control radioed to Challenger, "Go at throttle up", meaning that the Shuttle engines had throttled up to full power. Shuttle commander Dick Scobee confirmed, "Roger, go at throttle up." That was the last voice communication between Mission Control and the Shuttle.

72 seconds after launch, 13 seconds after the leak started in the SRB, the exhaust gas burned through the bottom attachment between the solid rocket booster and the fuel tank. When that broke, the Shuttle jerked to the side - the astronauts definitely would have felt that. A half second later, the flight data recorder captured the pilot, Mike Smith, saying "Uh oh." That's when they knew something was wrong.

Meanwhile, the bottom end of the fuel tank had been weakened. At 73 seconds after launch, the bottom end failed, and the force of the escaping hydrogen pushed the top of the lower tank into the bottom of the upper tank, which contained oxygen. At the same time, the thrust of the solid rocket booster rotated it around the top attachment, and it hit the area between the two tanks. The forces of the disintegrating fuel tank and the SRB thrusting in the wrong direction pushed the Shuttle out of its normal orientation to the air flow, and the aerodynamic forces are what tore Challenger apart.

After the Challenger was destroyed, NASA was able to recover some of the wreckage, and were able to reconstruct the last moments of the mission. They determined that, as the Space Shuttle was breaking up, the crew compartment stayed intact. The pilot's and commander's reserve oxygen packs had been turned on, and some of the switches were not in their normal launch configuration. The astronauts were alive and trying to regain control of their ship.

The Shuttle was 48,000 feet up when it broke apart, but the crew compartment kept going up to 65,000 feet before gravity reversed its path. It took almost 3 minutes after the Shuttle broke up for it to hit the ocean. We can't really say when they realized that they would die, but it's likely that they were alive - and fighting - right up until the end.

Powerful stuff.


Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Challenger_disaster#Lifto ff _and_initial_ascent
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3078062/ns/technology_and_science-space
 
2014-01-18 01:18:50 PM  
I was masturbating to this album cover. Why?
img.cdandlp.com
 
2014-01-18 01:23:01 PM  
I was home from middle school with a headache that day, so I saw it live on TV. I was messed up for a couple of days after that.
 
2014-01-18 01:23:02 PM  
I watched it live in my 4th grade class.  I'm pretty sure Ms. Coleman was an android, so any emotion she showed was probably not all that convincing or even memorable.  I remember feeling sad for their families and realizing that not everything works out for the best, even for really smart and successful people.  For kids that had felt relatively safe and secure (including those of us who were poor but had two parents and drug- and drama-free homes), the Challenger tragedy was probably the first event that really undermined that sense of certainty about the world.
 
2014-01-18 01:26:03 PM  
I was 2 years old I think.  It's hard to remember.  I was pretty hungover.
 
2014-01-18 01:27:00 PM  
I was a senior in HS. I sometimes used to skip lunch and head straight over to the band director's office because he let me play with the Apple ][ he had. I had just slammed my locker and was heading down to the band room when one of the kids... I still remember which one, a kind of misfit, told me that the space shuttle had just blown up. I hurried over to the bandroom and Mr. A. had WGN AM on and they were reporting it. Later in pre-calc Mr. W. brought the TV-on-a-cart thing and I saw it over. and over. and over again.

Just thinking the phrase roger to throttle-up breaks me out in a cold sweat and gets me teary.
 
2014-01-18 01:29:05 PM  
My dad was stationed in Germany so I'd gotten home from school and gone to the base (not a 'real' base but a small German site with a smaller Air Force detachment) to hang out in the TV room/library/theater like usual, then walked across to the NCO club for the launch since they actually had cable in there. The TV room was limited to whatever they they sent us for the big-arse U-matic.

Was sitting at the bar drinking a Coke with my school friends and some of the Air Force and German military guys. Sat there most of the night. The place started filling up with people who always came by for Tuesday night disco but there wasn't any music that night.
 
2014-01-18 01:36:08 PM  
I was in my grade 9 typing class stoned out of my mind. The class was all boys for some reason. Another teacher came in the room and made the announcement. Then something weird happened. Most of the class cheered. I'll never forget the look on out teacher's face...she was horrified. She went on leave shortly after that.
 
2014-01-18 01:45:20 PM  
We had a snow day. My mother was prone to High Drama so I was just about to eat lunch when she came running through the house yelling that the Space Shuttle had blown up. I ate my toasted cheese sandwich, then went to go see if it was true or a plotline on Y&R.
 
2014-01-18 01:48:30 PM  
LIke just about every school aged kid in 1986 I was in school watching it on TV due to the teacher in space program that put Christa McAuliffe aboard the challenger on that fateful day.

I gasped when it exploded another kid shouted "Holy Shiat it exploded"  it was the one time the teacher said nothing about swearing in class.

My younger brother was so upset they sent him home , and he was not alone.
 
2014-01-18 01:55:59 PM  

Bruxellensis: I was 2 years old I think.  It's hard to remember.  I was pretty hungover.


Well the "where where yous" that occured while I was alive but too young to remember there the attempted assassination of St Ronnie and the murder of John Lennon.
 
2014-01-18 01:57:02 PM  

FreakyBunny: I was in my grade 9 typing class stoned out of my mind. The class was all boys for some reason. Another teacher came in the room and made the announcement. Then something weird happened. Most of the class cheered. I'll never forget the look on out teacher's face...she was horrified. She went on leave shortly after that.


That is odd. When I was in middle school, the girls took typing and the boys took accounting. Crossovers were almost unheard of. Though I might know what happened...

A few years later me and my friends realized that home-ec had all the hot girls. So we signed up. But of course we ended up with like 15 guys in the class and only a couple girls. So that did not work out as planned. On the good side, I actually learned useful things like how to sift flour and make meringue.
 
2014-01-18 02:01:59 PM  
I was having lunch before getting ready to head to work as a CG operator at the big CBS affiliate TV station in Tallahassee, FL. I got the call informing me of the tragedy and to come in immediately. We worked our asses off for the next several days with local cut ins of the national feed featuring FSU faculty giving commentary. It was a huge deal and forever changed the way people (including me) looked at manned space missions.
 
2014-01-18 02:02:27 PM  
8th grade, English class.  Class was interrupted and they brought in a tv cart.
 
2014-01-18 02:03:43 PM  
8th grade, English class.  Class was interrupted and they brought in a tv cart.  That same year we went on a field trip to the World Trade Center.
 
2014-01-18 02:04:21 PM  
I was in Kindergarten.  We watched it live on CNN.  Shuttle launches were always a big deal in my town because Thiokol, where the SRBs are made, reloaded, tested, and refined is so close that we see the sky glow during night time booster tests and pretty much half of the population worked there.

I knew a lot more than most five year olds when it came to the Space Shuttle because rockets are fascinating and I had access to science magazines and my Grandpa shared plenty of what he knew with me.  I knew how long the SRBs stayed attached, I knew how long the External Tank stayed attached, I knew what was in the ET, I knew what MECO was, and I knew what Max Q was.

I remember seeing fire coming out of the side of one SRB and thinking "They don't do that." just before all hell broke loose.

Years later I was talking Challenger with some Thiokol engineers who were guests at my school.  Roger Boisjoly (pronounced Bo-zho-lay)was with them (though by that time he had long since resigned from Thiokol).  I had absolutely no clue how important he was at the time.  Face-to-face with me was the man who tried in vain to get the launch scrubbed because he didn't trust the o-rings in such cold weather.


Oh what the heck.  I'll copypasta what I wrote at slashdot after Roger Boisjoly passed away:

When I was in 4th Grade, I had the good fortune to meet Boisjoly and a couple of other engineers from Thiokol. It wasn't like meeting a national celebrity or anything because I grew up in Brigham City, Utah, which is close enough to Thiokol that you can see the smoke plumes from booster tests rise up over the western mountains.

At my school, a group of fellow students and I had the opportunity to hold a demo model o-ring just like the ones used to join the booster segments. These demo units were just the ones that didn't pass muster for actual use. The group and I held one o-ring spread out in a full circle and nearly covered the entire floor of the classroom. They're huge and didn't feel like the household o-rings I was used to. I could definitely see something like that getting stiff or brittle at low temperatures. My memory is hazy, but I'd almost compare it to a Neoprene type feel.

I mentioned Challenger and how I learned about the o-rings (my grandpa, who also got me started in Electronics, told me about it). The engineers seemed surprised that a ten year old kid would know, let alone care, about that kind of thing.

Among the other visual aids the engineers brought, there was a piece of spongy SRB fuel with a couple of ingredients missing so as to make it inert. It was Boisjoly who calmed me down after I was angry with myself for breaking the piece in half while checking the flexibility of the material to see just how sponge-like it was.

For years after that, while still living in Brigham City, I got to see booster segments passing through town (can't take the freeway) on the way to Thiokol (now ATK) on the back of massive semi trailers with police escorts and utility workers leading the pack with tall poles on the front of their work trucks to make sure the lines over the roads would physically clear the booster and then holding the wires out of the way if there wasn't enough clearance. I always thought back to holding that o-ring and how truly massive it was.
I only ever saw one booster test and that was back in 2003. The dead-silence for the first few seconds (speed of sound, you know?) is eerie. After that, even from over a mile away, the noise hits you like a freight train. Those o-rings are charged with holding back a truly ridiculous amount of force.
 
2014-01-18 02:17:31 PM  

edenza: We had a snow day. My mother was prone to High Drama so I was just about to eat lunch when she came running through the house yelling that the Space Shuttle had blown up. I ate my toasted cheese sandwich, then went to go see if it was true or a plotline on Y&R.


We also had a snow day (9th grade). I was home by myself though.
 
2014-01-18 02:19:16 PM  
First Grade. PE hour. My teacher walked out of the Teacher's Lounge to tell us the news.
 
2014-01-18 02:26:39 PM  
5th grade. Must have been raining or snowy in NY that day because recess was inside and we were watching projector cartoons. I was sitting in the last row of the auditorium and heard the principal come in and quietly tell the janitor "it blew up...about ten miles up". I knew something was wrong and when we got back to class there was already a TV in there.

I remember the theories tossed around. One of them was terrorism by Libya.
 
2014-01-18 02:33:46 PM  
On my way to a funeral.

/bought the dead guy's house
 
2014-01-18 02:34:37 PM  

tripleseven: 5th grade. Must have been raining or snowy in NY that day because recess was inside and we were watching projector cartoons. I was sitting in the last row of the auditorium and heard the principal come in and quietly tell the janitor "it blew up...about ten miles up". I knew something was wrong and when we got back to class there was already a TV in there.

I remember the theories tossed around. One of them was terrorism by Libya.


I'll add that later that day my best friend and I got into a fistfight on Tue bus home. I remember he got the best of me too...I was sitting outside on my porch because I was a little worked up from the fight and probably was crying. My brother came home and made fun of me for crying and I told him I was upset about the shuttle. That only made him taunt me more.

I was a huge NASA nerd at the time.
 
2014-01-18 02:38:46 PM  
I saw it happen from outside my classroom at Titusville High School just across the lagoon from the Kennedy Space Center launch pad. My dad was a NASA engineer. Lots of our parents worked there.

Not a good day.
 
2014-01-18 02:41:43 PM  
Could've sworn it was a Monday morning but a quick Google check says Tuesday. I was 29, about 2 miles from work (small AM country station) and still pissed that the Patriots had gotten their ass handed to them by the Bears in the Superb Owl a couple days prior. We just ran the CBS radio feed the better part of the afternoon.
 
2014-01-18 02:53:15 PM  
  I was 26, sitting at home, and watching the launch on tv.  When Mission Control said, "go for throttle up", I said "OK", and took my eyes off the screen to reload my pot pipe; so I didn't actually see the explosion.  I heard the static and looked up to see the ball of smoke and booster rockets.  I immediatly knew what happened.  Needless to say, I couldn't light the pipe, and instantly lost my buzz.
 
2014-01-18 02:58:08 PM  
I was in 5th grade at Cheney Elementary in Orlando, Florida.  It was extraordinarily cold, so for whatever reason, the girls stayed inside while the boys went outside to play football.  As we played, we saw the shuttle go up.  When a launch went up in Central Florida back then, the world practically stopped.  It kept going and going, and then there was this red-orange poof, cough, where the smoke trail just got larger.  The boosters twisted every which way around.  We must have stood there a good five minutes.  None of us, save the PE coach, of course, really understood exactly what happened.  There was a sense of an explosion, but we believed everyone was safe, because we could see trails of something coming from the cloud...what one of us took to be parachutes.  The idea of dead astronauts never once occurred to us.

I guess out of a sense of what to do next, the coach made us finish the football game, then we went back in. I had Mrs. Hudson for 5th grade.  The boys walked in the room, and all of them, including that old little black woman, had been or were crying.  I honestly don't remember what happened the rest of the school day, but I do remember watching Reagan's speech that night on television.

And all of it came rushing back some 20 years later when I was expecting the sonic boom over my head from Columbia, and it never came.
 
2014-01-18 03:07:51 PM  
The way I remember it is: I was a sophomore in HS just making my way to lunch, and it was announced over the school's PA. Everyone, students, teachers and staff, were just stunned. I'm pretty sure that's all accurate. What I'm not sure about is whether they wheeled the TV carts into the classrooms to watch the endless replays or if that was at home later or the next day or whatever. I do remember that whenever/wherever I ended up seeing and hearing it, I felt really, really bad for the guy who kept reading off the numbers well after it was obvious that it was gone. To this day I cannot watch that footage without welling up.
 
2014-01-18 03:11:02 PM  

Worst Name I Ever Heard: The way I remember it is: I was a sophomore in HS just making my way to lunch, and it was announced over the school's PA. Everyone, students, teachers and staff, were just stunned. I'm pretty sure that's all accurate. What I'm not sure about is whether they wheeled the TV carts into the classrooms to watch the endless replays or if that was at home later or the next day or whatever. I do remember that whenever/wherever I ended up seeing and hearing it, I felt really, really bad for the guy who kept reading off the numbers well after it was obvious that it was gone. To this day I cannot watch that footage without welling up.


It's funny you mention the announcer.  The announcer was based out of Houston.  When Challenger went up that day, Johnson Space Center actually hadn't turned the screens for a video feed of the launch.  The shuttle was routine.  He was reading numbers of telemetry that was based off information from the boosters and data from right before the explosion.  He had to be told by Kennedy that there was "obviously a major malfunction."
 
2014-01-18 03:39:07 PM  
I was working the first year (of five years) as a social worker in New York City for an agency that provided recreation and social services for autistic children and adults.  Our agency shared space at a large church building with a Board of Education school program for autistic elementary school children.  The head teacher came into our office very distraught that the shuttle which had a teacher on board just blew up. Had to wait until I went home to see the video of it on TV.  Of course if that happened today at work, we'd be running to our computers and smartphones (and FARK) to get the latest news/video and of course commentary. Times have changed. For the better?
 
2014-01-18 03:57:37 PM  
3rd grade... closest school to Johnson Space Center, maybe half a mile away.. Most of the astronauts younger kids went to our school, or the school 3 blocks away... (all astronauts not just the ones on the Challenger)
We watched it live, we could get the closed circuit feed from NASA...
I remember us not understanding what happened, and our principal got on the speaker and told all teachers to turn off the tv's.
Grew up close enough to NASA that every kid in this area had at least one parent that worked on site or as a contractor.

Friend went to the school with Onizukas daughter (she skipped going to this launch, she apparently had gone to the previous one), he remembers everyone watching in the cafeteria, it happened, he heard high heels, and three women scooped Darian Onizuka up and took her to the office.
 
2014-01-18 04:15:51 PM  
My story isn't so much about where I was. Local teacher (at the time, went on to be a principal) Robert Forester, one of the finalists is/was a friend and running partner. Adding to the emotions I felt was the realization that he could easily have been the one.
 
2014-01-18 04:16:34 PM  
I was in HS watching it in the school library on a break.

The understatement of the century from a female TV voice, presumably part of NASA staff:

"We have an anomaly."
 
2014-01-18 04:24:49 PM  

painless42: I was in 5th grade. My class wasn't watching but another class was. One of the other teachers came in to our room and told my teacher what had happened loud enough for the kids in the front to hear and when it got back to me in the back of the class, being a huge NASA fanboy and 10 year old "expert" on these things, I told the kid in the next seat that he'd heard wrong and that the challenger blowing up was impossible.

I also remember that one of the 5th grade teachers had had a dream the night before that it had blown up and everyone thought it was creepy and pre-cognitive, though in fairness in 5th grade you don't know anything about probability.

Also remember very vividly all the horrid jokes we told:

What does NASA stand for? Need Another Seven Astronauts

Where was Christa McAuliffe's last vacation? All over Florida?

What was Christa McAuliffe's last words to her husband? "You feed the dog, I'll feed the fish"

/A paychiatrist would say that Gallows Humor is an appropriate coping mechanism for tragedy

//I just think 10 year old boys are insensitive little jerks

///at least I was a jerk in the 80s and was allowed to mature into a functional adult. In 2014, my 10 year old self would be sent to sensitivity training and receive death threats after being outed and shamed on Gawker or jezebel for making cracks like that.


It's sad how far we've fallen
 
2014-01-18 04:37:44 PM  

unyon: MmmmBacon: I was sitting in Computer Science class, senior year of High School. When the announcement came of the disaster, and the teacher asked if we knew anything about this particular mission, I was the only student in class that knew a teacher was among the crew.

I had just finished my grade 12 English exam and was heading home for lunch when I heard it in the car.

/Grad '86 represent


Was sitting in Law & Justice class, senior year of high school - a student knocked on the door, the teacher answered it, went RUNNING ass over teakettle to the other side of the room to roll over a TV on a tall stand and turned the news report on... we all watched in mostly stunned silence.

Was a pretty quiet at school the rest of the day.
 
2014-01-18 04:38:35 PM  
At work. Detachment 2 at Onizuka Air Force Base. Except it was called Sunnyvale Air Force Base at the time (or just the "Blue Cube").

One of the saddest days I've ever personally experienced in my life.

//dammit. Pass the kleenex. :(
 
2014-01-18 04:49:14 PM  

austin_millbarge: Senior year in HS, was the only day of HS I stayed home sick. Turned on the TV specifically to watch the launch. I didn't move from the sofa all day.

After reading some of the reactions other people posted, about stores being ghost towns and businesses shutting down etc made me realize something. If this happened today, how little anyone would care. The general public knows so little about and seems to be so ambivalent regarding our space program efforts. I guess it's the result of the newness of the space program wearing off or perhaps it just isn't emphasized in schools like it was when I was young.

Would love to see the public fall in love with space again. It's a worthwhile endeavor.


First we'll have to fall in love with science again, then maybe we can do the same for space exploration a little further down the road.  Remember NASA doing the pumpkin carving contest and posting an exhibit last Halloween for school kids to come check out?  They put up a video online as well, if you haven't seen it.  Anyway, about half the comments on that video were people herpa-derping about how these people should be in jail for wasting tax dollars on things like this, how they serve no purpose for Murika, how we haven't gained anything of value from the program, etc.  Until that mentality passes, we aren't going anywhere.  And I think we'll have to hit rock bottom before we collectively realize that outlawing abortions and putting Jayzus in schools was a one-way ticket to a permanent sh*t economy and rampant social problems.
 
2014-01-18 05:14:52 PM  
On patrol on the Korean DMZ, we went on alert immediately upon hearing the news.
 
2014-01-18 06:18:27 PM  

powhound: edenza: We had a snow day. My mother was prone to High Drama so I was just about to eat lunch when she came running through the house yelling that the Space Shuttle had blown up. I ate my toasted cheese sandwich, then went to go see if it was true or a plotline on Y&R.

We also had a snow day (9th grade). I was home by myself though.


There was another poster here also in SW PA who mentioned the snow day. It was also the 16th birthday of one of my BFFs. We'd planned to go do something but the snow shut that all down.
 
2014-01-18 06:26:17 PM  
El Paso, Texas. Fourth grade. I was a nerdy little kid and the gifted class was in the library to watch the launch. I still remember the librarian, Mrs. Warnock, as a friend. I'd had a friend, Sunshine, who I knew was ill, but my parents never actually mentioned it to me when she died and it was Mrs. Warnock who actually told me.

So that was what I learned at the library.
 
2014-01-18 06:27:47 PM  
I was in class.

/first grade.
 
2014-01-18 06:45:33 PM  
Third grade, standing in lunch line.  After the excitement built up about the video footage McAuliffe was going to be sending us kids, it felt weird to be told in a matter of fact manner just before being handed our food.  We were all excited one moment then just 'Hey, that teacher died, so we'll be doing normal work when we get back to class' kind of change.  The teacher just went on with the day like nothing really happened.  It was years later before I saw the footage of the incident.
 
2014-01-18 06:58:11 PM  
I was a junior in high school, the stage manager of the theater department, working in the back room building something while the rest of the class was watching the launch on TV.  A kid came back and said "Hey--the space shuttle just blew up."  I said "What?  Stop kidding around."  He was all "No--really--it did."

I went out to the main classroom full of shocked and silent kids, watched the replay, and felt a sense of shock I had never felt, and only surpassed by 9/11.  I wept a little for the lost lives, the realization America can make mistakes, and the anger I immediately felt that when the whole story came out we'd hear about shiatty engineering and shiatty political decisions.

History and facts proved my initial reaction correct--the single O-ring and the forced sub-freezing launch were known hazards that backfired epically.  There was no logical reason for the disaster.
 
2014-01-18 07:22:15 PM  
Wow, the guys trolling this thread are sooooo edgy.
 
2014-01-18 07:22:34 PM  
A friend of mine and I were returning to our high school to visit with the librarian. He'd done some artwork on the walls and he wanted to show me how it came out.

I remember looking at the flag at half-mast in the courtyard and thinking to myself, "That's odd."  Neither of us had any idea what had happened until we went into the library..  I remember the librarian was in tears, and I remember her telling us something to the effect that she'd competed to be on that flight...that she'd been a bit jealous of the teacher that had made it.

Funny, I have no other recollection of that day.  I don't remember leaving the library, what we did afterward...nothing..but I remember that flag...
 
2014-01-18 07:41:52 PM  

leeto2: A friend of mine and I were returning to our high school to visit with the librarian. He'd done some artwork on the walls and he wanted to show me how it came out.

I remember looking at the flag at half-mast in the courtyard and thinking to myself, "That's odd."  Neither of us had any idea what had happened until we went into the library..  I remember the librarian was in tears, and I remember her telling us something to the effect that she'd competed to be on that flight...that she'd been a bit jealous of the teacher that had made it.

Funny, I have no other recollection of that day.  I don't remember leaving the library, what we did afterward...nothing..but I remember that flag...


At least a polar bear didn't fall on ya.
 
2014-01-18 07:52:45 PM  
I worked for Ma Bell, we had a live lead to the lift off.

The explosion.

My reaction: Holy fark, they're dead.

My co-workers: fark you, you sick bastid, What is wrong with you?

History bears me out. I no longer work with soulless troglodytes.

/Don't vote for this, just remember that peopled died; people will always die when the government goes with the lowest bidder...

//RIP Chaffee, White and Grissom
 
2014-01-18 08:30:20 PM  
On the bus coming home from 3rd grade. I heard it on the radio. I was hugely interested in spaceflight and science in general and was pretty crushed.
 
2014-01-18 08:33:52 PM  
sub,

I was in the 4th grade watching Pinocchio at the Florida Theater in Jacksonville.  We frolicked on the boardwalk after hand even though the digital clock on the office tower across the river read 27 degrees Fahrenheit.  The sky was clear, and I saw cloud to the south (I was a budding geographer) that l would now say looked liked Sideshow Bob's hair.  We went to McDonalds, and afterward, my mom came to tell the Challenger blew up.  The rest of the day was spent watching the explosion over and over on TV.
 
2014-01-18 09:17:45 PM  
Hubby and I were home because school had been called off. It was -29F at the house and the wind was blowing about 40 mph. We were watching the sliding glass doors bend in and trying to keep the wood stove red hot. NC mountains.
I was in the back of the house and heard him yell "Look at this!"
Got to the TV in time to see the debris spiraling down.
Remember thinking, why the heck did they launch on such a farking cold day?
FWIW, I remember Kennedy being shot, and MacArthur being fired. And I didn't like Ike.
 
2014-01-18 09:38:13 PM  
I was a bit too young to *really* understand (3rd grade), but in retrospect at age 35, I find it terribly saddening.  All that work and pride, and training for that teacher, who was probably so excited she couldn't contain herself.  All for nothing 20 seconds later.

Reagan's Speech is one I'll never forget.
 
2014-01-18 09:39:48 PM  
I can hardly believe I just found this while cleaning house today.  I drew it in Kindergarten.  Refer to my TL;DR CSB post above for context.

I redacted personal info, hence the black bars.  The notes along the righthand side were written by my Mom.

The orbiter isn't visible because I needed a place to write "SPACE SHUTTLE".  The flames coming from the ET are supposed to be the main engines.  The poorly-drawn and chunky SRBs aren't lit because it's supposed to be on the ground.  And I was five.

The paper is covered by a sheet of adhesive-back plastic that wasn't archive quality.

www.lovenotedigital.com
 
2014-01-18 09:40:02 PM  
I was 2 months short of being born when Kennedy was killed. I was old enough to register the RFK and MLK assassinations. I remember the Moon Landing. I remember Vietnam and the protests fairly well. Watergate is quite clear to me. I heard about and imagined the horrors of Apollo I and remember the suspense of Apollo 13.

This one I remember all too well. I was at work, listening to the radio in the back of the bakery. Stunned. Most of my work was done, since baking is the early morning part of the job, and I was cleaning up the kitchen and getting ready to head home. I agree, in some ways, that this really was a bookend to 9/11, but not quite the same thing.

Other than the dead astronauts, and their families, I feel worst for Roger Boisjoly, who tried to stop the launch and failed. What a horrible feeling he must have had as that launched, the relief that the O rings didn't fail during launch, then the total pain that the disaster followed only a minute later.
 
2014-01-18 09:47:00 PM  
7th grade, I think. Didn't see it live, was told after. I don't remember having any meaningful reaction, which is a little odd because as a youngster I was all about space and rockets and whatnot.

A number of years later a friend introduced me to this album. I have the strangest attachment to it.
 
2014-01-18 09:49:43 PM  
Grade 7 Strathcona School in Owen Sound.  Now I feel old.
 
2014-01-18 10:12:15 PM  

edenza: powhound: edenza: We had a snow day. My mother was prone to High Drama so I was just about to eat lunch when she came running through the house yelling that the Space Shuttle had blown up. I ate my toasted cheese sandwich, then went to go see if it was true or a plotline on Y&R.

We also had a snow day (9th grade). I was home by myself though.

There was another poster here also in SW PA who mentioned the snow day. It was also the 16th birthday of one of my BFFs. We'd planned to go do something but the snow shut that all down.


I lived in western NY (Jamestown) at that time. Snow days were fairly rare, so it must have been quite the system going through, assuming that it was basically the same storm affecting western PA.
 
2014-01-18 10:13:28 PM  

WTFDYW: At least a polar bear didn't fall on ya.


erm...I confess I don't get the joke. sorry.
 
2014-01-18 10:21:52 PM  
I was at home watching 2001 on HBO. My Mom came in to the living room and told me to turn on the news. Kind of eerie.
 
2014-01-18 10:26:18 PM  
I was in first grade, and we were in our classroom watching the launch on television together. Of course, like every other kid in America, we'd all voted for our own teacher to be part of the TISP and everyone was excited to see the teacher who'd won actually get to go. I don't think any of us (even our teachers) immediately recognized what had happened when we saw it happen. It didn't really sink in until whoever was doing the commentary actually said it, and then folks were speculating about how we thought we'd maybe seen a parachute, so maybe there could be a survivor. There wasn't any real panic to turn off the televisions or anything, which I'd imagine you might see today if there was a group of first graders watching something like that. I remember being in disbelief and that some of the teachers were crying. I don't remember a lot from that age, but I remember that very vividly.
 
2014-01-18 10:29:52 PM  

Evil Canadian: Roger Boisjoly


Had to look him up. Brave man indeed. From his Wiki entry--Boisjoly died on January 6, 2012, of cancer of the colon, kidneys, and liver.

Jesus.
 
2014-01-18 10:29:59 PM  
I was taking a "day off" from high school, and I was in a used bookstore when I first head about it. Was perusing the Sci-Fi stuff when I heard something strange on the radio in the store. When I asked the shopkeeper, he said, "Didn't you hear the shuttle blew up?"

I sort of creeped out the shopkeeper after that, because I just stood there for half an hour, staring at and listening to the radio, not moving at all.  I wasn't even aware I was doing that until he jostled me out of it.  It was one of those days that changed everything around you, even if your life hadn't really been affected by it.  The only thing that I could really feel was that the future had been changed... and died a bit.
 
2014-01-18 10:40:12 PM  

leeto2: WTFDYW: At least a polar bear didn't fall on ya.

erm...I confess I don't get the joke. sorry.


Watch Roadhouse. All the way to the end.
 
2014-01-18 11:08:17 PM  
Dad was driving me to school. We got pulled over by a cop for speeding.  My Dad explained to the cop we just got off the freeway a half block before and didn't have the distance to get going fast enough to speed in our Datsun.  The cop said that he was shaken up by the shuttle explosion and may have picked the wrong car and let us go.  We weren't listening to the radio and didn't know until then.  My Dad was really upset at the news. He worked for TRW forever and was proud of his contributions to all things spacey since the 60's.

It was so crazy... at that point it had seemed like a routine thing that didn't mean staying home to watch. Of course it would be fine. Just another mission. Watching the news that night, and the replay over and over... ugh.
 
2014-01-18 11:11:59 PM  
I was in junior high, watching the launch in History class.  What was so creepily ironic was that,our teacher, Ms. Kelley, was a finalist teacher to go up.  Her physical testings brought her in a few seconds shy of Christa McAulliffe's, thus keeping her earthbound.  I remember the absolute quiet the most, and all of us just stunned.
 
2014-01-18 11:57:23 PM  
At the hard end of a Physics / Biophysics Degree. The disaster occurred early in the morning local time, and I took the news to the University. Very few other students had heard the news that morning and were as shocked and saddened as I on that day.

I went in to the Study room, "Did you see that the Challenger exploded this morning?"
Most of them, "Can not have happened, it did not happen, come on you are joking".
Me, "It happened".

Then we found a TV (at the Uni bar) and were all saddened together. Many beers were had.
 
2014-01-18 11:57:48 PM  
In between classes in college we were watching The Price is Right when the program was interrupted byt the pictures of the explosion.  We were in the altered state of mind that we had to watch it over and over to understand the seriousnes of whqt wqw going on.   We were blown by what we has seen.  It scared the crap out of us
 
2014-01-19 12:16:38 AM  
I was working at Computer Sciences Corporation, and was supposed to give an interview at 10 am that day.  I saw a tiny picture on the CNN website after the first tower got hit, and couldn't get any updates after that.  Finally was told it was on TV down the hall, and just watched in amazement as it was repeated over and over.
 
2014-01-19 12:41:03 AM  
I was three months old, and being admitted to the hospital with bronchitis.

So I don't really remember it.
 
2014-01-19 01:28:55 AM  
In 1997 I got a job as a technical writer for a corporation located in Winston-Salem, NC. I shared a cubicle with a guy who genuinely was one of the nicest, most capable individuals I have ever been lucky enough to meet. His computer's screen saver was that iconic photo of the explosion. I waited a long time before I got enough courage to ask him why he was using *that* pic. He told me that on the morning of that launch, he was exceedingly drunk (as he often was since he was in the grip of alcoholism at the time) and playing around in a stairwell somewhere, swinging on railings and such. But at some point he lost his grip and fell very badly, breaking a thoracic vertebrae. He was on a hospital gurney in a hallway outside the ER for most of that day, trapped into watching the endlessly repeating loop of explosion footage. He said that was the day he decided his life was on the wrong path and he decided to get sober. He used that photo to remind himself of that decision, and to keep himself focused. I frankly admired this guy. I didn't stay at that job long and lost contact with him, but I wish him only the best.
 
2014-01-19 01:39:25 AM  
I was released from Pima County Jail in Tucson (don't ask) that morning. Driving to Las Vegas when I turned on the radio and heard the news. One of the strangest days of my life.
 
2014-01-19 02:02:37 AM  
Had just gotten back a month earlier from 2 yrs of working Middle East.  Was in an Barrington, IL engineering office looking for a little work moonlighting as a surveyor.  Can't remember the name of the company, but all the office staff and myself stood around watching it on live TV.  Still remember Mission Command continue to act like everything was going as planned as the rocket exploded and the two boosters took off on their own.
 
2014-01-19 06:46:39 AM  
6th grade, i found out after school on the news (best i can remember)
 
2014-01-19 07:54:36 AM  

Maturin: Interesting, most of us who remember seeing broadcasts from that day recall seeing it on live TV. But that shuttle launch was one of the first not broadcast on network television and most of us saw replays.


It was covered live by one television network - CNN.

Took me years to figure out why I was ta my aunt's house watching it and not my own (we didn't have school that day due to snow), and then when someone pointed out that only CNN was showing it live, it made sense. My aunt was the only person we knew who had cable TV.

orezona: NASA didn't realize there would be a problem and decided to launch anyway.


Morton Thiokol knew, and chose not to recommend a launch scrub. Roger Boisjoly told the higher ups at MT that O-rings would fail. After being ignored, he kept telling them, until they set up a 'task force' that had no power. All the way through late 1985, he kept telling MT management that the likelihood was that the mission would end in disaster.

Eventually they had a conference call with NASA, and Morton Thiokol was of the position that the O-rings would fail and the flight should be delayed, but during the call MT asked for a few minutes offline to discuss their final position. They came back with saying that the data was inconclusive (their charts indicated failure at something like 50 degrees, and it was far colder that night in Florida). NASA asked if there were objections to launching, and Morton Thiokol didn't object. Boisjoly eventually testified before Congress, and it ended his career because his colleagues shunned him for having told the truth.
 
2014-01-19 08:17:54 AM  
We immediately went to red alert and raised shields.
 
2014-01-19 09:23:11 AM  
I was living in Florida at the time, and in 3rd grade. Ironically, it had gotten so cold the night before and that morning, that school had been canceled because the schools water main had burst. I found this disappointing, because we were going to watch the shuttle launch that day because of the teacher going into space, so I turned on the tv to the launch so I could watch. No one else was in the room when the shuttle blew.

When it happened I ran outside to tell my mom who was doing laundry, but she thought that I had just misinterpreted what I was seeing. It wasn't till I dragged her inside to see for herself that she believed it. She immediately became rooted to the spot, so I ran outside and climbed the tallest tree we had to the very top (some 75-100 feet) and looked in the appropriate direction. Sure enough, I saw the smoke column way off in the distance.

Ordinarily this would be the end of the tale, but that summer, we moved to Salt Lake City. Which is where Morton Thiokol, makers of the faulty rocket boosters that caused the explosion, were based. For the next 6-10 years, I got to see all the news reports covering progress on the new shuttle boosters, and got to see the tests with my own eyes from my yard, (they would lay the test boosters down in an enormous cradle built for the purpose on the mountainside, and light it off. Which was cool, but always made you wonder what you'd spend the next little while breathing.) even went on a tour of the place when they started giving them in an effort to rehabilitate their public image.

It was my first lesson in the consequences of corporate greed. A shuttle destroyed, a crew of 7 national heroes who didn't just die, but died badly, an enormous blow to national pride, the setting back of our space program for a decade, and all because the company didn't want to have to pay for a redesign/replacement for a part they knew damned-well was faulty.
 
2014-01-19 11:22:23 AM  
It's interesting how important it is for some people to share what they were doing when an event they are unconnected to happened. Often times, your memories are inaccurate. So, essentially, this thread is a bunch of strangers sharing flawed memories.

In other words, the event was interesting. You watching TV is not.
 
2014-01-19 12:51:43 PM  

The First Four Black Sabbath Albums: It's interesting how important it is for some people to share what they were doing when an event they are unconnected to happened.


Wow, you're awesome.  You do know that a) the thread had asked for that, and b) that a lot of people who posted did have some connection to the event.  Right?
 
2014-01-19 12:54:45 PM  

Broktun: The class went to the library to watch the news. . .it had the only TV in the school.


Sort of like my experience with 9/11.  We were at work, and Betty in the next cubicle over had the Today show on her radio (can you even still do that?).  She told us what they said, so one of us (I think it was probably Trish) called the maintenance man to wheel the only TV in the company from the training room into our suite.  We turned it on a few seconds after it turned 9:03.  For the rest of the day our room was the gathering spot for everyone from the company president to the mailroom people.

I think we turned the TV off around 3pm the next day.

\we had a couple of people at whichever MCC campus was the triage center
\\one of the execs was on his way to an investor meeting...with a company that didn't exist by the time he got there.
\\\and a HS friend worked for Marsh & McLennan... I doubt she felt a thing.
 
2014-01-19 01:40:24 PM  
I remember my fifth grade teacher being called into the hallway, which wasn't an unusual thing. Then she told us. I don't think I saw footage until that night on the news. I remember I was one of the kids who had some understanding the depth of the tragedy and feeling kind of numb. Of course, there were the few kids in my class who laughed until the teacher cut them in half with her glare. I really didn't like that woman, but it didn't matter at that moment.
 
2014-01-19 04:04:38 PM  
I didn't see it, probably rubbing one out.
 
2014-01-19 06:29:48 PM  
443rd Civil Engineering Squadron, Altus AFB OK

My boss a year later was a former rescue helicopter pilot who was the first on-scene commander. Said he tried looking for survivors in the water but had to leave the area because too much debris was still falling out of the sky.
 
2014-01-19 08:42:38 PM  
My partner and I pulled over our furniture delivery truck to watch it in Winter Park Fl (near Orlando) like we usually did any time a shuttle went off. It was a pretty cold morning by Florida standards. We were listening to the AM broadcast on the radio. The moment it exploded there was a split second of static thru the speakers, then the fireball. We rushed to our next customer and told them to turn on the TV. That vapor trail and explosion cloud was visible almost all day.
 
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