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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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13081 clicks; posted to Main » on 18 Jan 2014 at 8:36 AM (31 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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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.
 
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