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(Some Guy)   17 years ago today, Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after take-off   ( divider line
    More: Sad  
•       •       •

5290 clicks; posted to Main » on 28 Jan 2003 at 1:05 PM (15 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

303 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-01-28 01:23:20 PM  
One of those moments in time when you actually feel history in the making... I was at work and this guy had the radio on. I'll never forget watching his face change as the news hit. "Check it out," he said, "the space shuttle launched a few minutes ago. It blew up." Shock rippling through the office. "The astronauts?" someone asked. He listened for a few mor moments, then just shook his head. -- We stayed at work, but everything pretty much came to a standstill for the rest of the day.
2003-01-28 01:23:38 PM  
I was working as an engineering intern for United Technologies, Space and Sea systems division. They make the space suite (Extravehicular Mobility Unit).

Was a sad day.
What a way to start a career...
2003-01-28 01:23:38 PM  
I remember the day well, I was at the local church, getting fondled by an elder, when I heard the news. I began to cry, so the elder "comforted" me a little more. What a sad day indeed... Assclowns.
2003-01-28 01:23:41 PM  
I was working at KMTN in Jackson Hole. The only station I've worked for that had a TV in the studio...was watching the lift-off, etc. For the rest of my shift I had people coming in off the street to watch the TV. Drove me frickin' nuts!

"Trying to do a show here, people!"
2003-01-28 01:23:50 PM  
Eh. In the grand scheme of things it was unfortunate, perhaps sad, but realisitically, it was a non-incident. 7 people. BFD. We lose more than that in traffic accidents most days in Philly. Y'all only remember what you were doing because the media seized upon the theme that had been created in response to the whole Kennedy "where were you when" thing and fixed it in your mind. Where was I at the time? Hell if I know...somewhere in Saudi Arabia throwing rocks at camels, probably.
2003-01-28 01:24:01 PM  
I had a similar experience as
2003-01-28 01:24:25 PM  
Standingon the beachin Cocoa Beach. Very cold day. My friedns worked on (and still do) the shuttle systems. Not funny here, never was. Lots of those folks still blame themselves. Suicides, depression, alcoholism, you name it....
Still feel like joking about seven brave souls trying to do their best for their country now ass-hats?
2003-01-28 01:24:36 PM  
17 years? I would have been two. I don't remember it, but I know that it was a real shame. It seems to me that Astronauts are our only real, honest-to-God heros these days. So here's to them! Boldly going where no one has gone before!
2003-01-28 01:25:19 PM  
I guess I'm part of the "older" crowd. I was a Senior in High School, and we didn't get to watch it on TV. During second period, the room speaker came on with an announcement. We were told that the space shuttle had exploded. I forget if there were any other details, I just remember the room getting awfully silent.

"Thankfully", the news replayed the explosion about a billion times that night. It's a sight that'll definately never be forgotten. :-(

"Now you never did see such a terrible thing
As was seen last night on TV
Maybe if we're lucky, they will show it again
Such a terrible thing to see"
    -- Genesis, "Domino"
2003-01-28 01:25:30 PM  
Seventh grade. I remember I was in computer lab, surrounded by Tandy machines running Logo with a turtle as a cursor for the CLI.

We had the TV on in the room and were all watching. Withing minutes, other teachers who had just heard the news were running to our TV crying. Sad day.
2003-01-28 01:25:57 PM  
I was a freshman in h.s., sitting in the school library during lunch, screwing around with some friends instead of studying for a test we all put off studying for. One of the librarians wheeled out a tv and turned it on, and we watched all the replays, just minutes after it happened. I remember we were all shocked into silence. After lunch had come and gone, the librarian finally sent us off to class about 10 minutes late, and we were the first ones to tell our classmates and teacher.
Anyway, I guess that is pretty boring, but for me it was very memorable, and very sad. I will always remember it.

The space program rocks, though. We ought to have a base on the moon now, and we should be on the way to Mars.
2003-01-28 01:26:11 PM  
Remember it like it was yesterday. I was in my car, turning into the parking lot on my way to geology class. I was the first to know in my class and passed the news around.

I remember Lennon too. I got in the car after work and was wondering why there was so much Lennon music playing. I remember even thinking "What...did he die or something?" Swear to god I thought that.

How about when Elvis went? I was working in a grocery store. Our courtesy desk girl (Tana) told me.

I was even around for Kennedy, but I was only 3 (go ahead, do the math) so I don't remember anything about it.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Alton.
2003-01-28 01:26:22 PM  
Wow. I haven't thought of that day in a while.

I was home stoned out of my mind watching it live on TV when it happened. I could not believe my eyes when it exploded after launch. Sobered me right up.

2003-01-28 01:26:24 PM  
I watched it live while I was in 10th grade in Daytona Beach. I was about 40 miles away, very clear to see.

I still remember the 'strange looking' exhaust plume, one that I hadn't seen before.

Then came the jokes: favorite drink? 7-up, etc.
2003-01-28 01:26:35 PM  
I was in 3rd grade at Elm Creek Elementary School in Maple Grove, MN. They repeated the video about 500 times before they sent us home.
2003-01-28 01:26:49 PM  
Punch line central....

Honey, you feed the dog I'll feed the fish
One blew this way one blew that way
Need another seven astraunts (NASA)
Now accepting seven applications (NASA)
The black guy was freebasing
The oriental was driving
2003-01-28 01:26:55 PM  
I was incredibly stoked after having just gotten one of these.
[image from too old to be available]
Still have it too:)
2003-01-28 01:27:09 PM  
I remember sitting in the first grade classroom (I was in second) watching it with all of first and second grade and a half dozen teachers. When it blew up, most of us didn't understand the significance. We all saw the teachers crying, but weren't sure exactly why. The innocence of the young mind.

That was one of those things I'll never forget.
2003-01-28 01:27:52 PM  
I was about to take a Biology exam when the school announced the accident. We were sent home. Incidentally, the Memorial to the Challenger was supposed to be at the USA pavillion at Expo 86, but all they had were their pictures and the date of the explosion etched onto a plaque.
2003-01-28 01:27:59 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
/express train to hell
2003-01-28 01:29:00 PM  
I was about 7 when this happened. I don't remember anything else from that far back, but I do remember the Challenger accident. We weren't watching live, but someone came in and told the teacher about it. She immediately put the TV on, and we spent the rest of the day watching the news about it. I remember the two years without shuttle flights, and I remember watching the first new takeoff live once flights were resumed.

My generation now has two disasters that will remain forever in our minds--the Challenger incident, and the WTC attack. Then again, we also have the tearing-down of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
2003-01-28 01:29:05 PM  
[image from too old to be available]

the O-rings were farked up
2003-01-28 01:29:12 PM  
3rd grade, teacher from other homeroom called us over to see what happened...sorta morbid, really.
2003-01-28 01:29:18 PM  
4th grade..teacher cried.

I remember the the "jokes" that came after it too.

something about "head and shoulders"

\to hell I go dum dee dum
2003-01-28 01:29:21 PM  
I was home sick from school. All of a sudden they break into The Price Is Right.

Asshats never did tell me who won the Showcase Showdown.
2003-01-28 01:29:55 PM  
Yea, on my birthday. Thanks for the reminder.

Its mine too... happy birthday.
2003-01-28 01:30:20 PM  
Litig8r: I'd agree with you on principle, but I remember that we'd made a really big deal about a teacher going into space and all our classes had space themes and all this stuff, so the launch was a big deal at our school. All that buildup ending with the death of a person we'd been really almost idolizing until that point was a pretty serious shock.
2003-01-28 01:30:38 PM  
Webalina: Re: Lennon - just like when Jerry Garcia died - It was like non-stop Grateful Dead music for what seemed like weeks!! (not that this is really a bad thing... but variety is the spice of life)
2003-01-28 01:30:39 PM  
I was in the Army, stationed in Germany. Watched it on tv at a friend's house.
We all kinda went numb. Like, "this can't be what I'm seeing".
Sad, sad day.
2003-01-28 01:32:49 PM  
WTF Ironbar. I usually look forward to your posts, but jesus, where is the humor?
2003-01-28 01:33:31 PM  
I havent thought about this in years...
I still have the mission patch from that flight.
2003-01-28 01:33:48 PM  
Phong3d: I suppose you are correct. The troubles I really have with the entire thing are i) the whole "hero" designation; ii) the constant coverage; iii) the teachers crying thing (that one in particular); iv) and the fact that everyone who "witnessed" it was gifted with an associate victim status.
2003-01-28 01:33:58 PM  
Agreed, Phong3d. People who weren't involved in elementary schools at that time probably don't really grasp what a really big deal the teacher in space program was to us. We had been anticipating the launch for months. Whole curriculums were based around it, and then the whole thing ended in this horrible tragedy that our young eyes saw live and in color. For those of us that young, the space program was a magical thing, and to have this experience shook us to the core.
2003-01-28 01:34:18 PM  
I had just started college (I'm soooo... old). A friend of mine had a 'Come as your favourite dead person' party the following weekend. I went as a space shuttle astronout and wore a pair of burnt blue coveralls painted with NASA logos with a fish hanging out of my pocket

BTW, Jesus and Elvis say "Hi".
2003-01-28 01:35:13 PM  
I was a couple of hundred miles away, off of Mayport, FL, in the same general part of the ocean, aboard a research vessel called USNS Kane. The weather was very unusual. The sea was calm, but a cold front had blasted through the night before, the air was much colder than the sea water, and there was a lot of low-hanging sea fog...very eerie. We were watching the launch on TV in the ship's officer's wardroom. Actually, it was just on TV in the background and we weren't paying much attention. I noticed something odd on the TV image and we started to pay much more attention. At first we figured it must have something to do with the unusual weather. Over the next several hours we were in limbo, wondering if the ship would be sent south to participate in the search-and-rescue efforts, since it was equipped with a lot of bathymetric and acoustic research equipment. Eventually we were told not to come, and went north to Charleston.
2003-01-28 01:35:40 PM  
Thanks, Littig8r....
Now I know why we all hate lawyers. Capt. assclown
2003-01-28 01:37:22 PM  
Cheezalot: Why can't I get invited to or even hear about parties like that??? I have a life preserver that managed to slip into my carry-on bag on a flight, and I would like to use it... I'm waiting for the 9-11 furor to die down before I decide to dress as a plan crash survivor.
2003-01-28 01:37:50 PM  
9/11 was just a tad worse
2003-01-28 01:37:56 PM  

No, you hate us because we make more money than most folks, profit from the misery of others, and are part of a system that both confuses and frightens you.

Cheers :)
2003-01-28 01:39:43 PM  
I was in 2nd grade at the time. The crazy part is, my future 5th grade science teacher was one of the candidates to go on the shuttle. Luckily, she didn't.
2003-01-28 01:40:51 PM  
Crap! has it been that long?!!!
2003-01-28 01:41:32 PM  
Litig8r: Well, my teachers cried - and that's not a placed memory from group reminiscences or media coverage. We went on with our daily schedule, but the classes were pretty much just unstructured talking with teachers who had tears in their eyes most of the time. With the exception of my dad, I really hadn't seen a man cry until Mr. Fialkow did that day. Anyway, I don't consider myself a "victim" of that day any more than I consider myself a victim of September 11th or any other incredible national catharsis, but the events of that day left a permanent impression on me, one that I hope I never forget.
2003-01-28 01:42:10 PM  
All I remember is that there was a "very special" episode of Punky Brewster not long after.
2003-01-28 01:42:58 PM  
17 years ago? Holy shiat, that means more than half my life has transpired since then. And I remember precisely where I was when I first heard about it. Outside at high school during open lunch on a cold but sunny winter day. I figured it was just some kind of minor malfunction at first, but obviously that changed when I saw video footage of it. That has to be one of the saddest days in American history despite the relatively low loss of life compared to other memorable tragedies like September 11 and Pearl Harbor.
2003-01-28 01:44:14 PM  
I remember that day vividly. We were outside watching it take off, not on TV but outside, even on the other side of the state you can watch the launches. We weren't sure what happened until we went back inside and saw it on TV. Everything was a total bummer after that, it was nice to see the next launch after that to show the program could overcome a tragity that big.
2003-01-28 01:44:52 PM  
Back when I was teaching (1995-1999), a certain cultural event had similar impact on the nation's classrooms (minus the crying teachers) and will surely be similarly discussed.

That's right- I'm speaking of the O.J. verdict.
2003-01-28 01:45:08 PM  
What I'm surprised about it no one has yet to mention the coverage after the accident. From a Florida paper that finally got FOIA documents from NASA that said the astronauts didn't die on the explosion, but died "probably" on impact with the ocean. And the various accompanying data showing how certain emergency procedures had been done in the crew area, etc.

That's morbid to think about. And I don't doubt why NASA tried to hide/bury that information.
2003-01-28 01:47:24 PM  
I was 4, i didn't get it. It was a sad loss though. Ido remember watching the first shuttle that was launched after that though, because it was such a big signifigance. (sp?)
Everyone was scared out of thier minds.
2003-01-28 01:48:15 PM  
2003-01-28 01:48:24 PM  
Thank you Ironbar. Nice to know I'm not completely unreasonable in my sentiments, or lack thereof.
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