The Space Shuttle Challenger


      Today in Science I learned about space shuttles and the tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986.

      In 1981, the United States built the first space shuttle, a new type of spacecraft. The space shuttle was the first spacecraft to be reused. Challenger, the second space shuttle ever made, exploded 73 seconds after it was launched for its 10th mission.

      Challenger’s takeoff had already been delayed because of bad weather. High winds, then icicles caused the launch to be postponed from January 22. It was then launched on January 28, 1986, when it exploded because of a failure of the O-ring, a part of the space shuttle that looks like an elastic rubber band. The Challenger was being launched, it was 30 degrees colder than any other previous mission, and this effected the O-ring and made it loose elasticity. When it lost elasticity, a leak came out of it, and Challenger exploded.

      Seven people aboard the Challenger died because of this explosion, including the first teacher to ever go in space. You can learn more about the seven astronauts here. President Ronald Reagan said the tragedy was a “a national loss.” The president also said:

      “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

      I thought this tragedy was very bizarre and absurd.

      Where were you when the Challenger exploded?

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