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Death - Miscellaneous

Challenger Mid-Air ExplosionChallenger Disaster - On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle "Challenger" exploded 73 seconds after lift off, killing all seven crew members including Christa McAuliffe, Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnick, Ronald E. McNair, Ellison S. Onizuka, and Gregory B. Jarvis. A booster leak in the rockets "O" ring section ignited escaping fuel, thus destroying the space-bound shuttle soon after liftoff.

The event was witnessed by millions of Americans from grade school age to senior citizens. The entire descent and explosion of the shuttle was captured live on camera. Ironically space launches had become so common that only CNN (Cable News Network) was covering the story.

A painting commissioned by the US Senate, depicting the ill-fated shuttle crew was installed at the US Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C. in early 1987. The painting was done by Temple University professor Charles W. Schmidt.

The story of the tragic event was made into a TV-Movie entitled Challenger which aired 2/25/90.

Earlier in the space program on January 27, 1967 a fire broke out onboard the Apollo 1 space capsule on the grounds at Cape Kennedy, Florida killing the three American astronauts: Virgil L. Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger Chaffee. The aftermath was covered by all major TV networks.


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