Space Shuttle Challenger


The lift off of the challenger

I am interviewing my father, James S. Duke III, about the Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion in 1986.He was willing to tell about this event as it affected him then.The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on January 28, 1986, killing all 7 crew members that included Christa McAuliffe, a school teacher who was selected through a nation wide search.The cause of the explosion was not known for sometime but many theories were discussed like sabotage, terrorism, faulty fuel or crew error. The final report said that the cold weather that delayed the launch for several days.The Nation as well as the World watched in horror and disbelief as the explosion was carried live on television. The nations school children were also watching live around the country because this was to be the first Space Shuttle Mission with a schoolteacher on board.


the challenger detaching from fule cell What did you think caused the Explosion? I thought that the Shuttle flights were getting to routine and that it was a matter of time before an accident happened but not to the extent that it did. My first reaction was that the big external fuel tank exploded when they powered up the engines after lift-off.

the challengers last seconds

Did you think anyone survived the Explosion when you saw it? No, I felt that if they did not die during the explosion then the fall from so high up would have killed them. How did this event change your life? It made me take nothing for granted and that even with the best planning and safety that anything can happen if your not careful. How did this event affect the nation? It made the nation realize that Space exploration comes with a cost, sometimes monetary and sometimes a cost in lives of courageous people who give up their lives for the betterment of mankind. What did the Space program learn from this event? NASA, the National Aeronautical Space Administration, did several investigations into the cause of the explosion and they made several changes based on their findings in the investigations. One of the most important changes was the raising of the allowable temperature that a Shuttle could be launched at. They determined that cold weather caused the failure of the Shuttles O-rings, so they closely monitor the temperature for days leading up to the launch of a Space Shuttle. Conclusion: My father said this was one of the events that a person who saw it happen will always remember for the rest of their lives, not the date or time of day, but the explosion as it took place and the reaction they felt.


These are some web sites abut the Space Shuttle challenger:
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/9806/challenger.html
http://www.fas.org/spp/51L.html
http://space.about.com/cs/challenger/a/challenger.htm

this is a web site made for a junior project for brunswic high school.