The Space Shuttle Challenger’s maiden flight was on 4th April, 1983, and it completed nine missions before breaking apart 73 seconds after the launch of its tenth mission, STS-51-L on 28th January, 1986.
A special ceremony is taking place at the Kennedy Space Center’s visitor complex this morning. Members of the NASA family and the public will gather to honor those who died aboard space shuttle Challenger.
Twenty-five years ago the STS-51L crew boarded Challenger for a six-day flight. It was just after liftoff when things went wrong. Challenger was in the air for 73 seconds before the orbiter exploded. …. According to investigators’ findings, the cause of the explosion was an O-ring that failed in one of the solid rocket boosters. Cold weather was cited as a contributing factor.
Today is also 4 days short of 8 years since the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed during rentry.
Space Shuttle Columbia (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-102) was the first spaceworthy Space Shuttle inNASA’s orbital fleet. First launched on the STS-1 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle program, it completed 27 missions before being destroyed during re-entry on February 1, 2003 near the end of its 28th, STS-107. All seven crew members were killed.
The investigation found that 82 seconds after launch a large piece of foam insulating material from the external tank broke free and struck the leading edge of the shuttle’s left wing, damaging the protective carbon heat shielding panels. This damage allowed super-heated gases to enter the wing structure during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere and caused the destruction of the Columbia.
Currently the 3 operational orbiters are the
Space Shuttles Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour.