I’m a whole lot older than most of you - old enough to remember earlier launch disasters. I also had a personal interest in that particular flight, as Christa MacAuliffe’s parents were acaquaintances of mine. As the article states, there had been repeated scrubs of that mission in the past couple of weeks because of technical problems and unsuitable weather conditions. That morning, everything seemed to be a go, and I sat down in my living room to watch… only to have my cable shut down just as Christa MacAuliffe was waving to everyone. It was a non-payment shut-off.. and I literally jumped right into my car to run down to the cable company to pay the bill so that I could at least see the interviews after launch.
I walked into their storefront office - the room was full of people all of them turned to stare up at the the television suspended from the ceiling where CNN was replaying the launch for the first time. As Initation says above - the pictures are cool. It was.. awesomely, eerily beautiful, and in the split seconds before anyone realized what had just happened, I’m certain I’m not the only one who was awestruck at the plumes of smoke.. and then the launch commentator said something like.. “I think something has gone wrong..” and it all sunk in that we’d just watched seven people die.
Well, no. That didn’t sink in quite yet. There were a lot of us who wanted to believe that they’d find the cabin intact, with the astronauts alive - even though it was unreasonable. Oberg is right.. it’s only fitting that we remember the Challenger and its astronauts the way it really happened. They, and we, deserve that much.