After just over a minute into its flight space shuttle challenger exploded in the sky over central Florida. All seven crew members perished including Christa McAuliffe, who would have been the first civilian in space. McAuliffe was chosen out of 11,000 teachers that applied for the Teacher in space program (TISP). TISP was the brain child of President Regan to promote science in schools and honor our educators. A great idea, but a very sad outcome. That program was canceled after McAuliffe death. The shuttle’s demise was all due to a very small part. A rubber circle called an O-ring that failed during liftoff. It’s failure lead to other faults which eventually lead to the structural failure of the shuttle.
The crew may have been aware of the problem just before the explosion. Pilot Michael Smith’s last transmission was “Uh Oh”. The final height reached for the crew compartment was 65,000 feet. It’s not known if the crew compartment maintained its pressurization after the explosion or not. If it did they were all likely alive in the compartment until they hit the ocean, which they did at 207 mph, that’s well over 200 g.