The Coldest Days of the Year in Cape Canaveral, Florida: January 28th, 1986

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The day of January 28th, 1986, in Cape Canaveral, Florida was by far one of the coldest days of the year. One the launch pad there icicles dangling from the launch tower, pad structure, and other launch equipment as the space shuttle Challenger sat there waiting for its historic launch. For over thirty-eight days Challenger's solid rocket boosters, and external tank were soaked seven inches of rain which had caused a enormous amount of icicles to form. After nearly a five day delay filled with wind, rain, and freezing temperatures, Challenger was finally ready to go on mission 51-L. It would be the twenty-fifth mission for the world's first fleet of reusable manned spaceships. A spike in public interest in the flight had been caused by the…show more content…
The seven member crew arrived at the launch pad in the astronauts' van shortly after 8. The large audience gathered at the VIP observation site, excluding family and press, represented NASA's pride of their unique "orbital classroom" mission. NASA officials invited hundreds of guests to see the launch of 51-L, including McAuliffe's third grade class from Kimball Elementary School. Then came the disaster that would change not only change space, but also US history. The Challenger exploded mid-flight on their way to their historic mission. What went wrong? What actually happened to cause a veteran space shuttle such as Challenger to dysfunction on its tenth run? A videotape showed black smoke coming from the bottom field joint of the right solid rocket booster (SRB). The black smoke suggested that grease, joint insulation, and rubber O-rings were being burned. The smoke continued to come from the bottom field joint facing the exterior tank in cycles of three puffs of smoke per second. The black smoke was an indication that the bottom field joint was not sealing correctly. Into flight the a flame was seen coming from the right SRB. The flame was coming from the underside of the bottom joint. As the flame increased in size, it had begun to push against the external tank due to the rushing air around the orbiter. Soon later there was a sudden chain of events that destroyed Challenger and the seven crew members on

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