The space shuttle Challenger go out apart some 73 seconds after lifting turn off from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1986, death all 7 astronauts ~ above board.

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1. The Challenger didn’t in reality explode.The an are shuttle was engulfed in a cloud of fire just 73 secs after liftoff, at an altitude of part 46,000 feet (14,000 meters). It looked favor an explosion, the media dubbed it an explosion and even NASA public official mistakenly defined it that way initially. Yet later examination showed the in fact, there to be no detonation or to explode in the method we generally understand the concept. A seal in the shuttle’s appropriate solid-fuel rocket booster design to protect against leaks indigenous the fuel tank throughout liftoff weakened in the frigid temperatures and also failed, and hot gas started pouring through the leak. The fuel tank chin collapsed and tore apart, and also the resulting flood of fluid oxygen and hydrogen created the huge fireball believed by countless to it is in an explosion.


2. The astronauts board the spaceship didn’t die instantly. After the please of the fuel tank, the Challenger itself remained momentarily intact, and also actually ongoing moving upwards. There is no its fuel tank and also boosters in ~ it, however, an effective aerodynamic pressures soon traction the orbiter apart. The pieces—including the crew cabin—reached an altitude of part 65,000 feet prior to falling the end of the sky into the Atlantic s below. It’s likely that the Challenger’s crew endured the initial breakup of the shuttle but lost consciousness as result of loss of cabin pressure and probably died due to oxygen deficiency quite quickly. However the cabin fight the water’s surface ar (at more than 200 mph) a complete 2 minutes and 45 secs after the shuttle broke apart, and it’s unknown whether any type of of the crew could have regained awareness in the final few seconds that the fall.

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The five astronauts and two payload specialists that comprised the STS 51-L crew board the an are shuttle Challenger in January that 1986. Crew members space (left to right, former row) astronauts Michael J. Smith, Francis R. (Dick) Scobee and Ronald E. McNair; and Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis and Judith A. Resnik.