The explosion of the Challenger Space Shuttle in January of 1986 permanently dampened Americans’ infatuation with space exploration.
The nation was shocked by the tragic deaths of all seven of the Challenger‘s crew members, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, and to this day, NASA has not fully recovered from the damage the accident did to its reputation. A report on the explosion commissioned by President Reagan specifically called out NASA’s organizational culture and decision-making process as key factors behind its occurrence.
Recently, a video of the Challenger explosion has surfaced. It was taken by a recently deceased optometrist, who lived not far from the launch site:
From the Louisville Courier-Journal:
In the videotape, a stream of white smoke behind the climbing shuttle shoots into view – but Moss, his wife and a neighbor noticed immediately that something was amiss when the channel separated into two streams.
“That’s trouble of some kind,” Moss can be heard saying. “That didn’t look right.”
Moments later, someone is heard telling Moss that the Challenger had blown up.
“It exploded?” Moss asks.
The four-minute film, shot at Moss’ second home in Winter Haven, Fla., might have remained stuffed away in a basement box, lost among the many 8-millimeter tapes he filmed of his family over the years. But shortly before the 88-year-old Moss died in December, he donated the tape to the Space Exploration Archive, a non-profit, educational organization in Louisville.
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