How The Challenger Explosion Changed How We Think About The Space Program

Features Writer
01.28.16 8 Comments
ChallengerCrew-Uproxx

Getty Image

Thirty years ago, the space shuttle Challenger exploded over the Atlantic Ocean just 73 seconds after launching. All seven crew members were killed instantly on live television; the view of the space program altered forever less than 20 years after the moon landing, its most triumphant and unifying televised moment.

In an age that predates cell phones and social media, it’s estimated that more than 85 percent of the U.S. had heard about the explosion within an hour of it happening. The significance of this rapid spread of information speaks to the shell-shocked reactions of those who watched the launch. Indeed, the loss of the Challenger was one of those rare, historic moments where everyone remembers exactly where they were when the explosion happened.

Subscribe to UPROXX

Prior to the explosion, 1986 was slated to be the Year of the Shuttle, with NASA scheduling launches almost monthly. However, NASA’s hectic schedule led to scores of technical oversights, as well as “go fever,” a term first coined after the Apollo disaster of 1967, referring to a kind of fast-paced, end-game only methodology where deadlines seemingly mattered more than safety.

Around The Web

The Fascinating Rise Of Third Man Records As The Most Influential Vinyl Label In America

03.21.17 4 days ago 2 Comments

A Little Booze And A Lot Of Big Ideas Are Keeping Movie Theaters Relevant

03.17.17 1 week ago 7 Comments

The Unheralded True Story Of The NBA’s First Black Player

03.14.17 2 weeks ago

How TV And Evolving Media Technology Changed The American Presidency

03.07.17 3 weeks ago 2 Comments

How The Spice Girls’ Legacy Of ‘Girl Power’ Paved The Way For Women To Dominate Pop

02.27.17 4 weeks ago 4 Comments

How Keeping Austin Weird Turned Into A Widespread Phenomenon

02.15.17 1 month ago 12 Comments

How Kevin Gates Went From Underground To Platinum In A Year And Changed The Game In The Process

02.02.17 2 months ago 6 Comments

Look For The Star: How Starter Jackets Became The Iconic Clothing Of The Early ’90s

01.31.17 2 months ago 10 Comments

‘Dream, Try, Do Good’: The Oral History Of ‘Boy Meets World’

01.31.17 2 months ago 6 Comments

How Frank Barsalona Created The Modern Rock Concert And Got Himself Into The Hall Of Fame

01.30.17 2 months ago

The Story Behind Gus Fring’s Stunningly Explosive Moment On ‘Breaking Bad’

and 01.30.17 2 months ago 5 Comments

How Toronto’s Boosie Fade Transformed From A Rap DJ Night Into A Digital Movement

01.12.17 2 months ago

Infiltrating The Bills Mafia To Find Out Why Fans Keep Supporting The NFL’s Most Hopeless Team

01.01.17 3 months ago 8 Comments

From Ray Charles To Jimi Hendrix: How Seattle Helped Create R&B And Rock And Roll

01.01.17 3 months ago 6 Comments

‘Stop Crying And Fight Your Father’: ‘Seinfeld’ Writers Tell How Festivus Came To Be

and 12.23.16 3 months ago 12 Comments

The Lasting Impact Of Adidas Tearaway Pants On Hip-Hop And A Hoops Generation

12.08.16 4 months ago 2 Comments

Understanding The History And The Motivations Behind The Standing Rock Protests

12.02.16 4 months ago 6 Comments

How Do We Combat The Intensifying War On Science?

and 11.30.16 4 months ago 30 Comments