5 Photos - Jul 6, 2011
Photo: Challenger sits on Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center (left side of pic on horizon) on 1/28/86. You can also see Pad 39A on the right where Columbia had launched on mission 61-C sixteen days earlier. I was watching it with @Rocky_Sci (Jon Cowart) on top of one of the trailers near the press site.Photo: Space Shuttle Challenger climbs after launch on 1/28/86. From this picture, everything looks nominal. A few seconds to a minute later, the SRB had burned through the attachment strut to the ET and rotated into the top of the tank, causing the breakup of the Orbiter.Photo: Space Shuttle Challenger breaks apart and contrails follow the pieces as the SRBs burn wildly. Even 25 years after the fact, I find it hard to look at these pictures.Photo: Challenger's contrails spiral down to the ocean. I don't know why I even stopped to take this final picture. Maybe in my shock and disbelief I thought I'd better take it so it would help me process the grief years later?Photo: This was the pass to give to relatives to get onsite to watch the launch (from NASA Causeway?). It wasn't used.