How the Challenger Disaster Forever Changed America’s Space Program

Monday, June 02, 2014

US space shuttle Challenger lifts off 28 January 1986 from a launch pad at Kennedy Space Center, 72 seconds before its explosion killing it crew of seven. (BOB PEARSON/AFP/Getty)

The days ahead of the 1986 Challenger Space launch were an exciting time. For the first time, an ordinary citizen named Christa McAuliffe—a New Hampshire high school social studies teacher—was going to be joining the crew of astronauts.

The morning of January 28, 1986 began with a thrilling launch, but within moments, it was clear that something had gone horribly wrong—on lookers knew that a historic mission had ended before it even began.

This week, the Retro Report documentary team takes us back to the pair of smokey trails in the sky over Cape Canaveral, and the decisions that led to the Challenger disaster, the details of which emerged in a famous investigation that showed huge design and engineering flaws in the NASA Shuttle program.

Bret Sigler, producer and editor at Retro Report, joins The Takeaway to explain.

Watch a video of Retro Report's findings below.


Bret Sigler

Produced by:

Mythili Rao


T.J. Raphael

Comments [2]

Bill from Hilton Head

Why doesn't this report mention the work of Dr. Richard Feynmann in getting to the reason for the Challenger disaster? The report doesn't even mention him, when other reports have said that Feynmann was the prime reason the whole thing wasn't somehow covered up.

Jul. 14 2014 02:42 PM
saul from Schenectady

Somehow Murphy's law has been forgotten. Think of the pains Ike went through to prevent all the possibilities of failure 70 years ago. That kind of thoroughness has vanished as the distance between management and staff has grown over the years. Managers no longer participate in the day to day construct. They exercise power because that is their only remaining function. G.M is learning that lesson now. Blaming the workers (and the unions) for delays and costs has become their mantra.

Jun. 08 2014 10:07 AM

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