STS-51-L would have been the 25th mission of the NASA Space Shuttle program. Tragically, the Challenger and her crew were lost in an explosion 73 seconds after liftoff. After a lengthy investigation, the cause was determined to be an o-ring failure in the right solid rocket booster aggravated by extreme cold weather in Florida before the launch.
25th Space Shuttle Mission
January 28, 1986
10th Flight of Challenger
STS-51L Crew Back Row: Mission Specialist Ellison S. Onizuka, Payload Specialists Christa McAuliffe and Gregory B. Jarvis, Mission Specialist Judith A. Resnik, Front Row: Pilot Michael J. Smith, Commander Francis R. Scobee, Mission Specialist Ronald E. McNair.
“We will never forget them… as they… ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’ “
On the 25th anniversary of the Challenger STS-51L accident, a wreath was displayed at the foot of the Space Mirror Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida during a 2011 ceremony honoring the STS-51L crew members who gave their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery.
STS-51L Mission Profile
The first shuttle liftoff scheduled from Pad B, STS-51L was beset by delays. Launch was originally set for 3:43 p.m. EST,…