Thursday, January 28, 2016

Space Shuttle Challenger Anniversary

It was 30 years ago today that the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded upon takeoff.  Amongst the astronauts onboard was Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from New Hampshire.

This is another one of those incidents to record in your family history. Where were you when it happened? What were you doing? What was your reaction?

I had completed my Associate’s Degree in Business Administration the prior May. I was thinking I didn’t want to continue with college then and was working in a Convenience Store in Auburn. My Dad and brother were the owners of the store and we were all there that day as their wholesale oil business operated out of the back office and Dad, although disability-retired, liked to hang out and talk with customers.

We knew the launch was that day, but didn’t have a television in the store and the radio was tuned to a music station, if it was on at all. Sometime shortly after the launch a customer came into the store and told us the shuttle had exploded on takeoff. As he was known as a practical joker, this was taken to be a sick joke and we laughed about it. Nothing was really thought about it, until a short while later I was hearing the same thing from other customers as I cashed them out.

Tuning the radio to a news station, we realized the truth of what had happened and continued listening to the newscast in horror. My Dad and brother, being older, probably knew of the dangers of space travel, but the first lunar landing was when I was a toddler. I had grown up thinking of it as not much more dangerous than traveling in a car or an airplane. This was about the first I had thought about space travel as how awesome and brave a challenge it actually was.

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