On Jan. 28, 1986 just moments after takeoff the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. All seven crew members aboard were killed. Among them were Ronald McNair, 35, who was to be the second African American to go into space, and school teacher Christa McAuliffe, 37, who was selected from thousands of applicants for the teacher in space program. Both have schools in Stockton named after them as well as other schools across the nation.
“Obviously a major malfunction,” the announcer said as those in attendance at the launch and television viewers watched stunned.
It was later learned that the failure of an O-ring ultimately led to the disaster.