Nearly three and a half decades ago, a tragedy took place in the air above the Florida coast when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded and forever changed the world of space aviation.
The explosion took place just over a minute after the shuttle – carrying seven people, including New Hampshire school teacher Christa McAuliffe – lifted off from Cape Canaveral. All seven members of the crew died in the explosion.
The dead also include commander Dick Scobee, pilot Michael Smith, astronauts Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka and Gregory Jarvis.
An investigation concluded that unusually cold weather that morning left Challenger's booster rockets with stiff O-ring seals while a leak in the right booster also doomed the ship.
Over 10,000 NASA employees and guests attended a memorial days after the explosion, where President Ronald Reagan spoke. Another shuttle wouldn’t take off for nearly three years after the explosion.
McAuliffe's backup, Barbara Morgan, a schoolteacher from Idaho, rocketed into orbit in 2007 aboard Endeavour as a fully trained astronaut.