January 28, 1986,11:38:00 a.m. EST The Space Shuttle Challenger launched from
the Kennedy Space Center. The seven-member crew was killed after a vehicle
breakup which occurred 73 seconds after lift-off because of an O-ring seal
failure in the booster system.
In this photo from Jan.
9, 1986, the Challenger crew takes a break during countdown training at NASA's
Kennedy Space Center. Left to right are Teacher-in-Space payload specialist
Sharon Christa McAuliffe; payload specialist Gregory Jarvis; and astronauts
Judith A. Resnik, mission specialist; Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, mission
commander; Ronald E. McNair, mission specialist; Mike J. Smith, pilot; and
Ellison S. Onizuka, mission specialist.
Image Credit: NASA
The five men and two women - including the first
teacher in space - were just over a minute into their flight when the Challenger
Ronald Reagan in an address to the nation described the tragedy as "a national loss".
Challenger's flight, the 25th by a shuttle, had already been delayed because of
bad weather. High winds, then icicles caused the launch to be postponed from 22
INSIGNIA The STS-51-L crewmembers designed this insignia to represent their
participation in NASA's mission aboard the Challenger, depicted launching from
Florida and soaring into space to carry out a variety of goals. Among the
prescribed duties of the five astronauts and two payload specialists will be
observation and photography of Halley's Comet, back dropped against the U.S.
flag in the insignia. Surnames of the crewmembers encircle the scene, with the
payload specialists being recognized below. Surname of the first teacher in
space, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, is followed by a symbolic apple.
crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-51-L pose for their official portrait on
November 15, 1985. In the back row from left to right: Ellison S. Onizuka,
Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, and Judy Resnik. In the front row from
left to right: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, and Ron McNair. The photo is
S85-44253 from the Johnson Space Center
COMMISSION on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident-The
Flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger on
Mission 51-L began at 11:38 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 28,
1986. It ended 73 seconds later in an explosive burn of hydrogen and
oxygen propellants that destroyed the External Tank and exposed the
Orbiter to severe aerodynamic loads that caused complete structural
breakup. All seven crew members perished. The two Solid Rocket Boosters
flew out of the fireball and were destroyed by the Air Force range safety
officer 110 seconds after launch.
The ambient air temperature at launch was
36 degrees Fahrenheit measured at ground level approximately 1,000 feet
from the 51-L mission launch pad 39B. This temperature was 15 degrees
colder than that of any previous launch.
The following description of the flight
events is based on visual examination and image enhancement of film from
NASA operated cameras and telemetry data transmitted from the Space
Shuttle to ground stations. The last telemetry data from the Challenger
was received 73.618 seconds after launch.
At 6.6 seconds before launch, the
Challenger's liquid fueled main engines were ignited in sequence and run
up to full thrust while the entire Shuttle structure was bolted to the
launch pad. Thrust of the main engines bends the Shuttle assembly forward
from the bolts anchoring it to the pad. When the Shuttle assembly springs
back to the vertical, the Solid Rocket Boosters' restraining bolts are
explosively released. During this prerelease "twang" motion,
structural loads are stored in the assembled structure. These loads are
released during the first few seconds of flight in a structural vibration
mode at a frequency of about 3 cycles per second. The maximum structural
loads on the aft field joints of the Solid Rocket Boosters occur during
the "twang," exceeding even those of the maximum dynamic
pressure period experienced later in flight.
Just after liftoff at .678 seconds into the
flight, photographic data show a strong puff of gray smoke was spurting
from the vicinity of the aft field joint on the right Solid Rocket
Booster. The two pad 39B cameras that would have recorded the precise
location of the puff were inoperative. Computer graphic analysis of film
from other cameras indicated the initial smoke came from the 270 to
310-degree sector of the circumference of the aft field joint of the right
Solid Rocket Booster. This area of the solid booster faces the External
Tank. The vaporized material streaming from the joint indicated there was
not complete sealing action within the joint.
Eight more distinctive puffs of
increasingly blacker smoke were recorded between .836 and 2.500 seconds.
The smoke appeared to puff upwards from the joint. While each smoke puff
was being left behind by the upward flight of the Shuttle, the next fresh
puff could be seen near the level of the joint. The multiple smoke puffs
in this sequence occurred at about four times per second, approximating
the frequency of the structural load dynamics and resultant joint flexing.
Computer graphics applied to NASA photos from a variety of cameras in this
sequence again placed the smoke puffs' origin in the 270-to 310-degree
sector of the original smoke spurt.
As the Shuttle increased its upward
velocity, it flew past the emerging and expanding smoke puffs. The last
smoke was seen above the field joint at 2.733 seconds. At 3.375 seconds
the last  smoke was visible below the Solid Rocket Boosters and
became indiscernible as it mixed with rocket plumes and surrounding
The black color and dense composition of
the smoke puffs suggest that the grease, joint insulation and rubber
O-rings in the joint seal were being burned and eroded by the hot
Launch sequence films from previous
missions were examined in detail to determine if there were any prior
indications of smoke of the color and composition that appeared during the
first few seconds of the 51-L mission. None were found. Other vapors in
this area were determined to be melting frost from the bottom of the
External Tank or steam from the rocket exhaust in the pad's sound
suppression water trays.
Shuttle main engines were throttled up to
104 percent of their rated thrust level, the Challenger executed a
programmed roll maneuver and the engines were throttled back to 94
At approximately 37 seconds, Challenger
encountered the first of several high-altitude wind shear conditions,
which lasted until about 64 seconds. The wind shear created forces on the
vehicle with relatively large fluctuations. These were immediately sensed
and countered by the guidance, navigation and control system. Although
flight 51-L loads exceeded prior experience in both yaw and pitch planes
at certain instants, the maxima had been encountered on previous flights
and were within design limits.
The steering system (thrust vector control)
of the Solid Rocket Booster responded to all commands and wind shear
effects. The wind shear caused the steering system to be more active than
on any previous flight.
At 45 seconds into the flight, three bright
flashes appeared downstream of the Challenger's right wing. Each flash
lasted less than one-thirtieth of' a second. Similar flashes have been
seen on other flights. Another appearance of a separate bright spot was
diagnosed by film analysis to be a reflection of main engine exhaust on
the Orbital Maneuvering System pods located at the upper rear section of
the Orbiter. The flashes were unrelated to the later appearance of the
flame plume from the right Solid Rocket Booster.
Both the Shuttle main engines and the solid
rockets operated at reduced thrust approaching and passing through the
area of maximum dynamic pressure of 720 pounds per square foot. Main
engines had been throttled up to 104 percent thrust and the Solid Rocket
Boosters were increasing their thrust when the first flickering flame
appeared on the right Solid Rocket Booster in the area of the aft field
joint. This first very small flame was detected on image enhanced film at
58.788 seconds into the flight. It appeared to originate at about 305
degrees around the booster circumference at or near the aft field joint.
One film frame later from the same camera,
the flame was visible without image enhancement. It grew into a
continuous, well-defined plume at 59.262 seconds. At about the same time
(60 seconds), telemetry showed a pressure differential between the chamber
pressures in the right and left boosters. The right booster chamber
pressure was lower, confirming the growing leak in the area of the field
As the flame plume increased in size, it
was deflected rearward by the aerodynamic slipstream and circumferentially
by the protruding structure of the upper ring attaching the booster to the
External Tank. These deflections directed the flame plume onto the surface
of the External Tank. This sequence of flame spreading is confirmed by
analysis of the recovered wreckage. The growing flame also impinged on the
strut attaching the Solid Rocket Booster to the External Tank.
At about 62 seconds into the flight, the
control system began to react to counter the forces caused by the plume
and its effects. The left Solid Rocket Booster thrust vector control moved
to counter the yaw caused by reduced thrust from the leaking right Solid
Rocket Booster. During the next nine seconds, Space Shuttle control
systems worked to correct anomalies in pitch and yaw rates.
The first visual indication that swirling
flame from the right Solid Rocket Booster breached the External Tank was
at 64.660 seconds when there was an abrupt change in the shape and color
of the plume. This indicated that it was mixing with leaking hydrogen from
the External Tank. Telemetered changes in the hydrogen tank pressurization
confirmed the leak. Within 45 milliseconds of the breach of the External
Tank, a bright sustained glow developed on the black-tiled underside of
the Challenger between it and the External Tank.
Beginning at about 72 seconds, a series of
events occurred extremely rapidly that terminated  the flight.
Telemetered data indicate a wide variety of flight system actions that
support the visual evidence of the photos as the Shuttle struggled
futilely against the forces that were destroying it.
At about 72.20 seconds the lower strut
linking the Solid Rocket Booster and the External Tank was severed or
pulled away from the weakened hydrogen tank permitting the right Solid
Rocket Booster to rotate around the upper attachment strut. This rotation
is indicated by divergent yaw and pitch rates between the left and right
Solid Rocket Boosters.
At 73.124 seconds, a circumferential white
vapor pattern was observed blooming from the side of the External Tank
bottom dome. This was the beginning of the structural failure of the
hydrogen tank that culminated in the entire aft dome dropping away. This
released massive amounts of liquid hydrogen from the tank and created a
sudden forward thrust of about 2.~3 million pounds, pushing the hydrogen
tank upward into the intertank structure. At about the same time, the
rotating right Solid Rocket Booster impacted the intertank structure and
the lower part of the liquid oxygen tank. These structures failed at
73.137 seconds as evidenced by the white vapors appearing in the intertank
Within milliseconds there was massive,
almost explosive, burning of the hydrogen streaming from the failed tank
bottom and the liquid oxygen breach in the area of the intertank.
At this point in its trajectory, while
traveling at a Mach number of 1.92 at an altitude of 46,O00 feet, the
Challenger was totally enveloped in the explosive burn. The Challenger's
reaction control system ruptured and a hypergolic burn of its propellants
occurred as it exited the oxygen-hydrogen flames. The reddish brown colors
of the hypergolic fuel burn are visible on the edge of the main fireball.
The Orbiter, under severe aerodynamic loads, broke into several large
sections which emerged from the fireball. Separate sections that can be
identified on film include the main engine/tail section with the engines
still burning, one wing of the Orbiter, and the forward fuselage trailing
a mass of umbilical lines pulled loose from the payload bay.
Mission: TDRS-2; SPARTAN-203 Satellites
Space Shuttle: Challenger
Launch Pad: 39B
Launch Weight: 268,829 pounds
Launched: Jan. 28, 1986, 11:38:00 a.m. EST
Mission Duration: 1 minute, 13 seconds
Orbit Altitude: 150 nautical miles (planned)
Orbit Inclination: 28.5 degrees (planned)
Miles Traveled: 18 miles
Challenger's flight deck (left to
right): Pilot Mike Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Judy Resnik,commander Dick
Scobee. (Credit: NASA)
Challenger's lower deck (left to right):
Backup teacher-in-space candidate Barbara Morgan, Christa McAuliffe, Greg
Jarvis, Ron McNair. (Credit: NASA
The first shuttle liftoff
scheduled from Pad B. Launch was set for 3:43 p.m. EST, Jan. 22, slipped to Jan.
23, then Jan. 24, due to delays in mission 61-C. Launch was reset for Jan. 25
because of bad weather at the transoceanic abort landing (TAL) site in Dakar,
Senegal. To utilize Casablanca (not equipped for night landings) as alternate
TAL site, T-zero was moved to a morning liftoff time. The launch postponed
another day when launch processing was unable to meet the new morning liftoff
time. Prediction of unacceptable weather at KSC led to the launch being
rescheduled for 9:37 a.m. EST, Jan. 27. The launch was delayed 24 hours again
when the ground servicing equipment hatch closing fixture could not be removed
from the orbiter hatch. The fixture was sawed off and an attaching bolt drilled
out before closeout was completed. During the delay, cross winds exceeded
return-to-launch-site limits at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility. The launch Jan.
28 was delayed two hours when a hardware interface module in the launch
processing system, which monitors the fire detection system, failed during
liquid hydrogen tanking procedures.
Just after liftoff at .678 seconds into the flight, photographic data shows a
strong puff of gray smoke was spurting from the vicinity of the aft field joint
on the right solid rocket booster. Computer graphic analysis of the film from
the pad cameras indicated the initial smoke came from the 270 to 310-degree
sector of the circumference of the aft field joint of the right solid rocket
booster. This area of the solid booster faces the external tank. The vaporized
material streaming from the joint indicated there was not a complete sealing
action within the joint.
Eight more distinctive puffs of increasingly blacker smoke were recorded between
.836 and 2.500 seconds. The smoke appeared to puff upwards from the joint. While
each smoke puff was being left behind by the upward flight of the shuttle, the
next fresh puff could be seen near the level of the joint. The multiple smoke
puffs in this sequence occurred at about four times per second, approximating
the frequency of the structural load dynamics and resultant joint flexing. As
the shuttle increased its upward velocity, it flew past the emerging and
expanding smoke puffs. The last smoke was seen above the field joint at 2.733
of black smoke during Liftoff of the Shuttle Challenger STS 51-L
The black color and dense composition of the smoke puffs suggest that the
grease, joint insulation and rubber O-rings in the joint seal were being burned
and eroded by the hot propellant gases.
At approximately 37 seconds, Challenger encountered the first of several
high-altitude wind shear conditions, which lasted until about 64 seconds. The
wind shear created forces on the vehicle with relatively large fluctuations.
These were immediately sensed and countered by the guidance, navigation and
control system. The steering system (thrust vector control) of the solid rocket
booster responded to all commands and wind shear effects. The wind shear caused
the steering system to be more active than on any previous flight.
Both the shuttle main engines and the solid rockets operated at reduced thrust
approaching and passing through the area of maximum dynamic pressure of 720
pounds per square foot. The main engines had been throttled up to 104 percent
thrust and the solid rocket boosters were increasing their thrust when the first
flickering flame appeared on the right solid rocket booster in the area of the
aft field joint. This first very small flame was detected on image enhanced film
at 58.788 seconds into the flight. It appeared to originate at about 305 degrees
around the booster circumference at or near the aft field joint.
One film frame later from the same camera, the flame was visible without image
enhancement. It grew into a continuous, well-defined plume at 59.262 seconds. At
about the same time (60 seconds), telemetry showed a pressure differential
between the chamber pressures in the right and left boosters. The right booster
chamber pressure was lower, confirming the growing leak in the area of the field
As the flame plume increased in size, it was deflected rearward by the
aerodynamic slipstream and circumferentially by the protruding structure of the
upper ring attaching the booster to the external tank. These deflections
directed the flame plume onto the surface of the external tank. This sequence of
flame spreading is confirmed by analysis of the recovered wreckage. The growing
flame also impinged on the strut attaching the solid rocket booster to the
The first visual indication that swirling flame from the right solid rocket
booster breached the external tank was at 64.660 seconds when there was an
abrupt change in the shape and color of the plume. This indicated that it was
mixing with leaking hydrogen from the external tank. Telemetered changes in the
hydrogen tank pressurization confirmed the leak. Within 45 milliseconds of the
breach of the external tank, a bright sustained glow developed on the
black-tiled underside of the Challenger between it and the external tank.
of the Solid Rocket Booster problems with Challenger after launch
at about 72 seconds, a series of events occurred extremely rapidly that
terminated the flight. Telemetered data indicated a wide variety of flight
system actions that support the visual evidence of the photos as the shuttle
struggled futilely against the forces that were destroying it.
At about 72.20 seconds the lower strut linking the solid rocket booster and the
external tank was severed or pulled away from the weakened hydrogen tank
permitting the right solid rocket booster to rotate around the upper attachment
strut. This rotation is indicated by divergent yaw and pitch rates between the
left and right solid rocket boosters.
At 73.124 seconds, a circumferential white vapor pattern was observed blooming
from the side of the external tank bottom dome. This was the beginning of the
structural failure of hydrogen tank that culminated in the entire aft dome
dropping away. This released massive amounts of liquid hydrogen from the tank
and created a sudden forward thrust of about 2.8 million pounds, pushing the
hydrogen tank upward into the intertank structure. At about the same time, the
rotating right solid rocket booster impacted the intertank structure and the
lower part of the liquid oxygen tank. These structures failed at 73.137 seconds
as evidenced by the white vapors appearing in the intertank region.
Within milliseconds there was massive, almost explosive, burning of the hydrogen
streaming from the failed tank bottom and liquid oxygen breach in the area of
At this point in its trajectory, while traveling at a Mach number of 1.92 at an
altitude of 46,000 feet, Challenger was totally enveloped in the explosive burn.
The Challenger's reaction control system ruptured and a hypergolic burn of its
propellants occurred as it exited the oxygen-hydrogen flames. The reddish brown
colors of the hypergolic fuel burn are visible on the edge of the main fireball.
The orbiter, under severe aerodynamic loads, broke into several large sections
which emerged from the fireball. Separate sections that can be identified on
film include the main engine/tail section with the engines still burning, one
wing of the orbiter, and the forward fuselage trailing a mass of umbilical lines
pulled loose from the payload bay.
engine exhaust, solid rocket booster plume and an expanding ball of gas from the
external tank is visible seconds after the Space Shuttle Challenger accident on
Jan. 28, 1986.
The shuttle Challenger's
left wing, aft engine compartment and crew cabin can be seen emerging from the
initial fireball. (Credit: NASA)
The explosion 73 seconds after
liftoff claimed crew and vehicle. The cause of explosion was determined to be an
o-ring failure in the right solid rocket booster. Cold weather was determined to
be a contributing factor.
accident after launch
The Fate of Challenger's Crew
"NASA is unable to determine
positively the cause of death of the Challenger astronauts but has
established that it is possible, but not certain, that loss of
consciousness did occur in the seconds following the orbiter
breakup." NASA Press Release
"We have now turned our full efforts
to the future, but will never forget our seven friends who gave their
lives to America's space frontier." - Rear Adm. Richard Truly,
Associate Administrator for Space Flight
The Rogers Commission did not discuss the
fate of the crew or provide much detail about the crew cabin wreckage.
Indeed, all references to "contact 67," the crash site of the
crew compartment, were deleted from the official record, including charts
that mapped various debris areas. This was done, perhaps, to preclude the
possibility that anyone could find out the latitude and longitude of the
cabin wreck site for diving and personal salvage. But ultimately, it was
simply an extension of NASA's policy of no comment when it came to the
astronauts. After all, hundreds of reporters knew the exact coordinates by
eavesdropping on Navy radio. In any case, while the astronauts were not
discussed in the commission report, the crew module was.
Analysis of crew cabin wreckage indicates
the shuttle's windows may have survived the explosion. It is thus possible
the crew did not experience high altitude decompression. If so, some or
all of the astronauts may have been alive and conscious all the way to
impact in the Atlantic some 18 miles northeast of the launch pad. The
cabin hit the water at better than 200 mph on Scobee's side. The metal
posts of the two forward flight deck seats, for example, were bent sharply
to the right by force of impact when the cabin disintegrated.
"The internal crew module components
recovered were crushed and distorted, but showed no evidence of heat or
fire," the commission report said. "A general consistency among
the components was a shear deformation from the top of the components
toward the +Y (to the right) direction from a force acting from the left.
Components crushed or sheared in the above manner included avionics boxes
from all three avionics bays, crew lockers, instrument panels and the seat
frames from the commander and the pilot. The more extensive and heavier
crush damage appeared on components nearer the upper left side of the crew
module. The magnitude and direction of the crush damage indicates that the
module was in a nose down and steep left bank attitude when it hit the
"The fact that pieces of forward
fuselage upper shell were recovered with the crew module indicates that
the upper shell remained attached to the crew module until water impact.
Pieces of upper forward fuselage shell recovered or found with the crew
module included cockpit window frames, the ingress/egress hatch, structure
around the hatch frame and pieces of the left and right sides. The window
glass from all of the windows, including the hatch window, was fractured
with only fragments of glass remaining in the frames."
Several large objects were tracked by radar
after the shuttle disintegrated. One such object, classified as
"Object D," hit the water 207 seconds after launch about 18
nautical miles east of launch pad 39B. This apparently was the crew cabin.
"It left no trail and had a bright white appearance (black and white
recording) until about T+175 seconds," an appendix to the Rogers
Commission report said. "The image then showed flashes of both white
and black until T+187 seconds, after which time it was consistently black.
The physical extent of the object was estimated from the TV recording to
be about 5 meters." This description is consistent with a slowly
spinning crew module, which had black heat-shield tiles on its bottom with
white tiles on its side and top.
The largest piece of crew cabin wreckage
recovered was a huge chunk of the aft bulkhead containing the airlock
hatch that led into the payload bay and one of the two flight deck windows
that looked out over the cargo hold. The bulkhead wreckage measured 12
feet by 17 feet.
FRANCIS R. (DICK)
NASA ASTRONAUT (DECEASED)
Born May 19, 1939, in Cle Elum, Washington. Died January 28, 1986. He is
survived by his wife, June, and two children. He enjoyed flying, oil painting,
woodworking, motorcycling, racquetball, jogging, and most outdoor sports.
Graduated from Auburn Senior High School, Auburn, Washington, in 1957; received
a bachelor of science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of
Arizona in 1965.
Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the Tau Beta Pi, the
Experimental Aircraft Association, and the Air Force Association.
Posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Awarded the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, and two NASA
Exceptional Service Medals.
enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1957, trained as a reciprocating
engine mechanic, and was subsequently stationed at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas.
While there, he attended night school and acquired 2 years of college credit
which led to his selection for the Airmanís Education and Commissioning
Program. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor of science
degree in Aerospace Engineering. He received his commission in 1965 and, after
receiving his wings in 1966, completed a number of assignments including a
combat tour in Vietnam. He returned to the United States and attended the USAF
Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Since
graduating in 1972, he has participated in test programs for which he has flown
such varied aircraft as the Boeing 747, the X-24B, the transonic aircraft
technology (TACT) F-111, and the C-5.
He has logged more than
6,500 hours flying time in 45 types of aircraft.
Scobee was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978. In August
1979, he completed a 1-year training and evaluation period, making him eligible
for assignment as a pilot on future Space Shuttle flightcrews. In addition to
astronaut duties, Mr. Scobee was an Instructor Pilot on the NASA/Boeing 747
shuttle carrier airplane.
He first flew as pilot of
STS 41-C which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 6, 1984.
Crew members included spacecraft commander Captain Robert L. Crippen, and three
mission specialists, Mr. Terry J. Hart, Dr. G.D. (Pinky) Nelson, and Dr. J.D.A.
(Ox) van Hoften. During this mission the crew successfully deployed the Long
Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF); retrieved the ailing Solar Maximum Satellite,
repaired it on-board the orbiting Challenger, and replaced it in orbit
using the robot arm called the Remote Manipulator System (RMS). The mission also
included flight testing of Manned Maneuvering Units (MMUís) in two
extravehicular activities (EVAís); operation of the Cinema 360 and IMAX Camera
Systems, as well as a Bee Hive Honeycomb Structures student experiment. Mission
duration was 7-days before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on
April 13, 1984. With the completion of this flight he logged a total of
168-hours in space.
Mr. Scobee was spacecraft
commander on STS 51-L which was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at
11:38:00 EST on January 28, 1986. The crew on board the Orbiter Challenger
included the pilot, Commander M.J. Smith (USN) (pilot), three mission
specialists, Dr. R.E. McNair, Lieutenant Colonel E.S. Onizuka (USAF), and Dr.
J.A. Resnik, as well as two civilian payload specialists, Mr. G.B. Jarvis and
Mrs. S. C. McAuliffe. The STS 51-L crew died on January 28, 1986 when Challenger
exploded after launch
MICHAEL J. SMITH
NASA ASTRONAUT (DECEASED)
Born April 30, 1945, in Beaufort, North Carolina. Died January 28, 1986. He is
survived by his wife, Jane, and three children. Michael enjoyed woodworking,
running, tennis, and squash.
Graduated from Beaufort High School, Beaufort, North Carolina, in 1963; received
a bachelor of science degree in Naval Science from the United States Naval
Academy in 1967 and a master of science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from
the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1968.
Posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
The Defense Distinguished Service Medal (posthumous), Navy Distinguished Flying
Cross, 3 Air Medals, 13 Strike Flight Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal
with "V", the Navy Unit Citation, and the Vietnamese Cross of
Gallantry with Silver Star.
Graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1967 and subsequently attended
the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California. He completed Navy
aviation jet training at Kingsville, Texas, receiving his aviator wings in May
1969. He was then assigned to the Advanced Jet Training Command (VT-21) where he
served as an instructor from May 1969 to March 1971. During the 2-year period
that followed, he flew A-6 Intruders and completed a Vietnam cruise while
assigned to Attack Squadron 52 aboard the USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63). In 1974, he
completed U.S. Navy Test Pilot School and was assigned to the Strike Aircraft
Test Directorate at Patuxent River, Maryland, to work on the A-6E TRAM and
CRUISE missile guidance systems. He returned to the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School
in 1976 and completed an 18-month tour as an instructor. From Patuxent River, he
was assigned to Attack Squadron 75 where he served as maintenance and operations
officer while completing two Mediterranean deployments aboard the USS SARATOGA.
He flew 28 different types of civilian and military aircraft, logging 4,867.7
hours of flying time.
Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in May 1980, he completed a 1-year
training and evaluation period in August 1981, qualifying him for assignment as
a pilot on future Space Shuttle flight crews. He served as a commander in the
Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory, Deputy Chief of Aircraft Operations
Division, Technical Assistant to the Director, Flight Operations Directorate,
and was also assigned to the Astronaut Office Development and Test Group.
Captain Smith was
assigned as pilot on STS 51-L. He was also assigned as pilot for Space Shuttle
Mission 61-N scheduled for launch in the Fall of 1986. Captain Smith died on
January 28, 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after launch
from the Kennedy Space Center, also taking the lives of spacecraft commander,
Mr. F.R. Scobee, three mission specialists, Dr. R.E. McNair, Lieutenant Colonel
E.S. Onizuka (USAF), and Dr. J.A. Resnik, and two civilian payload specialists,
Mr. G.B. Jarvis and Mrs. S. C. McAuliffe.
JUDITH A. RESNIK
NASA ASTRONAUT (DECEASED)
Born April 5, 1949, in Akron, Ohio. Died January 28, 1986. Unmarried. She was a
classical pianist and also enjoyed bicycling, running, and flying during her
Graduated from Firestone High School, Akron, Ohio, in 1966; received a bachelor
of science degree in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University in
1970, and a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland
Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers; American
Association for the Advancement of Science; IEEE Committee on Professional
Opportunities for Women; American Association of University Women; American
Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Tau Beta Pi; Eta Kappa Nu;
Mortarboard; Senior Member of the Society of Women Engineers.
Posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Graduate Study Program Award, RCA, 1971; American Association of University
Women Fellow, 1975-1976. NASA Space Flight Medal, 1984.
graduating from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1970, she was employed by RCA
located in Moorestown, New Jersey; and in 1971, she transferred to RCA in
Springfield, Virginia. Her projects while with RCA as a design engineer included
circuit design and development of custom integrated circuitry for phased-array
radar control systems; specification, project management, and performance
evaluation of control system equipment; and engineering support for NASA
sounding rocket and telemetry systems programs. She authored a paper concerning
design procedures for special-purpose integrated circuitry.
Dr. Resnik was a
biomedical engineer and staff fellow in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology at the
National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, from 1974 to 1977, where
she performed biological research experiments concerning the physiology of
visual systems. Immediately preceding her selection by NASA in 1978, she was a
senior systems engineer in product development with Xerox Corporation at El
Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978, she completed a
1-year training and evaluation period in August 1979. Dr. Resnik worked on a
number of projects in support of Orbiter development, including experiment
software, the Remote Manipulator System (RMS), and training techniques.
Dr. Resnik first flew as
a mission specialist on STS 41-D which launched from the Kennedy Space Center,
Florida, on August 30, 1984. She was accompanied by spacecraft commander Hank
Hartsfield, pilot Mike Coats, fellow mission specialists, Steve Hawley and Mike
Mullane, and payload specialist Charlie Walker. This was the maiden flight of
the orbiter Discovery. During this 7-day mission the crew successfully activated
the OAST-1 solar cell wing experiment, deployed three satellites, SBS-D, SYNCOM
IV-2, and TELSTAR 3-C, operated the CFES-III experiment, the student crystal
growth experiment, and photography experiments using the IMAX motion picture
camera. The crew earned the name "Icebusters" in successfully removing
hazardous ice particles from the orbiter using the Remote Manipulator System.
STS 41-D completed 96 orbits of the earth before landing at Edwards Air Force
Base, California, on September 5, 1984. With the completion of this flight she
logged 144 hours and 57 minutes in space.
Dr. Resnik was a mission
specialist on STS 51-L which was launched from the Kennedy Space Center,
Florida, at 11:38:00 EST on January 28, 1986. The crew on board the Orbiter Challenger
included the spacecraft commander, Mr. F.R. Scobee, the pilot, Commander M.J.
Smith (USN), fellow mission specialists, Dr. R.E. McNair, and Lieutenant Colonel
E.S. Onizuka (USAF), as well as two civilian payload specialists, Mr. G.B.
Jarvis and Mrs. S. C. McAuliffe. The STS 51-L crew died on January 28, 1986 when
Challenger exploded after launch.
ELLISON S. ONIZUKA
(LIEUTENANT COLONEL, USAF)
NASA ASTRONAUT (DECEASED)
Born June 24, 1946, in Kealakekua, Kona, Hawaii. Died January 28, 1986. He is
survived by his wife, Lorna, and two daughters. He enjoyed running, hunting,
fishing, and indoor/outdoor sports.
Graduated from Konawaena High School, Kealakekua, Hawaii, in 1964; received
bachelor and master of science degrees in Aerospace Engineering in June and
December 1969, respectively, from the University of Colorado.
Member of the Society of Flight Test Engineers, the Air Force Association, the
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Tau, and
the Triangle Fraternity.
Posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Presented the Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal,
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, and
National Defense Service Medal.
Onizuka entered on active duty with the United States Air Force in January 1970
after receiving his commission at the University of Colorado through the 4-year
ROTC program as a distinguished military graduate. As an aerospace flight test
engineer with the Sacramento Air Logistics Center at McClellan Air Force Base,
California, he participated in flight test programs and systems safety
engineering for the F-84, F-100, F-105, F-111, EC-121T, T-33, T-39, T-28, and
A-1 aircraft. He attended the USAF Test Pilot School from August 1974 to July
1975, receiving formal academic and flying instruction in performance, stability
and control, and systems flight testing of aircraft. In July 1975, he was
assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base,
California, serving on the USAF Test Pilot School staff initially as squadron
flight test engineer and later as chief of the engineering support section in
the training resources branch. His duties involved instruction of USAF Test
Pilot School curriculum courses and management of all flight test modifications
to general support fleet aircraft (A-7, A-37, T-38, F-4, T-33, and NKC-135) used
by the test pilot school and the flight test center. He has logged more than
1,700 hours flying time.
Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978, he completed a
1-year training and evaluation period in August 1979. He subsequently worked on
orbiter test and checkout teams and launch support crews at the Kennedy Space
Center for STS-1 and STS-2. He worked on software test and checkout crew at the
Shuttle Avionics and Integration Laboratory (SAIL), and has supported numerous
other technical assignments ranging from astronaut crew equipment/orbiter crew
compartment coordinator to systems and payload development.
He first flew as a
mission specialist on STS 51-C, the first Space Shuttle Department of Defense
mission, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on January 24, 1985.
He was accompanied by Captain Thomas K. Mattingly (spacecraft commander),
Colonel Loren J. Shriver (pilot), fellow mission specialist, Colonel James F.
Buchli, and Lieutenant Colonel Gary E. Payton (DOD payload specialist). During
the mission Onizuka was responsible for the primary payload activities, which
included the deployment of a modified Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). STS 51-C
Discovery completed 48 orbits of the Earth before landing at Kennedy Space
Center, Florida, on January 27, 1985. With the completion of this flight he
logged a total of 74 hours in space.
Onizuka was a mission specialist on STS 51-L which was launched from the Kennedy
Space Center, Florida, at 11:38:00 EST on January 28, 1986. The crew on board
the Orbiter Challenger included the spacecraft commander, Mr. F.R. Scobee, the
pilot, Commander M.J. Smith (USN), fellow mission specialists, Dr. R.E. McNair,
and Dr. J.A. Resnik, as well as two civilian payload specialists, Mr. G.B.
Jarvis and Mrs. S. C. McAuliffe. The STS 51-L crew died on January 28, 1986 when
Challenger exploded 1 min. 13 sec. after launch.
RONALD E. MCNAIR
NASA ASTRONAUT (DECEASED)
Born October 21, 1950, in Lake City, South Carolina. Died January 28, 1986. He
is survived by his wife Cheryl, and two children. He was a 5th degree black belt
Karate instructor and a performing jazz saxophonist. He also enjoyed running,
boxing, football, playing cards, and cooking.
Graduated from Carver High School, Lake City, South Carolina, in 1967; received
a bachelor of science degree in Physics from North Carolina A&T State
University in 1971 and a doctor of philosophy in Physics from Massachusetts
Institute of Technology in 1976; presented an honorary doctorate of Laws from
North Carolina A&T State University in 1978, an honorary doctorate of
Science from Morris College in 1980, and an honorary doctorate of science from
the University of South Carolina in 1984.
Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American
Optical Society, the American Physical Society (APS), the APS Committee on
Minorities in Physics, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Board of Trustees, the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee, Omega Psi Phi, and a
visiting lecturer in Physics at Texas Southern University.
Posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina A&T (1971); named a
Presidential Scholar (1967-1971), a Ford Foundation Fellow (1971-1974), a
National Fellowship Fund Fellow (1974-1975), a NATO Fellow (1975); winner of
Omega Psi Phi Scholar of the Year Award (1975), Los Angeles Public School
Systemís Service Commendation (1979), Distinguished Alumni Award (1979),
National Society of Black Professional Engineers Distinguished National
Scientist Award (1979), Friend of Freedom Award (1981), Whoís Who Among Black
Americans (1980), an AAU Karate Gold Medal (1976), five Regional Blackbelt
Karate Championships, and numerous proclamations and achievement awards.
at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. McNair performed some of the
earliest development of chemical HF/DF and high-pressure CO lasers. His later
experiments and theoretical analysis on the interaction of intense CO2
laser radiation with molecular gases provided new understandings and
applications for highly excited polyatomic molecules.
In 1975, he studied laser
physics with many authorities in the field at Eícole Díete Theorique de
Physique, Les Houches, France. He published several papers in the areas of
lasers and molecular spectroscopy and gave many presentations in the United
States and abroad.
Following graduation from
MIT in 1976, he became a staff physicist with Hughes Research Laboratories in
Malibu, California. His assignments included the development of lasers for
isotope separation and photochemistry utilizing non-linear interactions in
low-temperature liquids and optical pumping techniques. He also conducted
research on electro-optic laser modulation for satellite-to-satellite space
communications, the construction of ultra-fast infrared detectors, ultraviolet
atmospheric remote sensing, and the scientific foundations of the martial arts.
Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978, he completed a
1-year training and evaluation period in August 1979, qualifying him for
assignment as a mission specialist astronaut on Space Shuttle flight crews.
He first flew as a
mission specialist on STS 41-B which launched from Kennedy Space Center,
Florida, on February 3, 1984. The crew included spacecraft commander, Mr. Vance
Brand, the pilot, Commander Robert L. Gibson, and fellow mission specialists,
Captain Bruce McCandless II, and Lt. Col. Robert L. Stewart. The flight
accomplished the proper shuttle deployment of two Hughes 376 communications
satellites, as well as the flight testing of rendezvous sensors and computer
programs. This mission marked the first flight of the Manned Maneuvering Unit
and the first use of the Canadian arm (operated by McNair) to position EVA
crewman around Challengerís payload bay. Included were the German
SPAS-01 Satellite, acoustic levitation and chemical separation experiments, the
Cinema 360 motion picture filming, five Getaway Specials, and numerous mid-deck
experiments -- all of which Dr. McNair assumed primary responsibility. Challenger
culminated in the first landing on the runway at Kennedy Space Center on
February 11, 1984. With the completion of this flight, he logged a total of 191
hours in space.
Dr. McNair was assigned
as a mission specialist on STS 51-L. Dr. McNair died on January 28, 1986 when
the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after launch from the Kennedy Space
Center, Florida, also taking the lives of the spacecraft commander, Mr. F.R.
Scobee, the pilot, Commander M.J. Smith (USN), mission specialists, Lieutenant
Colonel E.S. Onizuka (USAF), and Dr. J.A. Resnik, and two civilian payload
specialists, Mr. G.B. Jarvis and Mrs. S. C. McAuliffe
GREGORY B. JARVIS
PAYLOAD SPECIALIST (DECEASED)
Born August 24, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan. He is survived by his wife, Marcia.
Greg Jarvis was an avid squash player and bicycle rider. He also enjoyed cross
country skiing, backpacking, racquet ball, and white water river rafting. For
relaxation, he played the classical guitar.
Posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Graduated from Mohawk Central High School, Mohawk, New York, 1962; received a
bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering, State University of New
York at Buffalo, 1967; a masterís degree in electrical engineering,
Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, 1969. Mr. Jarvis also completed
all of the course work for a masterís degree in management science, West Coast
University, Los Angeles, California.
pursuing his masterís degree at Northeastern, Mr. Jarvis worked at Raytheon in
Bedford Massachusetts, where he was involved in circuit design on the SAM-D
missile. In July 1969, he entered active duty in the Air Force and was assigned
to the Space Division in El Segundo, California. As a Communications Payload
Engineer, in the Satellite Communications Program Office, he worked on advanced
tactical communications satellites. He was involved in the concept formulation,
source selection, and early design phase of the FLTSATCOM communications
payload. After being honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1973, with the
rank of Captain, he joined Hughes Aircraft Companyís Space and Communications
group, where he worked as a Communications Subsystem Engineer on the MARISAT
Program. In 1975, he became the MARISAT F-3 Spacecraft Test and Integration
Manager. In 1976, the MARISAT F-3 was placed in geosynchronous orbit. Jarvis
became a member of the Systems Applications Laboratory in 1976, and was involved
in the concept definition for advanced UHF and SHF communications for the
strategic forces. Joining the Advanced Program Laboratory in 1978, he began
working on the concept formulation and subsequent proposal for the SYNCON IV/LEASAT
Program. In 1979, he became the Power/Thermal/Harness Subsystem Engineer on the
LEASAT Program. In 1981, he became the Spacecraft Bus System Engineering and in
1982, the Assistant Spacecraft System Engineering Manager. He was the Test and
Integration Manager for the F-1, F-2, and F-3 spacecraft and the cradle in 1983,
where he worked until the shipment of the F-1 spacecraft and cradle to Cape
Kennedy for integration into the Orbiter. Both the F-1 and F-2 LEASAT spacecraft
have successfully achieved their geosynchronous positions. Mr. Jarvis worked on
advanced satellite designs in the Systems Application Laboratory. He was
selected as a payload specialist candidate in July 1984.
Mr. Jarvis was a payload specialist on STS 51-L which was launched from the
Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 11:38:00 EST on January 28, 1986. The crew on
board the Orbiter Challenger included the spacecraft commander, Mr. F.R.
Scobee, the pilot, Commander M.J. Smith (USN), mission specialists, Dr. R.E.
McNair, Lieutenant Colonel E.S. Onizuka (USAF), and Dr. J. A. Resnik, and fellow
civilian payload specialist, Mrs. S. C. McAuliffe. The STS 51-L crew died on
January 28, 1986 when Challenger exploded after launch.
S. CHRISTA CORRIGAN
TEACHER IN SPACE PARTICIPANT (DECEASED)
PERSONAL DATA: Born
September 2, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts. She is survived by husband Steven
and two children. Her listed recreational interests included jogging, tennis,
from Marian High School, Framingham, Massachusetts, in 1966; received a bachelor
of arts degree, Framingham State College, 1970; and a masters degree in
education, Bowie State College, Bowie, Maryland, 1978.
member, New Hampshire Council of Social Studies; National Council of Social
Studies; Concord Teachers Association; New Hampshire Education Association; and
the National Education Association.
awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES: Member,
Junior Service League; teacher, Christian Doctrine Classes, St. Peters Church;
host family, A Better Chance Program (ABC), for inner-city students; and
fundraiser for Concord Hospital and Concord YMCA.
1970-1971 Benjamine Foulois Junior High School, Morningside, Maryland. Teacher.
American history, 8th grade.
1971-1978 Thomas Johnson Junior High School, Lanham, Maryland. Teacher. English
and American history, 8th grade and civics, 9th grade.
1978-1979 Rundlett Junior High School, Concord, New Hampshire. Teacher, 7th
grade and American history, 8th grade.
1980-1982 Bow Memorial High School, Concord, New Hampshire. Teacher. English,
1982-1985 Concord High School, Concord, New Hampshire. Teacher. Courses in
economics, law, American history, and a course she developed entitled ďThe
American Woman,Ē 10th, 11th, and 12th grade.
NASA EXPERIENCE:. Christa
McAuliffe was selected as the primary candidate for the NASA Teacher in Space
Project on July 19, 1985. She was a payload specialist on STS 51-L which was
launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 11:38:00 EST on January 28,
1986. The crew on board the Orbiter Challenger included the spacecraft
commander, Mr. F.R. Scobee, the pilot, Commander M.J. Smith (USN), three mission
specialists, Dr. R.E. McNair, Lieutenant Colonel E.S. Onizuka (USAF), and Dr.
J.A. Resnik, and fellow civilian payload specialist, Mr. G.B. Jarvis. The STS
51-L crew died on January 28, 1986 when Challenger exploded after launch.
Shuttle Challenger landing at Kennedy Space Center at end of STS 41-G
Orbiter Vehicle Designation:
26 July 1972
STS-6 4 April 1983 Ė 9 April 1983
STS-51-L 28 January 1986
Number of missions:
Time spent in space:
Number of orbits:
destroyed 28 January 1986
Challenger, the second orbiter to
become operational at Kennedy Space Center, was named after the British Naval
research vessel HMS Challenger that sailed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans
during the 1870's. The Apollo 17 lunar module also carried the name of
Challenger. Like her historic predecessors, Space Shuttle Challenger and her
crews made significant contributions to America's scientific growth. Challenger
joined NASA fleet of reusable winged spaceships in July 1982. It flew nine
successful Space Shuttle missions. On January 28, 1986, the Challenger and its
seven-member crew were lost 73 seconds after launch when a booster failure
resulted in the breakup of the vehicle.
Challenger started out as a
high-fidelity structural test article (STA-099). The airframe was completed by
Rockwell and delivered to Lockheed Plant 42 for structural testing on 02/04/78.
The orbiter structure had evolved under such weight-saving pressure that
virtually all components of the air frame were required to handle significant
structural stress. With such an optimized design, it was difficult to accurately
predict mechanical and thermal loading with the computer software available at
the time. The only safe approach was to submit the structural test article to
intensive testing and analysis. STA-099 underwent 11 months of intensive
vibration testing in a 43 ton steel rig built especially for the Space Shuttle
Test Program. The rig consisted of 256 hydraulic jacks, distributed over 836
load application points. Under computer control, it was possible to simulate the
expected stress levels of launch, ascent, on-orbit, reentry and landing. Three 1
million pound-force hydraulic cylinders were used to simulate the thrust from
the Space Shuttle Main Engines. Heating and thermal simulations were also done.
Rockwell's original $2.6 billion
contract had authorized the building of a pair of static-test articles (MPTA-098
and STA-099 and two initial flight-test vehicles (OV-101 and OV-102. A decision
in 1978 not to modify Enterprise from her Approach and Landing Test (ALT)
configuration would have left Columbia as the only operational orbiter vehicle
so on 1/29/79 NASA awarded Rockwell a supplemental contract to convert
Challenger (STA-099) from a test vehicle into a space-rated Orbiter (OV-099).
STA-099 was returned to Rockwell
on 11/7/79 and it's conversion into a fully rated Orbiter Vehicle was started.
This conversion, while easier than it would have been to convert Enterprise,
still involved a major disassembly of the vehicle. Challenger had been built
with a simulated crew module and the forward fuselage halves had to be separated
to gain access to the crew module. Additionally, the wings were modified and
reinforced to incorporate the results of structural testing and two heads-up
displays (HUD's) were installed in the cockpit. Empty Weight was 155,400 lbs at
rollout and 175,111 lbs with main engines installed. This was about 2,889 pounds
lighter than Columbia
Mission Highlights (Planned)
The planned orbital activities of the Challenger 51-L mission were as follows:
On Flight Day 1, after arriving into orbit, the crew was to have two periods of
scheduled high activity. First they were to check the readiness of the TDRS-B
satellite prior to planned deployment. After lunch they were to deploy the
satellite and its Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster and to perform a series of
separation maneuvers. The first sleep period was scheduled to be eight hours
long starting about 18 hours after crew wakeup the morning of launch.
On Flight Day 2, the Comet Halley Active Monitoring Program (CHAMP) experiment
was scheduled to begin. Also scheduled were the initial "teacher in
space" (TISP) video taping and a firing of the orbital maneuvering engines
(OMS) to place Challenger at the 152-mile orbital altitude from which the
Spartan would be deployed.
On Flight Day 3, the crew was to begin pre-deployment preparations on the
Spartan and then the satellite was to be deployed using the remote manipulator
system (RMS) robot arm. Then the flight crew was to slowly separate from Spartan
by 90 miles.
On Flight Day 4, the Challenger was to begin closing on Spartan while Gregory B.
Jarvis continued fluid dynamics experiments started on day two and day 3. Live
telecasts were also planned to be conducted by Christa McAuliffe.
On Flight Day 5, the crew was to rendezvous with Spartan and use the robot arm
to capture the satellite and re-stow it in the payload bay.
On Flight Day 6, re-entry preparations were scheduled. This included flight
control checks, test firing of maneuvering jets needed for re-entry, and cabin
stowage. A crew news conferences was also scheduled following the lunch period.
On Flight Day 7, the day would have been spent preparing the Space Shuttle for
deorbit and entry into the atmosphere. The Challenger was scheduled to land at
the Kennedy Space Center 144 hours and 34 minutes after launch.
Timeline of Challenger's Final
0.000 - Solid rocket
ignition command is sent.
Resnik, intercom: "Aaall
0.008 - First of eight
25-inch-long, 7-inch-wide exploding bolts fire, four at the base of each
booster, freeing Challenger from launch pad.
0.250 - First continuous
vertical motion is recorded.
0.678 - Film developed
later shows the first evidence of abnormal black smoke appearing slightly
above the suspect joint in Challenger's right-hand solid rocket booster.
0.836 - The black smoke
appears darkest; jets in puffs of three per second, roughly matching
harmonic characteristics of the shuttle vehicle at launch, characteristics
directly related to the energy stored in the shuttle structure by the
twang phenomenon and released as the spacecraft is freed from the launch
0.890 - Ground launch
sequencer computers begin post-liftoff "safing" of launch pad
structures and equipment.
1.000 - Smith, intercom:
"Here we go."
2.733 - Last positive
evidence of smoke above the aft attach fitting that holds the rear of the
right-side booster to the external fuel tank. The aft attach fitting is a
little less than two feet above the fuel segment joint.
3.375 - Last positive
visual indication of smoke swirling under the bottom of the external fuel
Launch commentator Harris
(continuing) "... Liftoff of the 25th space shuttle mission, and it
has cleared the tower."
4.339 - The three
liquid-fueled main engines throttle up from 90 percent thrust to 104
percent thrust as planned. The capability for 104-percent performance is
the result of improvements made in main engine systems over the decade
they were in development.
5.000 - Data processing
systems (DPS) engineer Andrew Algate, mission control, Houston:
Flight director Jay Greene,
5.000 - Loss of data from
the shuttle at NASA's Merritt Island antenna complex for four data frames.
Four more "data BIT synch dropouts" occur in the next one minute
and six seconds. These are normal and are caused by flame and objects on
the horizon that attenuate radio signals.
5.615 - The backup flight
system computer aboard Challenger commands the S-band PM (phase modulated)
and S-band FM radio systems to switch antennas to maintain communications
during the upcoming roll maneuver.
5.674 - Internal pressure
in the right-side booster is recorded as 11.8 pounds per square inch
higher than normal.
7.724 - The shuttle clears
the launch pad tower and begins a maneuver to roll over, putting the crew
in a "heads down" position below the external tank.
8.000 - Scobee,
air-to-ground: "Houston, Challenger. Roll program."
12.000 - Another antenna
switch is ordered to transfer data to the Ponce De Leon tracking station.
14.000 - Resnik, intercom:
"LVLH." Resnik is reminding Scobee and Smith about proper
cockpit switch configurations. "LVLH" is an acronym that stands
for "local vertical, local horizontal."
15.000 - Resnik, intercom:
16.000 - Mission Control
spokesman Nesbitt in Houston: "Good roll program confirmed.
Challenger now heading downrange."
19.000 - Smith, intercom:
"Looks like we've got a lot of wind here today."
19.859 - Challenger's three
main engines receive commands to begin throttling down to 94 percent
power, as planned.
21.124 - The roll maneuver
is completed and Challenger is on the proper trajectory.
21.604 - Right hand SRB
thrust decreases before shuttle reaches maximum dynamic pressure. This is
accomplished by the burn down of ridges in the solid propellant of the
forward fuel segment. Thrust is a function of surface area of propellant
22.000 - Scobee, intercom:
"It's a little hard to see out my window here."
22.204 - Left hand SRB
thrust decreases as planned.
27.000 - Booster systems
engineer (Booster) Jerry Borrer, mission control: "Throttle down to
28.000 - Smith, intercom:
"There's 10,000 feet and Mach point five." The shuttle is 10,000
feet high traveling at half the speed of sound.
beginning throttling down, now at 94 percent. Normal throttle (setting)
for most of the flight is 104 percent. We'll throttle down to 65 percent
35.000 - Scobee, intercom:
35.379 - The three main
engines begin throttling down to 65 percent thrust to reduce acceleration
as aerodynamic pressure builds up.
36.990 - Telemetry data
shows the shuttle's computer system responds properly to wind shear to
adjust the ship's flight path.
45.000 - Nesbitt:
"Engines are at 65 percent. Three engines running normally..."
45.217 - A flash is
observed downstream of the shuttle's right wing.
48.118 - A second flash is
seen trailing the right wing.
48.418 - A third
unexplained flash is seen downstream of the shuttle's right-hand wing. 70
mm tracking camera closeup: brilliant orange ball of flame, apparently,
emerges from under the right wing and quickly merges with the plume of the
solid rocket boosters. This phenomenon, observed during analysis of
tracking film after launch, has been seen on previous launches but has
never been explained.
48.900 - Booster engineer (Borrer):
"Three at 65."
Nesbitt: "... Three
good fuel cells. Three good APUs (auxiliary power units)..."
Greene: Sixty-five, FIDO..."
FIDO (Perry): "T-del
confirms throttles." Perry is referring to computer software
monitoring the flight in realtime.
51.860 - Challenger's main
engines receive commands from the onboard flight computers to begin
throttling back up to 104 percent thrust as planned.
52.000 - Nesbitt:
"Velocity 2,257 feet per second (1,539 mph), altitude 4.3 nautical
miles, downrange distance 3 nautical miles..."
57.000 - Scobee, intercom:
58.788 - Tracking cameras
show the first evidence of an abnormal plume on the right-hand solid
rocket booster facing away from the shuttle. Scobee and Smith had no data
on the performance of the solid rockets except for a software system that
would have alerted them to malfunctions in the booster steering mechanism.
59.000 - Challenger passes
through the region of maximum aerodynamic pressure, experiencing 720
pounds per square foot.
59.262 - A continuous
"well defined intense plume" of exhaust is seen on the side of
the suspect booster by tracking cameras. This is clear evidence of a burn
59.753 - First visual
evidence of flame on the right-side booster. 70 mm tracking camera closeup:
a flickering tongue of flame appears on side of booster away from shuttle
and quickly becomes continuous.
60.000 - Smith, intercom:
"Feel that mother go!"
Unknown, intercom: "Wooooo
60.004 - Data radioed from
Challenger shows the internal pressure in the right-side SRB begins
dropping. This is because of the rapidly increasing hole in the failed
60.238 - First evidence of
flame from the rupture deflecting after impinging on the external fuel
tank. This is a sign that the burn through has increased to the point
where the jet of flame is deflected by the rush of air along the external
60.248 - First evidence of
the anomalous plume "attaching" to the fitting that couples the
aft end of the right-side rocket to the base of the external fuel tank.
60.988 - The plume
deflection is continuous. 70 mm tracking camera closeup: thick,
well-defined plume of flame arcs away from right solid rocket booster.
61.724 - The shuttle rolls
slightly in response to high winds aloft.
62.000 - Smith, intercom:
"Thirty-five thousand, going through one point five."
62.084 - The steering
mechanism of the left-hand booster suddenly moves on computer command as
Challenger's flight control system compensates for wind shear. It is later
noted that wind shear during Challenger's launch was more extreme than for
any of the previous 24 shuttle missions, although still within design
62.484 - Challenger's
computers order the shuttle's right-hand "elevon," or wing flap,
to move suddenly in response to wind.
63.924 - A pressure change
is recorded in the right-hand outboard elevon, indicating movement.
63.964 - The shuttle's
computers order a planned change in Challenger's pitch to ensure the
proper angle of attack during this phase of the trajectory.
64.660 - The plume from the
burn through changes shape suddenly, indicating a leak has started in the
shuttle's liquid hydrogen tank to fuel the fire.
64.705 - A bright,
sustained glow is photographed on the side of the external fuel tank.
64.937 - The main engine
nozzles move through large arcs, trying to keep the shuttle on course as
the flight computers attempt to compensate for the unbalanced thrust
produced by the booster burn through. The shuttle stops the minute
pitching. It is doubtful the crew was aware of the computers' efforts to
keep the ship on course. At this point in the launch phase, the crew is
experiencing normal extreme longitudinal vibrations and steadily
increasing acceleration forces. Slight movement of the shuttle appears
visible in NASA's closed-circuit television system but this could be an
65.000 - Scobee, intercom:
"Reading four eighty six on mine." This is a routine airspeed
Smith: "Yep, that's
what I've got, too."
65.164 - First recorded
evidence of Challenger experiencing transient motion.
65.524 - Data shows the
left wing's outboard elevon moves suddenly.
66.000 - Booster (Borrer):
"Throttle up, three at 104."
(Covey), go at throttle up."
66.174 - Tracking cameras
show a bright spot suddenly appears in the exhaust plume from the side of
the right-side solid rocket motor and bright spots are detected on the
side of the rocket facing the belly of the shuttle.
66.764 - The pressure in
the shuttle's external liquid hydrogen tank begins to drop, indicating a
massive leak. Smith had realtime readings of pressure in the liquid
hydrogen tank, but it is doubtful he noticed anything unusual because of
the rapidity of the failure. It made no difference, ultimately, because
even if Challenger's pilots had suspected an SRB problem there was nothing
they could have done about it. While the shuttle separates from its
external fuel tank shortly before reaching orbit, it does so with no
engines firing and in a benign aerodynamic environment. As Scobee and
Smith well knew, separating from the tank while the SRBs were firing would
drive the shuttle into the bottom of the fuel tank.
67.650 - The abnormal
plumes on the bottom and top of the booster appear to merge into one. This
means the flame has wrapped around the joint as the leak deteriorated.
67.684 - Telemetry
indicates falling pressure in the 17-inch-wide liquid oxygen propellant
lines feeding the three main engines.
68.000 - Nesbitt:
"Engines are throttling up. Three engines now at 104 percent."
Covey: "Challenger, go
at throttle up."
70.000 - Scobee calmly
responds, air-to-ground: "Roger, go at throttle up."
72.204 - Data shows
divergent up and down motions in nozzles of both solid rocket boosters.
72.284 - The two solid
rocket boosters change position relative to each other, indicating the
right-side booster apparently has pulled away from one of the two struts
that connected its aft end to the external fuel tank. TV tracking camera:
A large ball of orange fire appears higher on other side of main fuel
tank, closer to Challenger's cabin, and grows rapidly.
72.478 - A "major high
rate actuator command" is recorded from one of the boosters,
indicating extreme nozzle motions.
72.497 - The nozzles of the
three liquid-fueled main engines begin moving at high rates: five degrees
72.525 - Data shows a
sudden lateral acceleration to the right jolts the shuttle with a force of
.227 times normal gravity. This is felt by the crew.
72.564 - Start of liquid
hydrogen pressure decrease. Solid rocket boosters again demonstrate high
nozzle motion rates.
72.624 - Challenger beams
back what turns out to be its final navigation update.
72.964 - Main engine liquid
oxygen propellant pressures begin falling sharply at turbopump inlets.
73.000 (approximate) -
Smith, intercom: "Uh oh..." This is the last comment captured by
the crew cabin intercom recorder. Smith may have been responding to
indications on main engine performance or falling pressures in the
external fuel tank.
73.010 - Last data is
captured by the tracking and data relay satellite in orbit overhead,
indicating structural breakup has begun in that area.
73.044 - Start of sharp
decrease in liquid hydrogen pressure to the main engines.
73.045 - Another lateral
acceleration, this one to the left, is felt by the crew. Lateral
acceleration equals .254 time the force of gravity.
73.124 - Internal pressure
in the right-side rocket booster is recorded as 19 pounds per square inch
below that of its counterpart, indicating about 100,000 pounds less
thrust. Tracking cameras detect evidence of a circumferential white
pattern on the left side of the base of the external tank indicating a
massive rupture near the SRB-tank attach ring. The is nothing less than
the aft dome of the liquid hydrogen tank blowing out and backwards. The
resulting forward acceleration blasts the tank up into the liquid oxygen
tank in the tip of the external fuel tank.
73.137 - Vapors appear near
the intertank section separating the hydrogen and oxygen sections
accompanied by liquid hydrogen spillage from the aft dome of the external
73.143 - All three main
engines respond to loss of oxygen and hydrogen inlet pressure.
73.162 - Ground cameras
show a sudden cloud of rocket fuel appearing along the side of the
external tank. This indicates the nose of the right-hand booster may have
pivoted into the intertank area, compounding the liquid oxygen rupture.
73.191 - A sudden brilliant
flash is photographed between the shuttle and the external tank. TV
tracking camera: Fireballs merge into bright yellow and red mass of flame
that engulfs Challenger. A single crackling noise is heard on
air-to-ground radio, originally thought to be the sound of the explosion
transmitted through the crew's voice-activated microphones. Engineers
later determine the sound is the result of ground transmitters searching
the shuttle's frequency range for a signal.
73.211 - Telemetry data
from the main engines exhibits interference for the next tenth of a
73.213 - An explosion
occurs near the forward part of the tank where the solid rocket boosters
73.282 - The explosion
intensifies and begins consuming the external fuel tank. Television
tracking camera: a ball of brilliant white erupts from the area beneath
the shuttle's nose.
73.327 - The white flash in
the intertank area greatly intensifies.
73.377 - Tank pressure for
on board supplies of maneuvering rocket fuel begins to fluctuate.
73.383 - Data indicates the
liquid-fueled main engines are approaching redline limits on their
powerful fuel pumps.
73.482 - Channel A of main
engine No. 2's control computer votes for engine shutdown because of high
pressure fuel turbopump discharge temperature. Channel B records two
strikes for shutdown.
73.503 - Main engine No. 3
begins shutdown because of high temperatures in its high pressure fuel
pump. Last data captured by main engine No. 3's controller.
73.523 - Main engine No. 1
begins shutdown because of high temperatures in high pressure fuel pump.
73.543 - Last telemetry
from main engine No. 1.
73.618 - The last valid
telemetry from the shuttle is recorded as it breaks up: pressure
fluctuations in a fuel tank in the left rocket pod at Challenger's rear
and chamber pressure changes in auxiliary power unit No. 1's gas
73.631 - End of last data
74.130 - Last radio signal
74.587 - A bright flash is
observed in the vicinity of the orbiter's nose. Television tracking camera
closeup: The nose of the shuttle and the crew compartment suddenly
engulfed in brilliant orange flame as rocket fuel in forward maneuvering
jet supplies ignites.
"At that point in its
trajectory, while traveling at a Mach number of 1.92 (twice the speed of
sound) at an altitude of 46,000 feet, the Challenger was totally enveloped
in the explosive burn,"
said the Rogers Commission
report. "The Orbiter, under severe aerodynamic loads, broke into
several large sections which emerged from the fireball. Separate sections
that can be identified on film include the main engine/tail section with
the engines still burning, one wing of the Orbiter, and the forward
fuselage trailing a mass of umbilical lines pulled loose from the payload
The nose section had ripped
away from the payload bay cleanly, although a mass of electrical cables
and umbilicals were torn from the cargo hold, fluttering behind the crew
cabin as it shot through the thin air, still climbing. Challenger's
fuselage was suddenly open like a tube with its top off. Still flying at
twice the speed of sound, the resulting rush of air that filled the
payload bay overpressurized the structure and it broke apart from the
inside out, disintegrating in flight. Challenger's wings cartwheeled away
on their own but the aft engine compartment held together, falling in one
large piece toward the Atlantic Ocean, its engines on fire because of
their sudden shutdown with more oxygen in the system than hydrogen. The
TDRS satellite and its big IUS booster rocket were blown free of the cargo
bay as was Spartan Halley. All this happened as the external tank gave up
its load of fuel, which ignited in the atmosphere in what appeared to be
an explosion. It was more of a sudden burning than an explosion. In any
case, the two solid rockets emerged from the fireball of burning fuel and
continued on, bereft of guidance from the shuttle's now-silent flight
75.000 - Nesbitt (not
realizing immediately there had been an explosion): "One minute 15
seconds. Velocity 2,900 feet per second (1,977 mph). Altitude 9 nautical
miles. Downrange distance 7 nautical miles."
76.437 - The nose cap of
the right hand solid rocket booster separates and its drogue parachute
deploys. Tracking camera closeup: lone parachute seen emerging from plume
of solid rocket booster.
79.000 - TV tracking
camera, different view: White streamers of smoking debris blossom in all
directions from cloud of smoke and flame marking the spot where Challenger
had been. One large burning piece falls toward the ocean. Two solid rocket
boosters emerge from the fireball and corkscrew through the sky on their
own. Nesbitt's commentary stops.
89.000 - Greene in mission
control utters the first words since the explosion 13 seconds ago: "FIDO,
Ground control (GC)
engineer N.R. Talbott, mission control: "Flight, GC, we've had
negative contact, loss of downlink (of radio voice or data from
Greene: "OK, all
operators, watch your data carefully."
FIDO: "Flight, FIDO,
till we get stuff back he's on his cue card for abort modes."
flight, no data."
110.250 - Range safety
control officers send radio signals that detonate the self-destruct
package on right-hand solid rocket.
110.252 - The left-hand
booster self destructs. Tracking camera closeup: a thick cloud of black
smoke suddenly engulfs rocket and brilliant but quick explosion ensues.
Numerous fragments of the booster emerge from the fireball, including what
appears to be a complete aft fuel segment, slowly tumbling.
(Editor's Note: The
following times in minutes and seconds)
1:56 - Nesbitt:
"Flight controllers here are looking very carefully at the situation.
Obviously a major malfunction."
2:01 - Ground control
officer: "Flight, GC, negative downlink."
2:08 - Nesbitt: "We
have no downlink."
2:20 - TV tracking camera:
falling bits of debris create white contrails arching through the blue
sky. A larger object, trailing a thin cloud of vapor, plummets toward the
Greene (long pause):
"Copy. FIDO, can we get any reports from recovery forces?"
FIDO: "Stand by."
2:45 - Greene: "GC,
all operators, contingency procedures in effect."
2:50 - Nesbitt: "We
have a report from the flight dynamics officer that the vehicle has
exploded. The flight director confirms that. We are looking at checking
with the recovery forces to see what can be done at this point."
3:03 - Greene: "FIDO,
FIDO: "Go ahead."
Greene: "LSO (Lockheed
Safety Officer) and recovery forces, any contacts?"
3:09 - Nesbitt:
"Contingency procedures are in effect..."
FIDO: "We're working
with them, flight."
3:22 - Nesbitt: "We
will report more as we have information available. Again, to repeat, we
have a report relayed through the flight dynamics officer that the vehicle
has exploded. We are now looking at all the contingency operations and
awaiting word from any recovery forces in the downrange field."
3:25 - TV tracking camera:
The first pieces of debris can be seen splashing into the ocean.
3:53 - FIDO: "Flight,
FIDO, for what it's worth, the filter shows 'em in the water."
3:58 - Challenger's crew
cabin smashes into the Atlantic Ocean at about 200 mph. The astronauts,
still strapped in their seats, experience a braking force of 200 times
normal gravity. The crew cabin disintegrates and settles to the bottom 100
4:15 - Television tracking
camera closeup shows ocean surface east of Patrick Air Force Station. A
large cloud of ruddy brown smoke hangs over surface of water as objects
splash on impact nearby. The cloud probably was caused by leaking
hydrazine rocket fuel from wreckage that hit the water.
4:27 - Greene: "FIDO,
flight. ... FIDO flight."
FIDO: "Go ahead."
Greene: "Did the RSO's
have an impact point?"
FIDO: "Stand by."
5:03 - Nesbitt: "This
is mission control, Houston. We have no additional word at this
5:05 - FIDO: "Flight,
FIDO: "The vacuum IP
(impact point) is 28.64 North, 80.28 West."
Greene: "How does that
stack with the solid (rocket) recovery forces?" Greene is referring
to the Liberty Star and the Freedom Star, two NASA ships on station in the
Atlantic to recover Challenger's boosters after a normal launch.
FIDO: "We're still
talking to them."
5:24 - Nesbitt:
"Reports from the flight dynamics officer indicate that the vehicle
apparently exploded and that impact in the water (was) at a point
approximately 28.64 degrees North, 80.28 degrees West."
5:36 - TV tracking camera:
A dark, irregularly shaped piece of debris - thought to be one of
Challenger's wings- cartwheels down from the sky and splashes into the
Atlantic. It is the largest piece of Challenger seen on TV impacting in
5:46 - Nesbitt: "We
are awaiting verification as to the location of the recovery forces in the
field to see what may be possible at this point and we will keep you
advised as further information is available. This is mission
6:15 - NASA television
switches from ocean views to the grandstand area at the press site. A
large cloud of white smoke remains visible towering into the sky, twisted
by winds aloft and slowly dissipating. Small, helical streamers mark
contrails of the solid rocket boosters.
6:41 - Greene: "OK,
everybody stay off the telephones, make sure you maintain all your data,
start pulling it together."
7:17 - Greene:
FIDO: "FIDO, flight,
go ahead sir."
Greene: "Are the LSO's
on the loop?"
FIDO: "We can get 'em."
Greene: "Get 'em up on
the loop, please."
LSO: "Yes sir, this is
Greene: "OK, are there
any forces headed out that way?"
LSO: "Yes sir. DOD
(Department of Defense) LSO reports that all ... forces have been
scrambled and they are on their way."
Greene: "OK, do we
have an ETA?"
8:00 - Greene conducts a
poll of his flight controllers to determine if any data indicates what may
have gone wrong.
Greene: "Did you see
sir, I looked at all the turbine temps were perfect, right on the
prediction. All the redlines were in good shape."
RMU (Reiley): "We
looked good, flight."
Greene: "ECOM? ECOM,
environmental and communications systems engineer John Rector):
"Flight, ECOM, we looked normal."
DPS (Algate): "All our
data's normal, flight."
Propulsion systems (PROP)
engineer A.J. Ceccacci: "Everything looked good, flight."
GNC (Guidance, navigation
and control engineer J.W. Bantle): "Flight, the roll maneuver looked
fine, what we saw of it. We were on our way decreasing roll rate as we
8:03 - NASA select
television shows launch pad 39-B with smoke still hanging over the mobile
8:37 - NASA select
television focuses on a small parachute seen slowly drifting down out to
9:11 - FIDO: "That's,
uh, probably a paramedic." Later it is determined that this is the
nose cap to one of the solid rocket boosters swinging from its drogue
9:19 - Nesbitt: "This
is mission control, Houston. We are coordinating with recovery forces in
the field. Range safety equipment, recovery vehicles intended for the
recovery of the SRBs in the general area."
9:36 - Greene: "LSO,
flight. LSO, flight..."
parachutes believed to be paramedics going into that area..."
FIDO: "We're getting
repeat, we had an apparently normal ascent with the data..."
LSO: "This is LSO on
Greene: "Rog, are you
getting any inputs?"
LSO: "Sir, we've got a
Jolly 1 (helicopter) on route right now. We've got ships on the way and
we've got a C-130 on the way out."
9:41 - Nesbitt:
"...coming from all positions being normal up through approximately
time of main engine throttle back up to 104 percent. At about
approximately a minute or so into the flight, there was an apparent
explosion. The flight dynamics officer reported that tracking reported
that the vehicle had exploded and impact into the water in an area
approximately located at 28.64 degrees North, 80.28 degrees West, recovery
forces are proceeding to the area including ships and a C-130 aircraft.
Flight controllers reviewing their data here in mission control. We will
provide you with more information as it becomes available. This is mission
11:05 - NASA select
television shows the interior of mission control at the Johnson Space
Center in Houston. Covey and astronaut Frederick Gregory sit silently at
the Capcom console, obviously stunned.
11:39 - LSO: "Flight,
LSO: "Uh, Jolly's have
not been cleared in yet, there's still debris coming down."
Greene: "Copy. Who's
controlling this operation, please?"
LSO: "S & R
(search and recovery) forces out of Patrick (Air Force Base)."
Greene: "Rog. Do we
have a coordination loop with those people?"
LSO: "We're working
with the SOC on DDMS coord right now." He is referring to a radio
network used by Defense Department personnel.
LSO: "Flight, LSO."
LSO: "Would you like
us to try to get up on DDMS coord also?"
Greene: Yes. GC,
GC: "Flight, GC."
Greene: "Take that
loop into one of the playback loops please, internal to the building
GC: "I didn't copy
what you said."
Greene: "DDMS coord,
patch it into one of the playback loops internal to the building."
12:37 - Greene: "GC,
GC: "Flight, GC."
status, have we taken one?"
Greene: "Take one
13:27 - GC: "All
flight controllers, hold inputs, lock checkpoint in progress." This
is a procedure to take a "snapshot" of all computer data
recorded so far to ensure its recovery for documentation."
14:24 - Greene: LSO,
LSO: "LSO here,
LSO: "No sir. No sir,
nothing to report."
15:06 - Greene:
"Operators, contingency plan copies are coming to each console
position. If you have an FCOH (flight control operations handbook) you can
start on the checklist, page 27-4, that's page 27-4. Don't reconfigure
your console, take hard copies of all your displays, make sure you protect
any data source you have."
LSO: "Flight, LSO."
LSO: "Looks like about
50 minutes, five zero minutes, before the helicopters are cleared in
because of debris."
Greene: "Fifty minutes
from what time, LSO?"
LSO: "OK, from the
time of the explosion."
21:53 - Nesbitt: "This
is mission control, Houston. Repeating the information that we have at
this time. We had an apparently nominal liftoff this morning at 11:38
Eastern time. The ascent phase appeared normal through approximately the
completion of the roll program and throttle down and engine throttle back
to 104 percent. At that point, we had an apparent explosion. Subsequent to
that, the tracking crews reported to the flight dynamics officer that the
vehicle appeared to have exploded and that we had an impact in the water
down range at a location approximately 28.64 degrees North, 80.28 degrees
west. At the time, the data was lost with the vehicle. According to a poll
by the flight director, Jay Greene, of the positions here in mission
control, there were no anomalous indications, no indications of problems
with engines or with the SRBs or with any of the other systems at that
moment through the point at which we lost data. Again, this is preliminary
information. It is all that we have at the moment and we will keep you
advised as other information becomes available. We had, there are recovery
forces in the general area. Others being deployed, including aircraft and
ships. We saw what we believed to be paramedics parachuting into impact
area and we have no additional word at this point. We will keep you
advised as details become available to us. This is mission control,
compiled from The British Antarctic Study, NASA, Environment Canada,
UNEP, EPA and other sources as stated and credited Researched by Charles
Welch-Updated daily This Website is a project of the The Ozone Hole Inc.
a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization http://www.theozonehole.com