It's been 28 years since the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-51-L) broke apart just over a minute after launch. Disasters like Challenger and Columbia remind us that space exploration really is a complicated and risky business. Should we stop because something is risky? Absolutely not, but we should also not let such things become routine and fall out of the public view.
Remembering the Challenger Crew
The NASA family lost seven of its own on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, when a booster engine failed, causing the Shuttle Challenger to break apart just 73 seconds after launch.
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.