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33 years after the Challenger explosion: the story of one of NASA's worst tragedies



As every January 28, NASA recalls its fall from the tragedy of the space shuttle Challenger, which exploded after takeoff 33 years ago in 1986, leaving seven crew members dead.

Six NASA astronauts and Christa McAuliffe – the first teacher to travel to space – died in the Challenger disaster when the space shuttle exploded 73 seconds after takeoff. The official cause was a flaw in one of the impulse engines.

The crew of the Challenger bus: Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, Ron McNair and, in the last row, Ellison Onizuka, teacher Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis and Judith Resnik
The crew of the Challenger bus: Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, Ron McNair and, in the last row, Ellison Onizuka, teacher Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis and Judith Resnik

Condemned to disappear from this crash, the space shuttle program formally ended in 2011, after three decades bringing astronauts to and from the Earth's low orbit. His retirement left the United States without a vehicle for manned space travel, a job that focused on Russian Soyuz, waiting for the new ships "Made in USA" Space X and Boeing, which will arrive during this year of 2019.

In the eyes of everyone, the space shuttle exploded 73 seconds after takeoff.
In the eyes of everyone, the space shuttle exploded 73 seconds after takeoff.

The other major crash on the space shuttle was Feb. 1, 2003. Seven people were killed aboard the Columbia space shuttle when it broke apart when it re-entered Earth's atmosphere because it had lost thermal shingles from its bottom at takeoff, and the ship did not withstand the heat of friction with the atmosphere.

The space shuttle program formally ended in 2011 after three decades of taking astronauts to and from Earth's orbit.
The space shuttle program formally ended in 2011 after three decades of taking astronauts to and from Earth's orbit.

The US space agency also commemorates the death of three astronauts on Apollo 1, due to a fire on the launch pad. In addition, in 1967, NASA lost a wounded pilot with an X15 hypersonic aircraft fueled by rockets.

The official cause of the tragedy was a flaw in one of the impulse engines.
The official cause of the tragedy was a flaw in one of the impulse engines.
A portion of the Challenger bus was found on a beach on Cocoa Beach in the United States.
A portion of the Challenger bus was found on a beach on Cocoa Beach in the United States.

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