Challenger disaster: Where were you 25 years ago on that day?

Challenger Explosion

O n January 28, 1986, just 73 seconds into the flight, the Challenger crew was killed, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe. On this date 25 years later many of us in the newsroom were remembering where we were on that day.

Since I'm too young to remember this day I asked a few people in the newsroom what they remembered about that day.

Kayla Welch, our executive producer, said "I was in second grade, and we watched it in class. I just remember being really confused and no one really seemed to know what was going on. Its one of my first solid memories, and still to this day thinking about I get a little emotional."

Assignments editor, Lucas Jefferson said "I was in kindergarten, and I got out of class at noon and remember being excited to watch the shuttle launch. But my mom told him me it exploded, and then we watched the coverage on the news."

Daybreak Meteorologist Brian James said he was in third grade. "We didn't watch the actual launch. But I remember we were working and another teacher came in and told our teacher what had happened, and then she made the announcement. I can't remember if we were sent home early, but I do remember going home and watching the after affects after school for hours. I was fascinated with space and I ended up going to space academy in middle school. It (the explosion) shook me pretty much to my core."

Anchor Steve Myers said he was working as a reporter that day for an ABC affiliate in Ada, Oklahoma."I was working in Ada Oklahoma, at KTEN, and I had set up an interview with a teacher Freda Deskin from Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. Deskin was one of the top ten candidates to go on the next shuttle mission. I remember talking to her that day, she said NASA had contacted her and told her they would no longer be doing that program. It was a horrible situation."

Sports anchor Lee Baker, was working here at KVII, but he went to Manchester, New Hampshire to interview for a potential job."When I arrived at the station they didn't have much time for me because Christa McAuliffe was from New Hampshire. So they were putting all their resources into that, and understandably so. I was stunned just like everybody else."

U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison released this statement about the Challenger Disaster."Twenty-five years ago our nation, with its eyes turned skyward, was reminded of the perilous journey from Earth to space. The destruction of the Challenger space shuttle and the loss of the brave astronauts aboard deeply affected our nation and influenced the future of America's attitude toward space exploration. But our nation refused to turn its back on space after this tragic event and continued to push towards the stars."

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Article from the Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Twenty-five years ago, seven astronauts died aboard space shuttle Challenger when it exploded shortly after liftoff.

NASA officials, families and former astronauts gathered Friday morning at an outdoor memorial at Florida's Kennedy Space Center to mark the somber anniversary.

The accident on Jan. 28, 1986 - just 73 seconds into flight - killed the Challenger crew, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe.

The anniversary comes as NASA is winding down the space shuttle program. The fleet will be retired after three more flights this year to the International Space Station.

Speakers at Friday's ceremony included the widow of Challenger's commander, June Scobee Rodgers, who was instrumental in establishing the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. The 48th learning center opens Friday in Louisville, Ky.

"The entire world knew how the Challenger crew died," she said. "We wanted the world to know how they lived and for what they were risking their lives."

The other members of the Challenger crew were Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair and Gregory Jarvis.

The ceremony was held at the Space Mirror Memorial, a granite monument bearing the names of all 24 astronauts who have died in the line of duty.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)