The Challenger

By Joshua S.

Blast Off

Did you know that more than 11,000 teachers applied to ride The Challenger? On January 28, 1986 the Challenger took off at 11:38 holding the first teacher to go into space. It was first called STA-099. Then it was converted from STA-099 to a space-rated orbiter called OV-099.

Building Time

Years before that the Challenger was built in the 1970’s 1980’s. It began constructing in 1975. NASA first intended on it being a test vehicle. In 1979 NASA awarded Rockwell a supplement contract to convert the test vehicle to a spacecraft. Did you know it took two more years and was finished on October 23,1981? It had two solid rocket boosters (SRBs). Each field joint was sealed with O-rings.


Can you believe the Challenger should've launched on the 22nd of January but got delayed 6 days. It delayed by poor weather and Administrative. NASA and Morton Thiokol knew, but took the risk for no more delays. (If you ask me I would not take the risk.) Managers of Marshall knew about the flaw but didn’t discuss it.


The Challenger blew 73 seconds into flight. Because of the O-ring sealing failure, hot gas began leaking through a growing hole in one of the right-hand SRBs joints. Internal pressure in the right SRB began to drop. The cause is the rapidly enlarging hole in the failed joint. It was qualified for 40 degrees. They tried to launch in 18 degrees. 7 people died and those people were Christa, Ronald E. MCNair, Mike J. Smith, Ellison S. Onizuka. Crew escape was not possible.


After that, Search, Recovery and Reconstruction teams helped look for durbis. They found 55% Challenger, 5% and 65% is not found. The remaining durbis is now stored in a missile silo in Cape Canaveral. Ten years later two pieces of the rocket were found at Florida Beach.

New and Improved

However, NASA added injector seats and tractor rockets. NASA refrained from sending astronauts for more than 2 years as they redesigned a number of the shuttle’s features. After the destruction of the Challenger , the number of O-rings per field joint was increased three. The Rogers Commission offered nine recommendations.