Challenger: Where were you?
Saturday marks 20 years since the Spaceshuttle Challenger exploded after take off in one of the most gut-wrenching and memorable moments in recorded American history.
The family had just returned home from Super Bowl XX in New Orleans, Louisiana. We were pretty depressed after watching the Bears crush the Pats 46-10 in the worst Super Bowl ever, sitting at the kitchen bar watching live coverage of the Challenger launch. All most all of the other kids were in school at the time watching the same coverage on TVs that were wheeled into class. There was a lot of excitement in Massachusetts as Framingham teacher Christa McAuliffe was part of the Challenger crew. As part of a plan to drum up interest in the space program McAuliffe was to be the first civilian in space. Leading up to the launch there was a great big billboard posted in Framingham off Route 9 reading, "Home of Christa McAuliffe."
There was great excitement watching the shuttle take off, a connection with history aboard the shuttle. Moments later that connection was lost as the shuttle exploded, killing all seven astronauts aboard. It was such a stunning explosion. Moments later Dad called. Don't remember much after that.
Now 20 years later the vision of the explosion is still chilling. A tragic loss.
Christa's mission continued, however, at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in New Hampshire to educate, incite and entertain learners of all ages in the exploration of astronomy and space science. Since then nearly 30,000 school children a year, and thousands of others, have passed through the doors.
Where were you?