27 years ago today, the space shuttle Challenger blew up less than two minutes after take-off, killing all on seven persons on board. Today we remember them, unwitting victims of bad communication and departmental hubris, and brave heroes who dared to squeeze their fragile flesh into a super-accelerated metal tube.
I was not quite two and a half years old in late January of 1986- I don’t remember the actual event, but I remember the reaction of the adults around me. My mother had picked me up from my pre-school, and was talking in those hushed and horrified adult tones to the father of one of my playmates. I must have asked what was going on, but how do you explain rocket ships and death to a two year old? I’m not sure what she said, but I remember searching the clear blue Central Illinois sky, looking for something that had gone boom.
I thought it must have been kind of like fireworks.