NASA marks 25th anniversary of Challenger disaster

28 Jan 2011

NASA officials will gather at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to remember the seven astronauts who died aboard the space shuttle Challenger when it broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff 25 years ago today.

The widow of Challenger‘s commander, June Scobee Rodgers, is to be the featured speaker at the ceremony. Her husband, Dick Scobee, was killed along with his crewmates, pilot Michael Smith, mission specialists Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe, who was selected to be the first teacher in space.

The outdoor ceremony will take place at the Space Mirror Memorial, a granite monument bearing the names of two dozen astronauts who have died in the line of duty.

The break up of Challenger was ultimately due to the failure of a booster engine.