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The Challenger

As the 1980’s approached, the launch of a space shuttle was almost as routine as a trip on an airliner.Space travel had been successful on 24 missions.Most people thought the danger of space travel was nearly eliminated.On January 28, 1986, they were proven wrong.
The orbital Challenger was preparing to make it’s tenth flight. Everyone in America watched as the seven crew members prepared for Mission 51-L.One of the seven crew members was Sharon Christa McAuliffe, thefirst teacher and civilian, to fly in space.This fact made this particular launch very famous.
The commander of the Challenger was Francis (Dick) Scobee.Scobee was married with two children. He obtained his B.S. Degree in Aerospace from the University of Arizona in 1965.Soon after graduation he entered the Air Force pilot training program. After obtaining his pilot’s wings he began his assignments, including a tour in Vietnam. Scobee gained more then 6500 hours of flight time as an Air Force test pilot.He entered NASA’s astronaut corps in 1978. Scobee was the pilot of mission STS-41-C, the fifth orbital flight of the Challenger. This mission proved that shuttles could repair satellites in orbit.
Michael Smith was the shuttle pilot on board the Challenger and the father of three children.He earned a M.S. Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.He also worked as a test pilot for the US Navy, receiving more than 4300 hours of flying time.In May 1980, Smith was selected to become a NASA astronaut and a year later he received hisfirst assignment as a space shuttle pilot.He was to be pilot of the Challenger. This was Smith’sfirst space flight.
There were three mission specialists on the Challenger.Judith Resnik was one of them.Resnik earned a B.S. Degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University, and later received a Ph.D. in the same field. She was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1…

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