Space Shuttle Challenger
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NASA confirms the discovery of Space Shuttle Challenger disaster artifacts in Ocean 37 years later

A major portion of the Challenger space shuttle was found by a television documentary team while searching for the remains of World War II-era aircraft.

A major portion of the Challenger space shuttle was found by a television documentary team while searching for the remains of World War II-era aircraft.

Two divers can be seen studying a 15 by 15-foot tiled panel on the ocean bottom close to the east coast of Florida in the video, which was shot in May but only recently made public this week by the History Channel.

One of the divers asks, sweeping sand away from the item, “What do you suppose this is?” The second diver responds, “Definitely an airplane, I believe we need to go to NASA.”

NASA has verified that the item is in fact a piece of the tragic shuttle that exploded live on television on January 28, 1986, killing all seven crew members, after studying the video.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated in a statement that “this finding provides us a chance to stop once again, to honor the legacies of the seven pioneers we lost, and to reflect on how this tragedy transformed us.”

“Even though it has been over 37 years since the Challenger catastrophe, which claimed the lives of seven courageous and adventurous explorers, this tragedy will live on in the collective memory of our nation. Jan. 28, 1986, still seems like yesterday to millions of people throughout the world, including myself.

Space Shuttle Challenger
History Channel

On January 28, 1986, at 11:38 a.m., NASA’s Challenger, the organization’s 25th space shuttle mission, lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It exploded in flames seventy-three seconds later, shooting fire missiles and smoke plumes across the sky and back into the water.

Later investigation revealed that a faulty O-ring seal on a rocket booster was to blame for the mishap, which resulted in the release of a hot gas stream that ignited an external fuel tank.

The launch, which was intended to place the first American citizen in orbit, generated more media attention and was shown live on CNN and other channels.

Christa McAuliffe, a teacher, won the contest to board the aircraft as a civilian. Her presence meant that many schools around the nation witnessed the calamity unfold in life, and for those who remember it, the event has since become a somber cultural touchstone.

Many pieces of the wreckage from the water’s surface and ocean bottom were salvaged in the days after the catastrophe by airplanes, ships, and submersibles.

Before this recovery, the previous noteworthy find was two sizable pieces of the shuttle’s wing that washed ashore on a Florida beach in 1996.

Space Shuttle Discovery
History Channel

All space shuttle components are owned by the United States government, and NASA advises individuals to get in touch with them if they believe they have come across any.

According to a statement from Kennedy Space Center Director Janet Petro, “Challenger and her crew live on in the hearts and minds of both NASA and the country.”

The finding was made when “The Bermuda Triangle: Into Cursed Waters,” a new History Channel documentary, was being filmed.

Source: SFGATE

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Written by Alex Bruno

Freelance space writer Alex Bruno specializes in covering China's quickly expanding space industry. In 2021, he started writing for SpaceXMania. He also contributes to publications including SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. When Alex was a small child, he first experienced the space bug after seeing Voyager photographs of alien planets in our solar system. When not in space, Alex likes to go trail jogging in the Finnish countryside.

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