I can't believe that it's been 34 years already. The day was January 28th, 1986 and the time was 11:39 a.m. It was a moment that was witnessed by many young and old that changed their lives forever.

It was the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. It was only 74 seconds into its flight and about 10 miles above the earth. 6 crew members and teacher Christa McAuliffee were killed. She was the first ordinary citizen in space, so many schools and school kids watched this historic and horrific event.

A friend of mine's teacher was an alternate if Christa couldn't make the flight. She told me that it could have been her teacher on that fateful flight. One of the things that I learned from the explosion was that things happen differently in real life than they do in the movies.

In the movies, the man at Mission Control would have been in hysterics. As I'm watching it, I was baffled and confused by how calm the man sounded. My first thought was, maybe it's not as bad as it looks.

I (along with the rest of the world) learned shortly thereafter what had happened. I will always remember the Mission Control man when I think about the event.

What do you remember from this tragedy when it happened?

[via NASA]

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