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Today in Media History: Coverage of 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion

At 11:38 a.m. on a cold January 28, 1986, TV broadcast the launch of what was assumed would be a successful space shuttle mission.

At 11:39 a.m. the space shuttle Challenger exploded after take off killing all seven astronauts aboard.

The most well-known member of the crew was Christa McAuliffe, a high-school teacher from Concord, New Hampshire.

CNN viewers watched the accident live:

“Cape Canaveral, Fla. Jan. 28 — The space shuttle Challenger exploded in a ball of fire shortly after it left the launching pad today, and all seven astronauts on board were lost.

The worst accident in the history of the American space program, it was witnessed by thousands of spectators who watched in wonder, then horror, as the ship blew apart high in the air.

Flaming debris rained down on the Atlantic Ocean for an hour after the explosion, which occurred just after 11:39 A. M. It kept rescue teams from reaching the area where the craft would have fallen into the sea, about 18 miles offshore.”

— “The Shuttle Explodes
New York Times, January 29, 2006

The CBS Evening News:

“The launch had been delayed repeatedly, most recently because of fears that icicles on the launch pad Tuesday morning could harm the shuttle.

Read more

from Poynter. http://ift.tt/1ywA10E

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