Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Challenger remembered

I was on my way to the Kennedy Space Center planning to do routine post-launch reporting of a Challenger mission when I heard ABC's Vic Ratner utter the words "something is wrong." I pulled over at the first pay phone I cam to, and called my boss at WDBO.

Orlando Sentinel's next day front page
Should I continue to the space center, or divert to Jess Parrish hospital, the primary medevac receiving location of the shuttle launch program? The response from my news director was clear. Continue to the space center. The hospital is irrelevant.

It was January 28, 1986. A rocket booster failed, triggering a fireball. The Challenger was torn apart. Astronauts Dick Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Ron McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Greg Jarvis, Judy Resnik, and teacher-in-space Christa McAuliffe were on board.

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