25 years ago today, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, with a loss of life of all seven astronauts aboard. I remember it like it happened yesterday. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the news broke. I was at work at my first Real Job after graduating college, and one of our techs came into the room where the programmers worked. She had a look on her face that's indescribable, one that made my thought process trail off into silence instantly. We knew before she even uttered a syllable that something serious was wrong. Then she told us what she'd heard on the radio, that the Challenger had exploded.
Because the only prior NASA accident involving fatalities happened on the launch pad, I mistakenly presumed the Challenger explosion had happened the same way. Only when I spoke on the phone to JFM a little while later, who had access to a TV at work and had watched news coverage of the accident, did I come to understand that Challenger had been in flight at the time of the explosion.
May the seven heroes of Challenger rest in peace.