1986 - Space Shuttle Challenger
On January 28, 1986 Americans across the U.S. watched the launch of Space Shuttle Challenger from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A high percentage of those watching were school children for one member of the shuttle crew was a teacher, Christa McAuliffe, the first Teacher in Space Program participant. Just over a minute into the flight, Challenger exploded, killing all seven crew members. Several investigations concluded the cause was eventually found to be an O-ring in the solid rocket booster.
NASA's Challenger STS 51-L Accident
Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident (Rogers Commission)
Selected Congressional Hearings and Reports from the Challenger Space Shuttle Accident: Main Page