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A Poem Helped Reagan Explain Challenger Disaster

Challenger exploded 30 years ago Thursday
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2016 6:51 AM CST
A Poem Helped Reagan Explain Challenger Disaster
In this Jan. 28, 1986 file photo, the space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.   (AP Photo/Bruce Weaver, File)

Thursday is the 30th anniversary of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, and there's plenty of interesting coverage of the tragedy that killed all seven aboard, including teacher Christa McAuliffe. Some highlights:

  • The Washington Post looks back on how Ronald Reagan scrapped plans to deliver his State of the Union address and summoned "that girl" (young speechwriter Peggy Noonan) to help him talk about the tragedy instead. She remembered a poem from seventh grade about slipping the "surly bonds of earth."
  • The Miami Herald reprints its initial coverage—the explosion happened 72 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral—along with a reporter's personal recollections.
  • McAuliffe may be the best-remembered of those killed, but the Cleveland Plain Dealer has a video highlighting lesser-known crew members.
  • NASA, too, has a tribute to the "fallen heroes."

  • A National Geographic piece floats the idea of a memorial—in space.
  • Faulty O-ring: The Telegraph has a nice explainer, in the form of a graphic, on what went wrong.
  • The New York Daily News focuses on Ronald McNair, an "inherited son of Harlem" who was among the astronauts killed.
  • Commander Dick Scobee's daughter will be on stage for a remembrance Thursday morning, and McAuliffe's son will be in the audience. Fox News has a preview.
(More NASA stories.)

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