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Where Were You When the Challenger Exploded?

The space shuttle disaster happened 28 years ago Tuesday.

Tuesday marks 28 years since the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff. The 1986 tragedy, which killed all seven crew members, hit especially hard since children across the country had gathered around TV sets to watch New Hampshire teacher Christa McAuliffe go into space with NASA’s Teacher in Space project.

People across the Twin Cities remembered the disaster by recalling where they were when it happened. Where were you when it happened? Share your memories in the comments section below.


Rob Bresnik January 28, 2014 at 03:59 PM
I was at the bottom of Mammoth Mountain. Someone came up from one of the lodges and told us what happened. We were unable to see any coverage because of the poor TV reception.
Warner Hutchison January 28, 2014 at 03:59 PM
I was in London, UK. I was teaching at London University. The London natives I talked to were appalled (as was I) by the disaster. Warner Hutchison (PhD) whcomposer3@gmail.com
Christopher Riordan January 28, 2014 at 04:06 PM
I was in junior college and remember watching the explosion in the student union on the television.
Gordon A. Glenn January 28, 2014 at 04:14 PM
I live in San Diego. I was getting ready for work and watching the launch. I wasn't certain that I would be home at the time and had set my VCR to record the launch. I knew, immediately, that an explosion had occurred even though the guy from Mission Control kept talking like nothing had happened. I still have the tape.
Ben Rice January 28, 2014 at 05:45 PM
In the Concord High School cafeteria watching the launch on TV. A slow sinking feeling after the fireball and then the droning "...major malfunction". The beautiful Challenger was simply gone, replaced by a cloud of vapor. The greatest of us, our heroine, our friend, our champion, our Astronaut, our Teacher....was gone. In an instant, Joy transformed to agony, triumph to grief. We wept and cried out in our pain.
JESSICA January 29, 2014 at 08:21 AM
Sitting on the living room floor with my infant son. I was pointing at the TV saying " Look Andy, Look Andy". Thinking someday I'd be telling him that he had watched the launch as a baby. I just remember the awful feeling of watching it explode and knowing know one survived. This launch was so much about teachers and kids. I kept thinking of all the classrooms that were watching.
C Winslow January 29, 2014 at 08:51 AM
I was in the IDS Center, working a temp job typing loan documents (those were the pre-computer days) and was on break. I never went back to work that day while we all watched the coverage. So terribly sad . . .
Karl Burkum January 29, 2014 at 10:29 AM
Waiting in the lunch line in high school about to get my "pizza"....
Sharon Cizek January 29, 2014 at 11:12 AM
A friend of mine worked with one of the people on board the Challenger. I was a labor and delivery nurse at Methodist hospital in St. Louis Park. I was with a patient in early labor. She had the tv on in her room and we all watched it explode together. It was so hard to be upbeat and happy for my patients delivering that day. The baby born that day is now 28. I wonder where she is and what she is doing today.
Joyce January 29, 2014 at 09:21 PM
I was lying down, nursing my youngest with the television on so I could see the lift off; I had watched just about every one of our space shots since Alan Shepard had his brief flight when I was in the fifth grade and everyone in my class crowded around a tiny black and white television set in the classroom. I tried so hard not to cry so I wouldn't upset my baby daughter!
suzanne mcwilliams January 31, 2014 at 08:15 AM
i was on the viewing island with a handful of others who braved the cold and expected the launch to be cancelled again. the sound system that had boomed out the countdown and delays went silent as the challenger broke apart. an eerie silence followed, no one spoke a word as we got on to the shuttle to return to the space center. it was a strangely beautiful disaster, pieces falling to earth like fireworks. we couldnt process or believe what we were watching having grown up on flawless launches. RIP explorers.

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