The events on this day in history for our heritage companies are noted below:
The earliest event was in 1977, the latest event was in 1986
1986 – LAUNCH FAILURE: STS-51-L (Challenger) launched, LC39B, KSC – 7 person crew – FAILURE DURING ASCENT – loss of crew and orbiter/stack due to failed O-ring seals on SRB (temperature related)
Military and Classified Programs:
Exploration and Interplanetary Programs:
Earth-Monitoring and Civil Weather Satellite programs:
Test, ICBM, FBM programs:
1977 – LAUNCH (4): Lockheed Poseidon C3, SSBN-623, ETR
In the first photo, the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-51-L pose for their official portrait on November 15, 1985. In the back row from left to right: Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, and Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, and Ron McNair in the first photo. Also included are photos of ice on the pad, smoke from the SRB joint at ignition, flame appearing during ascent, and a cross-section drawing of the SRB configuration.
The cause of the disaster was the failure of both the primary and secondary redundant O-ring seals in a joint in the shuttle’s right solid rocket booster (SRB). The record-low temperatures of the launch had stiffened the rubber O-rings, reducing their ability to seal the joints. Shortly after liftoff, the seals were breached, and hot pressurized gas from within the SRB leaked through the joint and burned through the aft attachment strut connecting it to the external propellant tank (ET), and later the tank itself. The collapse of the ET’s internal structures and the rotation of the SRB that followed threw the shuttle stack, traveling at a speed of Mach 1.92, into a direction which allowed aerodynamic forces to tear the orbiter apart. Both SRBs detached from the now-destroyed ET and continued to fly uncontrolled until the range safety officer destroyed them.