Remembering Challenger 30 Years After Disaster

January 28, 2016 11:48 AM

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The flight did not last long. A series of events rapidly unfolded beginning with a big puff of gray smoke spurting from a joint on the shuttle’s right solid booster rocket less than a second after blastoff. Eight blacker puffs of smoke followed over the next 2.5 seconds.

Thirty-seven seconds into the flight, Challenger encountered a series of high-altitude wind shears, which the boosters’ steering system automatically compensated for. After passing through the region of maximum aerodynamic pressure, the shuttle’s main engines were throttling up and the boosters were...

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