Twenty-five years ago, the space shuttle Challenger explosion rocked America’s children. As a country, we’re infatuated by space travel anyway, but this mission has a special reason for having held the attention of our nation’s young folk.
Aside from the seven crewmembers on that mission, it was to transport Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from Concorde, New Hampshire who was selected from 11,000 applicants to be the first schoolteacher in space.
As a result, America’s teachers felt a great sense of pride and on Jan. 28, 1986, schools across the nation wheeled their TVs on shaky stands into their classrooms or auditoriums for the big launch. Who could have known that 73 seconds after the launch, the space shuttle would explode? And, because of McAuliffe’s participation, an unprecedented amount of America’s children witnessed the horrible sight.
We’re TV fanatics at Zap2it, after all, and our memories quickly went back to our favorite mismatched misfit, Punky Brewster (played by a 10-year-old Soleil Moone Frye), who helped express our pain in the episode, “Accidents Happen.”
In the 80s NBC series, Punky wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up and then she witnessed the Challenger explosion. And for a nation full of children who had way too many questions after watching it all go down, Punky helped us process.
Watch a clip below:
How do you remember the Challenger explosion?