Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Challenger - 23 years later

At 8:39 PST on January 28, 1986 the Challenger Space Shuttle Exploded 73 seconds into its flight. Killing all seven astronauts.

I had been working as a young engineer here in Ridgecrest for only about 2 months when this happened. Several of us wanted to watch the launch, so we were gathered around a small TV in the projection room of one of the conference rooms in Mich Lab. The projection room was so small that we had to stand in the hallway and look in through the door in order for more than just 3 or 4 people to see what was going on. When the shuttle exploded we were stunned. Quickly the crowd around the TV grew so that most folks could no longer see the set, and they had a hard time hearing also because of all the sniffling and crying going on. The crowd quickly filled the hallway. We had been standing there for several minutes when suddenly an angry voice demanded "What the hell is going on here. You people need to get to work."

Simultaneously about half the crowd snapped back "Shut up!"

Fortunately one of the people in the back of the crowd quickly explained to our now very irate department head what had happened. So he didn't take being told to shut up by a cocky bunch of young engineers too personally.

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