Piece of Challenger Space Shuttle found


Tony Fischer

The Challenger Memorial and Grave.

On Thursday, NASA and the History Channel announced that a piece of the Challenger Space Shuttle had been found. The piece of debris is at least 15 x 15 feet and was found off the east coast of Florida.
It was discovered during the filming of a show called, “The Bermuda Triangle: Into Cursed Waters.” The divers were searching for a WWII rescue plane that vanished in December 1945 when they stumbled across it. The divers identified it as the Challenger by the distinctive square silicone tiles, used to protect shuttles from the heat of reentry.
This is the first piece of debris discovered in the last 25 years and possibly the largest piece ever recovered. NASA confirmed the piece belonged to the Challenger in August when the divers turned over the footage.
The shuttle was destroyed on January 28, 1986, and killed all seven crew members, NASA astronauts Francis “Dick” Scobee, Ronald McNair, Michael Smith, Judith Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, and Gregory Jarvis, as well as a New Hampshire teacher, Christa McAuliffe who would have been the first civilian in space.
The explosion ensued 73 seconds after takeoff and was caused by a leak of highly explosive gasses from a rubber seal on one of the rocket boosters that had failed due to its exposure to the low temperatures.
On the day of the accident, NASA began recovery operations to collect the pieces. This operation became the largest search and salvage ever conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy. 167 pieces of the shuttle were recovered, making up only 47 percent of the shuttle. NASA has yet to decide what it will do with the piece to honor the crew of the Challenger.