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JCC The Challenger disaster

Discussion in 'Community' started by JoinTheSchwarz , Sep 21, 2020.

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  1. JoinTheSchwarz

    JoinTheSchwarz JC Head Admin & Community Manager star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    Nov 21, 2002
    So there’s a new series on Netflix about the 1986 Challenger disaster. Four episodes, produced by JJ Abrams (I guess the man needs to make a disaster a year, ha-ha!) It’s very glossy, brimming with sad piano and slow motion video of Reagan looking sad, but it still manages to pack some mild criticism towards Cold War hysterics and capitalist greed. Give it a watch if you have two hours to waste.

    Anyway, it made me think of how I lived the Challenger disaster myself. I mean, not “lived”, more like “existed at the same time it was happening.” I was a first-grader obsessed with space shuttles and UFOs (they go together like chocolate and peanut butter!) and I had turned my bedroom’s ceiling into a veritable planetarium that I would stare into when I couldn’t sleep. Of course, I lived in Spain and NASA was as real as SPECTRE to us, so we didn’t really have the same grade of interest you adorable gringos had. I didn’t know there was a teacher onboard, and we were not “involved” in the space race in a “we gotta show those cannibalistic soviets whose thingy is longer.” It was cool because it looked like Star Wars, and that’s it.

    I don’t even remember when it happened. I do remember when it showed up on Informe Semanal a couple of months later, a pretty good weekly TV show that was pretty much a documentary version of 60 Seconds, a show that each week would feature a short investigative report on a given topic. Next day at recess we were all talking about it. My friend David, who lied every time he opened his mouth, insisted that he had been there in Cape Canaveral because his dad worked for NATO (this part was actually true) and had flown the whole family there to see the launch (this wasn’t.) I was an innocent and gullible kid who didn’t understand the concept of lying for clout, but other kids were more savvy and called him out on it. Nevertheless, he endured: he pulled up his trousers and showed us a scar on his knee that sure, looked like your regular wound from playing A-Team, but was actually a burn wound caused by a falling fragment of fuselage. That settled it.

    He was so full of it. He also insisted that he had once been abducted by aliens. Memory is a funny thing: I remember him, a very tall kid, screaming at another kid who insisted the aliens made a “boop” noise when everyone knew it was more than “beep.” Sad thing is, he never grew out of it. By high school he was telling everyone about the hot babes he made out with, and everyone called him “the liar.” On senior year he was diagnosed with brain cancer and well, that was it.

    Anyway, where was I going with this?
     
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  2. dp4m

    dp4m Also a Narc star 10

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2001
    I remember where I was because I was on my way to science class in elementary school (it was general Science, not like Physics, Chemistry, etc.) -- we were going to watch NASA's feed on the post-launch on TV in class and we got down to the classroom (in the basement) and the teacher (Mrs. Sternberg) just said quietly "The space shuttle exploded."
     
  3. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony JCC Game Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Mar 9, 2003
    Personally, this event stuck in my brain because I was four, soon to be five, years old and I remember watching it on TV with my mom. It was her birthday and then the explosion suddenly happened and she started to cry. I was too young to understand what just happened, but it really stuck with me how sad my mom was and I felt bad for her that such a horrible thing happened on what was supposed to be a happy day for her.
     
  4. DarkGingerJedi

    DarkGingerJedi Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 21, 2012
    I remember that day. It was just after my bday. I was in 4th grade and went to school in MA and they huddled us all in the gym to watch the shuttle lift off on the news. I think the 5th grade teacher actually knew McAuliffe personally, since she was in NH. Anyway...i remember running home and telling my mom what happened.

    And the next year when NASA ready to have another go, the school again gathered all the kids in the gym to watch. (I guess to prove that it wouldn’t happen again). By then I was in that 5th grade class with the teach who was friends with her...and she locked the doors and refused to let any of us to go down and watch because she was convinced it would happen again. I think some kids turned on a radio to listen quietly in the bk of the room
     
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  5. Fifi Kenobi

    Fifi Kenobi Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 13, 2019
    I was in college. I remember it being pretty horrific.
     
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  6. solojones

    solojones Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Sep 27, 2000
    I did not exist yet, but I am very keen on watching that series. Now Columbia, that I remember.
     
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  7. Lordban

    Lordban Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2000
    I was 5 at the time. It's one of the very first memories I have from watching the news, although I didn't fully understand, of course.
     
  8. Darth Punk

    Darth Punk Community Moderator star 6 Staff Member Moderator

    Registered:
    Nov 25, 2013
    I remember the time. From what I gather, it was more of an event for American kids as they got to watch it live while they were at school. I guess there would have been a time-zone reason why we didn’t do that in the UK, so it wasn’t as traumatising. Obviously it was on the news, so we heard about it that way. I remember the images of the explosion, and the two plumes of smoke that came from that. I remember a joke that did the rounds. What’s an astronaut’s favourite drink? 7up on the rocks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  9. tom

    tom Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 14, 2004
    i was one of the kids who watched it happen live in school. i must have been in the 4th or 5th grade. i just remember being really confused and the teacher suddenly being put in the awkward position of having to try to explain what happened.
     
  10. Luke02

    Luke02 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 2002
    I was eight years old and in second grade when it happened. We watch it live on TV as they brought one in on a cart (only people of a certain age remember that) and I remember the nun (Catholic grammar school) quickly shutting it off as it was apparent it exploded and everyone had passed away. They just let us sit there for awhile as all the teachers and principal were in the hallway trying to comprehend what had happened and figure out what to say to us. Eventually they came back into the room and I remember that same nun who could be tough as nails was the total opposite as she explained what had happened and went into how God had call them home. Several kids cried including myself. I was so forward looking to that as it was the culmination of the best few days ever. I turned 8 on that Saturday, the Super Bowl was on that Sunday and of course the Bears romped the Patriots (which my parents were at as my brother and I went by my aunt's house to watch the game with them and then my brother had friends over that night to "celebrate") and then the shuttle launch was that Tuesday which I was excited about since I was always into space even back then plus as many of you remember, they made a bigger deal out of it then usual considering how historic the flight was. Then the disaster happened and the best week turned horrific. The Bears btw never made it to the White House because of it since Reagan cancelled their visit (rightfully so) and it took until 2010 and Obama for them to finally make it there. Only good part of that was Ditka and Ryan by then had patch things up and were able to look back fondly at what happened and relish in their accomplishments together. In 1986 they were obvious not on speaking terms and Ryan famously left the Bears immediately after the Super Bowl for the Philly HC job therefore that visit would been filled with a lot of awkwardness. But also Payton and DD were not able to go as they regrettably had passed away before that 2010 visit.

    I have not watch the documentary yet though I planned to but tbh? I might wait until well the world is less horrific then it is now. It just brings back too many painful memories especially since it's evident now after 35 years that it had a horrific impact on our space program as were really I say 20+ years behind were we should be and really has taken Musk, Bezos etc for us to even have a space program again. The impact of that horrific day had the opposite effect of Apollo 1 which only help push us to make sure we made it to the moon in honor of those astronauts who were killed in that tragic accident.
     
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  11. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 I Am Speaking in Four Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Mar 4, 2011
    I was in ninth grade. I heard about it at lunch. A friend and I were in the hall at the back of the gym, where we weren’t supposed to be eating but we were doing that anyway, and she was listening to her Walkman, which she wasn’t supposed to have in school but...yeah, you see where this is going. My friend suddenly took her headphones off and said “The space shuttle exploded!” I had English next, fifth period, and we watched live coverage on TV.
     
  12. blackmyron

    blackmyron Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 29, 2005
    I was in Central Florida at the time, and we would always go outside to watch the shuttle launch during school hours. So yeah, I saw it as it happened, in middle school. Since I was a space nerd, I was the only person to realize something was wrong - the stream of smoke splitting in two - but I had no idea it had exploded. We were informed about it shortly afterwards.
     
  13. Luke02

    Luke02 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 2002
    The only things we watch live coverage of when I was in school:

    1. The Shuttle Disaster.
    2. The Berlin Wall being taken down.
    3. The Gulf War.
    4. The OJ Simpson verdict.

    Now we watch events unfolding in real time with the students on a semi regular basis like the Boston Marathon bombing. Such a different time we all grew up in.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  14. vin

    vin Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 1999
    similar story here except we didn’t have it on the tv as we were in the art studio and science had it on next door and I remember the science teacher running in to tell us. Umm, thanks for the info?
     
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  15. Blobofat

    Blobofat Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Dec 15, 2000
    I remember that joke. It was on the beeb (the disaster, not the joke) with that guy who always does the swingometer on election nights. I can't remember if it was live but I remember seeing the famous explosion shot and lots of photos of the teacher astronaut with some schoolkids. Really sad.
     
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  16. DarkGingerJedi

    DarkGingerJedi Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 21, 2012
    I remember the Berlin wall too. I had no idea what it all meant tho. I was in 6th grade and when i got to school i told my teacher that it came down in the middle of the night. And she told me “that’s never going happen” ... i guess she didn’t hear the news that morning.
     
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  17. Ahsoka's Tano

    Ahsoka's Tano Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 28, 2014
    I was in third grade watching the shuttle launch live on one of those wheeled-in TV carts. I don't think any of the kids knew what was going on at the time of the explosion until later when it was explained to us. If you thought about it, it wasn't every day that you'd watch a shuttle launch to begin with.

    I have fairly vivid memories of 1 and 4; not so much 2 and 3. My school was among those that were pretty much split down the middle over the Simpson fiasco. It made me nauseous listening to so many people in the halls celebrating after the verdict (which was announced on the loudspeaker) while others were left distraught and I couldn't wait to get home.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  18. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 1998
    I was in college, sitting in my dorm room reading, when I heard two girls walking down the hall and one of them said something about the space shuttle. That struck me as odd because those two didn't seem like the type to be interested in space exploration. I went down to the common area where the TV was on and saw the replay.

    A little later I was on my way to lunch and ran into a friend, a fellow air force cadet who wanted to be an astronaut. I still remember the look of shock on his face when I told him the news.
     
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  19. DarkGingerJedi

    DarkGingerJedi Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 21, 2012
    I think the most horrific thing I read that I'll never forget, was that the astronauts likely didn't die in the explosion itself, and would have been alive for the entire 2+ min post explosion time span where the capsule continued to arc upward and then descended, before finally hitting the ocean.
     
  20. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 5, 2011
    I was a fetus. One of the girls in my class was named after the teacher.

    Was he lying because he had brain cancer all along, or did the lying cause his brain cancer?
     
  21. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 2000
    This would make for a good topic.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  22. a star war

    a star war JCC Basketball Draft Host star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    May 4, 2016
    He died of brain cancer and you still think he wasn’t abducted by aliens? You are a fool.
     
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  23. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 2000
    I was 10 in 1983 and I told a girl in my class there would be Ewok stuffed toys out that summer, and I'd get them, and we could play with them. None of it was true. Then I stole strawberry-scented erasers from the toy shop and gave them to her, telling her I bought them.

    I told a guy in school that my brother owned Cylon costumes, and he should come over to play some time. We became best friends and he's now my business partner. I don't remember how I wiggled out of my lie.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  24. JoinTheSchwarz

    JoinTheSchwarz JC Head Admin & Community Manager star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Hahahahaha no, he survived.


    He’s just completely blind.
     
  25. Darth Guy

    Darth Guy Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Aug 16, 2002
    I was at the Challenger launch because my dad worked for the Bureau of Land Management and the explosion gave me SARS.