CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Twenty-two years ago, the space shuttle Challenger exploded over Florida’s skies, killing all seven astronauts including New Hampshire schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe.

McAuliffe was a Concord High School teacher selected to be the first teacher in space.

On Jan. 28, 1986, rubber O-rings failed soon after launch, allowing flames to leak out and burn through the orange fuel tank.

The oxygen and hydrogen fuel exploded and the shuttle never made it into orbit.

Last summer, McAuliffe’s backup – Barbara Morgan – finally made it to space aboard the shuttle Endeavor.

After the launch disaster, Morgan returned to teaching. NASA invited her into the astronaut corps in 1998, and she began training as a full-fledged mission specialist.


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