Go at Throttle Up: Thirty Years
It’s been thirty years.
On January 28, 1986, I was a happy little five-year old watching the Space Shuttle Challenger launch into orbit. It was a special occasion because the first teacher was going into space, and it was inspiring. I don’t remember a whole lot from that day except cheering when the shuttle launched, being shocked when it disintegrated, and seeing my mother cry. That in itself was heartbreaking.
It was a confusing day, but it was that confusion that sparked my desire to study science because I wanted answers. That quest introduced me to Richard Feynman and made me realize that Morton-Thiokol and their rumbling rocket motor tests were essentially in my backyard.
That day also gave me dreams of being an astronaut. I never made it anywhere near being an astronaut, but I did get that physics degree.
Revisiting that day still hurts. To this day, I cannot hear the words “go at throttle up” without getting a lump in my throat.
Footage of the incident from CNN:
President Reagan’s address to the nation:
Godspeed, heroes of the Challenger. You’re still deeply missed.