Seventy-three seconds into their mission and nine miles above the Atlantic Ocean, seven brave souls perished 25 years ago today in what remains NASA's most visible disaster.
The event unfolded on live TV with children everywhere watching to see the launch of Christa McAuliffe, a school teacher and the first ordinary citizen bound for space.
One grief and trauma expert explained that this was "the beginning of the age when the whole world knew what happened as it happened."
Our question to you today: Where were you when you heard news of the Challenger disaster?
The Associated Press contributed to this report.