I was in the shower.
It was the middle of my sophomore year at IUPUI (first time there). I was still living with the 'rents, working part time at Sears in the small electronics (cameras, phones, typewriters
) department. I didn't have class that day, but I had to work from 5 to 9pm.
While drying off after my shower, the phone rang. I was the only one home, so I answered it. It was my sister. Not the one also (and still) living with my parents, but the one closest to my age, who at the time was working at a bank HQ in downtown Indy.
"Do you have the TV on?" she asked.
"Turn it on. Now. Something happened with the space shuttle."
"Okay." I said and quickly ended the call.
I turned my TV on to CNN and watched, dumbfounded, while I got ready. After a short while, I decided to go on into work early. At around 1pm, I came in and watched the big wall of TVs in the electronics department (right next to my department) until I actually had to clock in at 5pm. The TV wall had a crowd in front of it until we closed that evening. I remember just sort of listlessly going through the motions at work. Fortunately, it wasn't very busy.
I remember that I hadn't been following every mission anymore, but I had a lot of interest in this one, not just because of the "Teacher in Space" thing with Christa McAuliffe, but also the TDRS-2 and SPARTAN/Halley projects
. And, I'll admit it, I thought Judy Resnick was a babe. :-)
I followed the accident investigation very closely. Already fascinated by physicist Richard Feynman from stories and reading recommendations from my high school physics teacher, I thought it was so cool that a) he was not only on the Rogers commission
, but he also had the chutzpah to differ with the majority in his opinion of the cause of the accident
. A few years ago I read The Challenger Launch Decision
which confirmed with an explanation point, the cultural and organizational aspects of the cause.
To the memories of Frank Scobee, Michael Smith, Judy Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, Ron McNair, Greg Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe, and everyone else who has been affected by their and others' losses, let us hope this doesn't happen again for the same cultural/organizational reasons.For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.
-- Richard Feynman