Collection Item Summary:
On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed during ascent when a booster rocket failed and the external tank burst into a fireball. The seven members of the STS 51-L mission crew died. For the first anniversary of this tragedy, NASA produced commemorative plaques for the astronauts' families and for the Museum. Each plaque includes a small United States flag that was recovered from the vehicle debris found on the ocean floor. The plaque also bears a mission patch and the names and images of the crewmembers. This plaque is displayed in the Moving Beyond Earth exhibition gallery beside a similar plaque in memory of the STS-107 Columbia crew who perished during a reentry accident in 2003.