Alabama Challenger Ceremony

Twenty years ago the worst possible scenario came true. A space shuttle carrying seven crew members exploded, killing them all.

When the Challenger exploded, the nation stopped and watched in horror. Saturday, a special memorial ceremony honoring the brave men and women who gave their lives that day was held at Huntsville's Space and Rocket Center.

There were seven chimes, one for each life that was lost January 28, 1986. About 100 filled the seats beneath a memorial space shuttle that looked much like the Challenger. The service is a chance to reflect and remember the significance of this event.

Homer Hickam said, “We do need to remember these brave men and women that have gone before and always remind ourselves of the dangers of the people that go up there and how important it is that we make their machines as safe as possible.”

Years after the Challenger explosion, emotions are still strong in the Huntsville community. After all, NASA and the space program is a big part of who we are.

David King said, “This community has given so much to space program. The propulsion system was designed by the people that lived and breathed here and I think it is a significant part that makes up the Huntsville area.

The explosion changed the way the space program operates. Improvements have been made to the shuttle in hopes there will not be a repeat of this tragedy.