The Blink of an Eye

In the moments following the breakup of the space shuttle Challenger, events happened much too quickly for the human eye to follow, much less for the mind to interpret; both surprise and confusion delayed observers' ability to comprehend what they had just witnessed.  Fortunately for those charged with determining the cause of the disaster and explaining the sequence of events surrounding it, the unblinking eye of the camera did the necessary work of recording the seconds following the breakup both objectively and dispassionately.

On this page I have placed scanned images of official NASA photographs of the immediate aftermath of the Challenger disaster.  Each of these photos was taken by a high-speed 70mm tracking camera at UCS 15 south of Pad 39-B at Cape Canaveral in Florida.  Click on any image for more information and to see a larger view of that image.

11:39:16.061 EST

11:39:16.795 EST

11:39:17.361 EST

11:39:19.261 EST


Return to