The space shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when the NASA Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger (OV-099) (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds into the flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members? No, only an empty mock-up of a shuttle driven by external rockets was sent up to impress awed onlookers and it blew up. What a fuck-up. But NASA could handle it! They re-cycled the dead astronauts as brothers and sisters of the dead or similar. National security.