Twenty-six years after the devastating explosion of the space shuttle Challenger during launch, new amateur footage of the event has surfaced, offering a new perspective of that tragic day.
The January 28, 1986 disaster was captured by then-19-year-old Jeffrey Ault with a Super 8mm camera while visiting Florida, and has now been made available to The Huffington Post.
It had been stored in a box at Ault’s home.
Ault was with his parents and a friend for the launch. “I was hoping to see an event that I would remember for the rest of my life,” Ault said in an email to The Huffington Post. “I did. Just not the way I would have liked to.”
At the beginning of the footage, one can hear the sound of awe and excitement from the crowd as the Challenger lifts off leaving a straight trail of smoke. However, about 73 seconds into the launch, there’s an explosion and the smoke – trails from the shuttle’s rocket boosters – diverges in two directions.
On the video is Steve Nesbitt’s voice from the Mission Control Center: “Obviously a major malfunction.” Then later he announces that the shuttle has exploded.
The Challenger shuttle explosion killed seven crew members. According to NASA, the cause was an O-ring problem in a rocket booster.