NASA’s fatal Challenger launch still reverberates through the agency today

The day before the Challenger launch disaster, senior NASA official James Beggs made an urgent phone call to the agency’s chief engineer.

On January 27, 1986, Beggs was on temporary leave from his NASA Administrator position due to a brief legal matter related to his agency’s work. While watching pre-launch television coverage of Challenger, Beggs (and many others) saw icicles on the launch tower. But neither Beggs nor engineer Milt Silveira could get hold of the Launch Decision team to stop the countdown.

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