Remembering space shuttle Challenger: Five ways it changed spaceflight
Twenty-five years ago Friday, the space shuttle Challenger came to a tragic end, exploding on liftoff and claiming the lives of seven astronauts. Here are five ways the Challenger pushed spaceflight forward.
3. Playing to the public’s interest
Although early Challenger missions were plagued by budget crisis and delays, the shuttle captured the public’s interest. Its landings drew as many as 100,000 spectators, and in June 1983 about 250,000 people called a special telephone number that let them listen in on the conversation between Challenger’s crew and ground control. Eavesdropping on the shuttle cost 50 cents for the first minute and 30 cents for each additional minute.