Tucker recalls the day of the Challenger explosion


Today marks the 33rd anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

The shuttle exploded just 73 seconds into flight and killed all seven crew members. On board that day was the woman who was supposed to be the first teacher in space.

A Sullivan County man also applied for the mission. Steve Tucker was an art teacher at West Vigo High School. In the summer of 1985, he was one of 114 finalist to train for that flight. Utlimately, NASA chose New Hampshire teacher Christa McAuliffe.

On January 28, 1986, Tucker was at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida when the shuttle took off. He said he became sick to his stomach when it exploded.

“The entire group of us were with the family and the classmates of Christa and a few VIPs in a special place, watching the launch,” Tucker said.

Officials determined that a rocket booster failed and caused the fuel tank to ignite, resulting in the Challenger’s explosion.

Meanwhile, Tucker has retired from teaching and lives in Sullivan County.

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