STS-51-L Recovered Debris (Left Sidewall)
On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger and her seven-member crew were lost when a ruptured O-ring in the right Solid Rocket Booster caused an explosion soon after launch. Search and recovery teams located pieces of both the left and right sidewall of the Shuttle during the months long retrieval effort that followed. While heat and fire damage scarred the right sidewall, the left sidewall, depicted here, escaped the flames and suffered from only overload fractures and deep gouge marks. The largest intact piece formed part of the payload bay sidewall and measured approximately thirty by twelve feet.
NASA Identifier: GPN-2004-00001