STS-51-L Recovered Debris (TDRS)
(February 17, 1986) 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. On this mission, the Space Shuttle Challenger's payload bay carried an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) rocket that was to launch an attached Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) from space. Search and recovery teams lifted pieces of the 40,000- pound IUS/TDRS from the Atlantic Ocean. Although the pieces were badly deformed, the lack of any fire damage marring the debris supports the investigative team's conclusion that the IUS played no part in the accident.
NASA Photo Collection