These Are The Most Heartbreaking Images From The Challenger Disaster

Thirty years ago today, the space shuttle Challenger exploded after launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in an event that was watched the world over. The disaster killed seven crew members including Christa McAuliffe, who hoped to be the first teacher in space. Photojournalists captured the many shocked and heartbreaking reactions of those at NASA the spectators in the stands near the launch site.

One truly memorable and tragic photo captured by Jim Cole of The Associated Press shows McAuliffe’s mother, father and sister immediately after the explosion.

Other images from around the nation show classrooms that were watching the launch. Concord, New Hampshire, McAuliffe’s hometown, can be seen in these images honoring her memory after the explosion.

See more images of the reactions below:

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