Challenger At 30: A CU Professor, Then With NASA, Recalls Watching Disaster

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Photo: Challenger lifts off from Kennedy Space Center
Challenger lifts off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, Jan. 28, 1986.
Photo: Challenger crew members
Challenger crew members pose for a photo. Front row from left: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair. Back row from left: Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis,Judith Resnik.
Photo: Challenger Explodes
Challenger explodes shortly after lifting off.
Photo: Challenger Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka
Challenger Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka, a Hawaiian, earned both a bachelor's and master's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder.

When the space shuttle Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Jan. 28, 1986 and then exploded shortly afterward, seven astronauts died: Commander Francis R. Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka and Judith Resnik, and Payload Specialists Gregory Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe.

Coloradan David Klaus was a launch commander for NASA that day. Now a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, he shares his memories of those moments with Colorado Matters host Nathan Heffel.