Ceremony to honor crew of Space Shuttle Challenger

Ceremony to honor crew of Space Shuttle Challenger

(NBC NEWSCHANNEL, WPTV webteam) Today marks a somber anniversary in American history.

Thirty years ago the Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed in an explosion over the Atlantic Ocean less than two minutes after takeoff.

It's an image most people who remember the disaster will never forget.

All seven members of the Challenger crew died.

It was an unusually cold day in Florida that January morning, and freezing temperatures led many to believe the weather was a factor in the failure of the "O-rings" inside the adjacent rocket boosters.

Investigators would later conclude that superheated gas escaped the O-ring joint and caused the tanks to explode... dooming the space craft.

Christa McAuliffe Community Middle School in Palm Beach County, named after the teacher on the spacecraft, will hold a ceremony Thursday morning.

NASA will pay tribute to all its fallen crew members on Thursday during a wreath-laying ceremony.

The crews from both shuttle disasters Columbia and Challenger will be honored as well as the crew from Apollo One who died during a fire in 1967.