Today In History Spotlights Jan. 28, 1986, Space Shuttle “Challenger” Explodes

Today’s History Spotlight

The Challenger Disaster occurs. The names of the seven brave space pioneers were Francis Scobee, Michael Smith, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.

Shortly after takeoff, the Challenger’s O-ring, which was not designed to withstand unusually cold temperatures, failed and caused a breach in the SRB joint, leading to the explosion. This tragic event grounded the shuttle fleet for nearly three years and the Reagan Administration appointed a special commission to investigate.

What Happened On This Day – January 28

  • 1985 USA for Africa record “We Are the World”. Over 20 million copies of the charity single were sold.
  • 1958 The Lego brick is patented. The Lego company has since produced 500 billion Lego elements, amounting to 10 lego towers from Earth to the Moon.
  • 1820 Fabian von Bellinghausen discovers the Antarctic. The Baltic German explorer is believed to be the first person to sight the Earth’s southernmost continent.
  • 1813 Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, is published. It is one of the best-known works of English literature and it was sold about 20 million times.

Births On This Day – January 28

  • 1978 Gianluigi Buffon – Italian footballer
  • 1968 Sarah McLachlan – Canadian singer-songwriter, pianist, producer
  • 1955 Nicolas Sarkozy – French politician, 23rd President of France
  • 1912 Jackson Pollock – American painter
  • 1853 José Martí – Cuban journalist, poet, theorist

Deaths On This Day – January 28

  • 2002 Astrid Lindgren – Swedish author, screenwriter
  • 1975 Ola Raknes – Norwegian psychoanalyst, philologist
  • 1939 W. B. Yeats – Irish poet, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1547 Henry VIII of England
  • 814 Charlemagne – Frankish king

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Author Profile

Garrett Smith
Garrett Smith is a writer for NRN and recent graduate from Western Carolina University. He is a history major with a minor in political science. As a Conservative, Smith believes that the Left has taken over America's education system, which means they now control its history. To make their fellow Americans feel guilty, they often invoke a feeling of "American Shame" in students, indoctrinating them with radical, un-American ideas. It is Smith's goal to teach Americans the true history of America, and along with this, use its history to explain what makes us great.