Challenger Disaster: Rare Photos Found After 28 Years

Addam Corré

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, which happened 28 years ago in 1986, killed all seven crew members on board. 26 never-seen-before images have now been found, capturing the horror of the worst space shuttle disaster in American history.

The photos were found by Michael Hindes - the grandson of Bill Rendle, who worked as a contractor for NASA - as he looked through some long forgotten boxes of photographs.

Hindes proudly told reporters that his grandfather witnessed "just about every launch," during his time working for NASA.

The old photos, which capture the true tragedy of the Challenger disaster, came to light when Hindes' grandmother passed away recently. The family went about the task of organizing photos for her memorial when Hindes came across the old boxes.

Hindes said about his grandfather's reaction to the images: "His face dropped when he saw the photos."

The photos were originally shared, like most things these days, via social media. Hindes chose Reddit as his medium, as he posted the rare images online. He spoke about his recollection of when the Challenger disaster occurred:

"I was in kindergarten living in Florida when Challenger went up. I was pretty young but I remember that it was a very nice day out. The teachers took all of the kids out to the playground to watch the launch. When we saw the explosion we didn't know what exactly we saw, it just 'stopped' in the sky."

A Reddit user by the name of LordQuagga commented on the images:

"These people were some of the best minds and bodies that we could offer to the stars, and yet they died. They rode the most sophisticated vehicles ever, and those vehicles crumbled and burned before our very eyes. No astronaut's death has ever, or need ever be in vain. Every death has taught us something new about our technology, practices and our resolve. Every flight into space is one more to teach us about the universe; every single one matters."

You can view a gallery of the rare Challenger disaster photos HERE.