Sculptures derived from archival photos of the space shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986, which killed all seven crew members and set back the manned exploration of space for decades.
T= 0 - +73.191 is based on archival photos of the disaster, is cast from aluminum and polished to reflect the surrounding environment.
The sculpture functions as a physical timeline from ignition to the explosion.
|T=00.000||Solid rocket ignition command is sent.||T+72.564||Data shows a sudden lateral acceleration to the right
jolts the shuttle with a force that may have been felt
by the crew.
|T+01.000||Astronaut Judy Resnik, intercom: “Aaall Riight!”
Shuttle pilot Michael Smith, intercom: “Here we go.”
|T+72.624||Solid rocket boosters continue showing high
nozzle motion rates.
|T+64.705||A leak has started in the shuttle’s
liquid hydrogen tank.
|T+72.964||Challenger beams back its final navigation update.|
|T+64.937||A bright, sustained glow is photographed
on the side of the external fuel tank.
|T+73.000||Main engine liquid oxygen propellant pressures
begin falling sharply at turbopump inlets.
|T+65.524||Evidence of Challenger experiencing
|T+73.010||Smith, intercom: “Uh oh...” This is the last comment
captured by the crew cabin intercom recorder.
|T+66.000||Data shows the left wing’s outboard
elevon moves suddenly.
|T+73.044||Last data is captured by the Tracking and
Data Relay Satellite in orbit overhead, indicating
structural breakup has begun in that area.
|T+66.174||Booster systems engineer: “Throttle up, three at 104.”
Greene: “Capcom (Covey), go at throttle up.”
|T+73.045||Sharp decrease in liquid hydrogen pressure
to the main engines.
|T+66.764||Tracking cameras show a bright spot suddenly
appears in the exhaust plume from the side of
the right-side rocket motor.
|T+73.137||Internal pressure in the right-side rocket booster
is recorded,indicating about 100,000 pounds
less thrust. Tracking cameras detect evidence
indicating a massive rupture near the SRB-tank
attach ring. Forward acceleration begins pushing
the tank up into the liquid oxygen section in
the tip of the external fuel tank.
|T+67.684||The flame has wrapped around the joint
as the leak deteriorated.
|T+68.000||Telemetry indicates falling pressure in the
17-inch-wide liquid oxygen propellant lines
feeding the three main engines.
|T+73.143||Vapors appear near the intertank section separating
the hydrogen and oxygen sections accompanied
by liquid hydrogen spillage from the aft dome of
the external tank.
|T+70.000||Nesbitt: “Engines are throttling up.
Three engines now at 104 percent.”
Covey: “Challenger, go at throttle up.”
|T+72.204||Scobee, air-to-ground: “Roger, go at throttle up.”||T+73.162||All three main engines respond to loss of oxygen
and hydrogen inlet pressure. A sudden cloud of
rocket fuel appears along the side of the external
tank. The nose of the right-hand booster pivoted
into the intertank area, compounding the liquid
|T+72.284||Data shows divergent up and
down motions of the nozzles at the base of both
solid rocket boosters.
|T+72.478||A large ball of orange fire appears higher on
the other side of main fuel tank, closer to
Challenger’s cabin, and grows rapidly.
|T+73.191||A sudden brilliant flash is photographed between
the shuttle and the external tank. Fireballs merge
into bright yellow and red mass of flame that engulfs
Challenger. A single crackling noise is heard
on air-to-ground radio
|T+72.525||The nozzles of the three liquid-fueled main
engines begin moving at high rates:
Five degrees per second.