Thursday, October 6, 2011

Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster Remembered as Chicago Bears Make Belated Visit to White House

Tomorrow, October 7, President Obama will welcome the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears to the White House to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their Super Bowl victory. In 1986, the team’s White House reception was canceled due to the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy.

Super Bowl XX was played on January 26, 1986 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. The Chicago Bears clobbered the New England Patriots 46–10. Bears defensive end Richard Dent, was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

Two days after the Bears Super Bowl win, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of all seven crew members. The disaster was blamed on an O-ring seal that failed at liftoff. Christa McAuliffe, the first member of the Teacher in Space Project and the first regular U.S. civilian space traveler was killed in the disaster. Many school children across the country were watching Challenger's lift off.

President Reagan was scheduled to deliver a "State on the Union" speech on that night. Instead, he delivered a tribute to the lost astronauts.

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