'Breakthrough - Communcations Moments That Changed the World' - the launch of the Challenger Space Shuttle

Jack Murray from brand storytelling agency All Good Tales tells George how the launch in 1986 became a media moment that would never be forgotten

It’s the 28th of January 1986, the day of the launch of the Challenger Space Shuttle. Millions tuned into the live TV broadcast to see its launch from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The mission’s main aim was to deploy new satellite technology to observe Halley’s Comet. But on this day, there is huge added excitement because Christa McAuliffe is on board – she is set to be the first ever civilian, and the first teacher in space.

Two years before the launch, President Ronald Reagan announced the Teacher in Space Project.

Over 11,000 people applied, and in the end 37 year old Christa McAuliffe was chosen. She was originally from Boston and was a social science teacher in the Concord High School in New Hampshire. She was married to Steven and had two children. Scott was 9 and Caroline was 6.

The Challenger’s take off was originally scheduled for January 22nd, but was postponed several times. There were a myriad of reasons to blame including scheduling, wintery weather and technical glitches.

But none of these setbacks bothered the crew. They arrived for the take off with warm smiles, ready to make history.