California Lives: Every Thursday, read an obituary of a notable Californian from the archives

Roger Boisjoly

The 1986 explosion that destroyed the space shuttle Challenger and killed seven astronauts shocked the nation, but for one rocket engineer the tragedy became a personal burden and created a lifelong quest to challenge the bureaucratic ethics that had caused the tragedy. The night before the explosion, engineer Roger Boisjoly and four others argued that joints in the shuttle's boosters couldn't withstand a cold-weather launch. Above, Boisjoly examines a model of the space shuttle's o-rings in 1991. He was 73. Full obituary Notable deaths of 2011 Associated Press