Photos Show Shuttle Cabin Intact After Blast
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration released a set of 10 pictures Wednesday that show Challenger’s nose section, with the crew cabin inside, breaking away from the exploding fuel tank and plunging apparently intact toward the ocean.
The pictures tend to support earlier reports by investigators that the nose and crew compartment were together throughout the nine-mile fall and shattered on impact with the Atlantic Ocean.
The seven crew members died when the shuttle exploded Jan. 28 shortly after launch.
The first in the series of pictures shows the nose section and other debris being blown away from the fireball created when the tank exploded after apparently being struck by the upper part of the right solid rocket booster.
The nine other pictures show the nose section and cabin continuing to fly upward for a few seconds before starting a downward plunge.