A special ceremony is taking place at the Kennedy Space Center's visitor complex this morning. Members of the NASA family and the public will gather to honor those who died aboard space shuttle Challenger.
Twenty-five years ago the STS-51L crew boarded Challenger for a six-day flight. It was just after liftoff when things went wrong. Challenger was in the air for 73 seconds before the orbiter exploded.
June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Cmdr. Dick Scobee, will be one of many speakers honoring her husband and the members of his crew.
This mission was to take the first teacher, Christa McAuliffe, up into space. Her widow, Steven McAuliffe, released a statement saying that his family finds it "comforting and inspirational" that people across the country continue to remember his wife and her Challenger crew members.
The astronauts on the flight with Scobee and McAuliffe were pilot Michael Smith, mission specialists Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka and Ronald McNair; and payload specialist Gregory Jarvis.
According to investigators' findings, the cause of the explosion was an O-ring that failed in one of the solid rocket boosters. Cold weather was cited as a contributing factor.
The ceremony is taking place in front of The Space Mirror Memorial. This memorial lists the names of 24 U.S. astronauts who lost their lives while exploring space.