Cryptologic Bytes

"On This Date in History" Calendar

28 Jan 1986: Remembering the Challenger and her Crew

Friday, January 28, 2022

#OTD 28 January 1986: At 11:38 a.m. EST, on January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with seven crew, including Christa McAuliffe as the first ordinary U.S. civilian to travel into space. A little more than a minute into the flight, the world watched in shock as the shuttle disintegrated in a plume of smoke.

Pictured here is a KGX-60/TSEC Space Encryptor. The equipment was salvaged from the shuttle's debris and given to the museum for safe keeping and display to demonstrate the ruggedness of cryptologic equipment on spacecraft. The equipment was used for secure communications to and from the Challenger. The NCMF and NCM remember the lives and sacrifice of the crew and their families.

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