CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WSVN) — It’s been 35 years since the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded, claiming the lives of seven people.

The nation watched as the shuttle launched and exploded just 75 seconds after liftoff, back in 1986.

It was later discovered that the rubber seal on one of the rocket boosters became stiff in the cold temperatures, triggering the explosion.

One of the lives tragically taken was Christa McAuliffe, who was going to be the first civilian and teacher in space.

Across the country, many children gathered in their classrooms to watch the historic event, only to see the shuttle go up in flames.

On the ground at Cape Canaveral, hundreds witnessed the doomed launch in person, including McAuliffe’s parents.

The challenger disaster brought NASA’s space program to a halt for nearly three years.

After the explosion, President Ronald Reagan postponed his State of the Union Address, instead, delivering a televised eulogy to the American people.

An investigation later found NASA was aware the freezing temperatures could cause problems for the rocket boosters but decided to go ahead with the launch anyway.

On Thursday, NASA will pay tribute to those lives lost in a day of remembrance.

The entire agency is set to commemorate all space missions that ended in tragedy.

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