Dying Man Shares Previously Unseen Amateur Video of Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster
Video cameras were not the ubiquitous devices in 1986 that they are today, so the only video footage of the Space Shuttle Challenger most of us have seen are the live network broadcasts captured by the lenses of CBS and CNN.
Optometrist Dr. Jack Moss, however, was playing with his new Betamax camcorder that chilly January morning, and recorded the sad event from his front yard in Winter Haven, Florida, about 70 miles southwest of Cape Canaveral.
Moss had never shared the tape with the media or NASA, but a week before he died this past December, he fished it out of his attic and handed it over to the Space Exploration Archive, a non-profit organization in Louisville, Kentucky. The Archive transferred the video to digital formats and released it to the public domain in time for the 24th anniversary of the disaster this past week.
“That’s trouble of some kind, George,” says Moss, as the shuttle’s single smoke plume suddenly expands and then splits into a Y-shape. As Moss and other onlookers spend several moments contemplating if something had gone wrong, a neighbor checks the news inside his house, only to return and confirm “It exploded!”