Share your space shuttle memories

As NASA officials prepared for the final space shuttle launch, it brought back memories of Jan. 28, 1986, when the Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff, killing all seven crew members — including the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe.

Those were the days when wire service news came over printers, and the Reuters machine was right next to my desk. The alert bell on the machine rang multiple times, indicating something important had happened.

I read aloud the one-line alert — that the space shuttle had exploded after takeoff. It took a moment to process that information. Then, as a chill came over me, I and other CNS staffers headed toward the TV to watch the trail of white cloud.

Do you have memories of a space shuttle –Columbia, Challenger, Atlantis, Discovery, Endeavour? Have you ever been to a launch or re-entry? What are your thoughts about the end of this era?