Last Flight Of Challenger's CREW

As the astronauts' remains come home, a new blow rocks NASA

They had blasted off from Cape Canaveral last January to the thunderous roar of Challenger's five rocket engines. They returned last week to a respectfully silent ceremony on the Cape's runway where their shuttle mission, if successful, would have landed. The quiet was broken only by two disparate sounds: the somber cadence of tramping boots as an Air Force honor guard gently placed the seven flag-draped coffins aboard a Lockheed C-141 transport plane, and the cheery song of a nearby flock of mockingbirds.

Each casket, bearing the remains of one of Challenger's crew, was accompanied by an astronaut. Top officials of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!