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Allan J. McDonald, Lead NASA Engineer The Day The Challenger Exploded, Explains How He Tried To Get The Mission Delayed On That Infamous Day

Fascinating doesn't even begin to describe how fascinating Allan McDonald's recounting the events that lead to an unspeakable tragedy. Over the years here, I've done a ton of interviews with a ton of inspiring, impressive, or incredibly talented people. There have been exactly two interviews I've done where I was hesitant to speak or interrupt. Those interviews are Cpl Stanley Rubin, a Marine who fought on the volcanic sands of Iwo Jima, and now Allan McDonald. 

I was four years old when the Challenger exploded so obviously I don't remember the first-hand accounts. I do, however, remember my teachers talking about it as the years went on. Mr. Jensen, my third-grade teacher, broke down in tears one day as he was explaining to us what happened. He had only been a teacher for a few years at the time of the incident and told us that it nearly made him quit teaching. I didn't understand then. I do now. Being a teacher in Florida and having all of your students gather outside to watch a historic event should have been a learning experience about the near-magical nature of science; it ended up being a learning experience about the fragility and sometimes extremely unfair nature of life. 

The people who were lost that day were some of the best and brightest minds that we've ever had in this country. Listening to Mr. McDonald's account about how and why this tragedy happened was guiltily enthralling. Start listening. I promise you won't be able to stop.