It's early in the afternoon in January 1986. Teens are sporting big hair, Sony Walkmans, multi Swatch watches, and thin dinner jackets with the sleeves rolled up.
Families with a bit more cash in the pocket had MTV (when it actually played music videos), the new Nintendo NES, and a big bulky thing sitting on the analog TV called a VCR. Lucky homes with bigger pockets--doctors, lawyers, etc--had fancy cars and could purchase one of those massive video cameras. Needless to say, very few people were shooting home videos unless money was in the blood.
That's why the sudden appearance of an amateur video of the Challenger explosion--shot twenty-four years ago--seems so important: the videos are rare if any others even exist at all. The Courier-Journal, covering Kentucky and Southern Indiana, managed to acquire a digital version of the old analog recording.
The video--shot by optometrist Jack Moss--was originally donated to the non-profit educational Space Exploration Archive in Louisville a week before he died in December at the age of 88.
The five-minute video was shot by Moss as he tested his new video camera in the back yard of his second home in Winter Haven, Florida. The footage shows the Challenger rising above the distant trees in a trail of smoke, sprouting into the blue sky as it did many times before, and then the boosters take on a path of their own.
"That's trouble of some kind, George," you can hear him say to a neighbor as the shuttle exploded. "That's trouble of some kind. That didn't look right. They got troubles."
Most of the coverage currently seen of the Challenger explosion were provided live by the NBC, ABC, CBS, and other networks. The shocking event stunned the nation and brought the country to a standstill as Americans watched the fate of the shuttle's crew shatter in the Florida sky.
To see the video, head here.