New Netflix series presents ‘unprecedented examination’ of Challenger disaster

New Netflix series presents ‘unprecedented examination’ of Challenger disaster
The seven crew members of the space shuttle Challenger died with the shuttle exploded on Jan. 28, 1986.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s been 34 years since the Challenger explosion killed seven astronauts ― including Ellison Onizuka from the Big Island.

The horrific scene was broadcast live on national television, when ― 73 seconds after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Station ― the rocket exploded.

In a new docuseries now available for streaming, ‘Challenger: The Final Flight,’ Netflix recounts the tragedy.

Using archival footage and new interviews with officials, astronauts, journalists and the family members of the crew, the series looks at why the accident occurred and how it impacted both NASA and the individuals directly involved.

Below the HNN digital team has posted even more rarely seen video from our broadcast archives.

From Joy To Pure Terror

The final hours of space shuttle Challenger crew

Onizuka was 39 when he died. He was NASA's first Asian American astronaut.

Born in Kealakekua, Onizuka left a lasting legacy on the Big Island.

Onizuka’s Mission

1986 NASA produced mini documentary about Ellison Onizuka

Onizuka's brother, Claude, saw the tragedy first-hand.

"We were about three miles from the launch site out in an open observation area. When the Challenger blew up, it was almost overhead," he said.

An investigation showed cold temperatures compromised the seals in the Challenger's twin rocket boosters.

Onizuka was born June 24, 1946 on Hawaii Island.
Onizuka was born June 24, 1946 on Hawaii Island.

Onizuka said when his brother was alive he prepared his family for a worst-case scenario.

“Ellison always told us if anything went wrong, it’s like sitting on top of a giant bomb,” Claude recounted when HNN interviewed him back in 2016.

Hawaii Mourns The Loss Of A Hero

In 1986 Hawaii mourned the loss of a hero

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