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Netflix delves into the ‘human side’ of Challenger disaster

The NASA family lost seven of its own on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, when a booster engine failed, causing the Shuttle Challenger to break apart just 73 seconds after launch. In this photo from Jan. 9, 1986, the Challenger crew takes a break during countdown training at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Left to right are Teacher-in-Space payload specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe; payload specialist Gregory Jarvis; and astronauts Judith A. Resnik, mission specialist; Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, mission commander; Ronald E. McNair, mission specialist; Mike J. Smith, pilot; and Ellison S. Onizuka, mission specialist. Photo Credit: NASA/Sipa USA

NEW YORK (AP) — Last year brought us the powerful TV miniseries “Chernobyl.” Now from Netflix comes a look at another disaster from 1986 — the Challenger space shuttle disaster.

Many schoolkids tuned in to see Christa McAuliffe become the first teacher in space. The series approaches the disaster less like a post-mortem and more like a drama. It explores NASA history and the lives of the seven lost astronauts, why the accident occurred and the inquest that followed.

The filmmakers say they wanted to honor and humanize the astronauts. The series airs just as space exploration has returned to America’s consciousness.

The four-part series “Challenger: The Final Flight” premieres Wednesday.

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