Disasters & Tragedy
The First Fatal Airplane Crash
Just five years after the Wrights' first flight, Orville Wright was in the first fatal airplane crash - the passenger was killed.
On April 26th, 1986, reactor four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, releasing massive amounts of radiation into the environment. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster killed 31 people shortly after the explosion and thousands more have, or are expected to, died from the long-term effects of radiation.
Martin Luther King Jr. Assassinated
On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot while standing on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Though James Earl Ray pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in prison, some believe that Ray might not be the assassin.
Space Shuttle Challenger Explodes
On Tuesday, January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded only 73 seconds after lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The disaster was one of the defining moments of the 20th century and exposed many problems within the U.S. space program.