Much of the wrecked space shuttle Challenger was found buried in sand at the bottom of the Atlantic more than three decades after the tragedy that killed a school teacher and six others.
asa’s Kennedy Space Center announced the discovery on Thursday.
“When you first hear about it, it takes you straight back to 1986,” said Michael Ciannilli, a NASA executive responsible for the remains of the two lost shuttles, Challenger and Columbia.
In a Nasa interview, he said it was one of the largest Challenger parts ever found in the decades since the accident.
Divers from a TV documentary crew first discovered the piece in March while searching for the wreckage of a World War II plane.
NASA recently confirmed via video that the piece was part of the shuttle that broke apart shortly after launch on January 28, 1986.
All seven on board were killed, including the first school teacher to fly into space, Christa McAuliffe.
The remnant is more than 15 feet by 15 feet and could be larger – part of it is covered in sand.
It’s believed to have come from the shuttle’s belly due to the presence of square thermal tiles, officials said.
The fragment remains on the seabed just off the Florida coast near Cape Canaveral while Nasa determines the next step. It remains the property of the US government.
Mr Ciannilli said the families of all seven Challenger crew members had been notified.
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