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Challenger (1990 film)

Challenger is a 1990 American disaster drama television film based on the events surrounding the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Its production was somewhat controversial as the families of the astronauts generally objected to it. The film concentrates on the safety inspections and arguments surrounding the O-rings that ultimately were blamed for the explosion of Challenger. While doing this, it also aims to show the personal humanity of the seven crew members. Generally, the film supports the Space Shuttle program and the dedication of NASA personnel in general while criticizing NASA management.

DVD release cover
Written byGeorge Englund
Directed byBen Jordan
StarringKaren Allen
Barry Bostwick
Richard Jenkins
Joe Morton
Keone Young
Brian Kerwin
Julie Fulton
Kale Browne
Kristin Bond
Angela Bassett
Composer(s)David E. Cole
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)George Englund
Courtney Pledger
Debbie Robins
Original networkAmerican Broadcasting Company
Original release
  • February¬†25,¬†1990¬†(1990-02-25)


Karen Allen portrayed Christa McAuliffe, Kristin Bond portrayed McAuliffe's daughter, Caroline (who was 6 when her mother died), and Kale Browne portrayed McAuliffe's husband, Steven. Coincidentally, Allen and Browne were married in real life.

Peter Boyle portrayed Roger Boisjoly, the Thiokol engineer most vocal about the danger of launching at extreme low temperatures because of the risk that the O-ring seals in the shuttle's rocket boosters would fail at those temperatures.

The film also examines the personal lives of the other members of the crew - Barry Bostwick as Commander Dick Scobee, Brian Kerwin as Pilot Michael Smith, Joe Morton as Dr. Ronald McNair, Keone Young as Lt. Col. Ellison Onizuka, Richard Jenkins as Gregory B. Jarvis, Julie Fulton as Dr. Judith Resnik - and their families - Angela Bassett as Cheryl McNair, Elizabeth Kemp as Jane Smith, Jeanne Mori as Lorna Onizuka, Debbie Boily as Marcia Jarvis, Melinda Ann Austin as June Scobee, Melissa Chan as Janelle Onizuka, Gavin Luckett as Reggie McNair, Naoka Nakagawa as Darien Onizuka, Thomas Allen Jr. as Scott Smith - before they boarded Challenger.

Emmy awardEdit

At the 42nd Primetime Emmy Awards in September 1990, Challenger won Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries or a Special.[1]


  1. ^ " list of 1990 Nominees & Winners". Retrieved May 25, 2019.

External linksEdit