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NEW YORK (AP) — Many Americans have vivid memories of Jan. 28, 1986.
That was the day the space shuttle Challenger exploded over a chilly Florida, just seconds after liftoff. School children across the country had tuned in to see Christa McAuliffe become the first teacher in space.
One person watching was Steven Leckart, a space-obsessed elementary school kid. Like everyone else, he was shocked by the blast and felt the slow, sickening realization that all seven aboard were gone.
“I remember wanting to be an astronaut and I remember wanting to go to space. And then I remember Challenger completely shattering my dream for that,” he recalled.
Leckart has returned to that dark day as co-director of the four-part Netflix documentary series “Challenger: The Final Flight,” executive produced by J.J. Abrams and Glen Zipper. It premieres Wednesday.
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.
Zipper and Leckart conceived of it in 2015 while looking to make something personal. Both had seen the disaster as boys but could only remember the name of one astronaut …
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