Local woman remembers Challenger tragedy

Marsolek was in Florida at the time of the disaster

Thirty years ago on Thursday a tragedy unfolded live on national TV.

The space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after taking off on January 28th, 1986 killing all seven astronauts on board including a school teacher.

One La Crosse woman was in Orlando on a family vacation at the time and even had her picture taken in front of the shuttle the day before the accident.

Amy Marsolek is a massage therapist at Mayo Clinic Health System.

She says her family was supposed to watch the launch in person before it got delayed an extra day due to weather.

They were at Epcot Center the next day when she said she heard someone scream in the gift shop.

“I get a little teary still, but looking up at the sky, and the whole sky was blue and the only thing in the sky was this cloud of dust, and that was where the space shuttle blew up,” says Marsolek.

January 28th is now NASA’s annual day of remembrance to honor the lives lost in the Challenger explosion as well as the the crews of the space shuttle Columbia and Apollo 1.