Since the post-World War II introduction of television sets in homes, the inevitable occurrence of on-air deaths has become a grim reality.

Christa McAuliffe

Selected from over 11,000 applicants for NASA’s Teacher in Space Project, Christa McAuliffe aimed to be the first civilian in space, tasked with communicating with students while orbiting. Tragically, on January 28, 1986, 73 seconds after the Challenger’s liftoff, it broke apart and exploded, claiming McAuliffe and her six fellow crew members’ lives. The event, witnessed by many school children on live television due to McAuliffe’s presence, led to her posthumous award of the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2004.