Netflix on Wednesday debuted a new trailer for the upcoming "Challenger: The Final Flight" documentary series, which provides a fresh look at the disaster and new interviews with relatives of the seven people who perished in the explosion.
Millions of Americans watched on television on Jan. 28, 1986, as the Challenger was set to launch to the cosmos and usher in a new era of American space exploration.
Astronauts Francis R. Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, Michael J. Smith and Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, who won a place on the flight, were all killed when the spacecraft broke apart 73 seconds after launch.
The documentary, which was executive produced by J.J. Abrams and Glen Zipper and premieres Sept. 16, examines the mechanical failures and the decision-making that led to the disaster, according to a news release from Netflix. It includes interviews with former NASA officials and engineers who worked on the failed booster engine and had concerns about safety, Netflix said.
For those who are old enough to remember the Challenger explosion, it was a moment they've never forgotten. Caroll Spinney, the late actor who played Big Bird, had said he was among the private citizens who were considered for a place on the flight.
He recalled the shock he felt watching the flight on television.
"All of a sudden, it goes boom and I said, 'Oh, my God,'" Spinney told TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager during an interview in 2015. "We all started crying. We knew it was a disaster. It made my scalp crawl to think I was supposed to be on that."
On the anniversary of the explosion last year, Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist reflected on what it was like watching it happen on live television as a fifth grade student who was home sick from school.
"I remember saying to my mom as my awe turned to shock, 'I think something is wrong,''' he wrote in an Instagram post.
Willie remembered the words of former President Ronald Reagan, who spoke to the nation after the disaster.
"That night, President Reagan addressed kids like me directly, 'I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff,''' he wrote. "I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery.
"It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them."