NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Debris from the 51-L shuttle explosion lies on the ocean floor off the coast of Florida. This photo shows a joint in the left hand solid rocket booster (SRB), fractured either when NASA ground staff detonated explosives on the SRBs, to prevent them coming down on land, or during the subsequent impact in the water. The O-rings which seal the joint can be seen floating to the right of the picture. The structure seen on the outside of the booster, below the grooves which normally contain the O-rings, may be one of the SRB attachment points. The O-rings in a similar seal on the right hand SRB are thought to have failed, causing the explosion which destroyed the shuttle. Photographer ref: 108-KSC-386C-711/27A.
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