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 in a similar seal on the right hand SRB are thought to have failed, causing the explosion which destroyed the shuttle. The holes seen in the three sections are for the 177 shear pins which hold the joint together. The cut out hole to the right of the centre section is one of three used for alignment when the SRB segments are mated. Photographer ref: 108-KSC-386C-711/20A.
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