22 years on it still has the power to shock and awe. I'll always remember how the voiceover from the control room calmly carries on reporting the trajectory of the booster rockets even after the shuttle had exploded. As I commented on Charles's blog, watching crashes seems to me to be the definitive YouTube experience, the apotheosis of the medium. Here you can watch the crash along with Christa McAuliffe's parents and her class of schoolchildren.
Colin Davis, in the book High Tech architecture, saw the Challenger disaster as the sign of the death of the High Tech style, in the same way that the demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe estate in St. Louis signified the death of Modernism:
Architectural scholiasts of the future, wishing to pin down the precise date of the death of the High Tech style, might well choose January 28th 1986, the day the Challenger space craft blew up in front of the watching millions. The cause of the tragedy, we now know, was the failure of a Neoprene gasket.