“It’s going to blow up,” a distraught and defeated Ebeling told his wife, Darlene, when he arrived home that night.
And it did, 73 seconds after liftoff. Seven astronauts died. Cold weather and an O-ring failure were blamed, and Ebeling carried three decades of guilt.
“That was one of the mistakes God made,” Ebeling, now 89, told me three weeks ago at his home in Brigham City, Utah. “He shouldn’t have picked me for that job. But next time I talk to him, I’m gonna ask him, ‘Why me? You picked a loser.’ “