April 7, 1983 – A day for the NASA history books. The Shuttle Challenger staged the first walk in space made by an American team in over a decade happened on this day. Story Musgrave and Donald Peterson prepared for the walk as part of the maiden voyage of The Challenger, which was also the very first spacewalk for a Shuttle mission.
Reports came in throughout this day and throughout the week, following the course of this latest venture in space. The Space Shuttle Challenger marked a new era in space exploration; one that was greeted with excitement and awe.
Meanwhile, down on earth – while astronauts were preparing for their walk in Space, New Orleans was dealing with a deluge of rain, with flooding widespread from the 14 inch downpour that hit the area with some 25,000 fleeing their homes. Making matters worse was a communications problem, which effectively cut the city off from the rest of the country. The Central Telephone exchange experienced severe flooding along with downed power lines. Secondary communications were being set up, but in the meantime, New Orleans was somewhere in limbo. And more rain was in the forecast.
On Capitol Hill – a Federal Grand Jury indicted Republican Representative George Hansen of Idaho on charges of filing false financial statements, which was violation of the ethics Government act. The indictment covered a period of four years, beginning with 1978. What action was going to be taken wasn’t known and Representative Hansen offered no comment.
And Harvard University selected Polish Solidarity Labor leader Lech Walesa to address Commencement in June 9th. However, it wasn’t known if Walesa would be granted permission to leave Poland, or if he was granted, would he be granted permission to come back.
And that’s a little of what went on this April 7, 1983 as reported by CBS Radio Hourly News and Special Reports on The Challenger Space flight.