Yes, a soccer ball did survive that terrible disaster and was recovered, and has stood for 31 years in a school, after one of the Astronauts in that disaster, Ellison Onizuka, had taken it aboard given to him by his Daughter, and now again taken into space and on board the ISS........ Bloody amazing stuff!! http://www.universetoday.com/133304/31-years-disaster-challenger-soccer-ball-finally-gets-to-orbit/ 31 YEARS AFTER DISASTER, CHALLENGER SOCCER BALL FINALLY GETS TO ORBIT The Challenger disaster is one of those things that’s etched into people’s memories. The launch and resulting explosion were broadcast live. Professional astronauts may have been prepared to accept their fate, but that doesn’t make it any less tragic. There’ve been fitting tributes over the years, with people paying homage to the crew members who lost their lives. But a new tribute is remarkable for its simplicity. And this new tribute is all centred around a soccer ball. Ellison Onizuka was one of the Challenger seven who perished on January 28, 1986, when the shuttle exploded 73 seconds into its flight. His daughter and other soccer players from Clear Lake High School, near NASA’s Johnson Space Center, gave Ellison a soccer ball to take into space with him. Almost unbelievably, the soccer ball was recovered among the wreckage after the crash. The soccer ball was returned to the high school, where it was on display for the past three decades, with its meaning fading into obscurity with each passing year. Eventually, the Principal of the high school, Karen Engle, learned about the significance of the soccer ball’s history.