The song was composed by Jean-Michel Jarre to be played on a saxophone by Ron McNair, aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. It would be the first song played and recorded in space. The Challenger was the second shuttle built, after Columbia. It went to space in 1983, on April 4, for the first time. Challenger was destroyed in the second minute of STS-51-L, the orbiter's tenth mission, on January 28, 1986. A defect in the fuel tanks caused the Challenger explosion. The explosion happened during the take-off and all the crew members were killed, including the teacher Christa McAuliffe, the first civil person that participated in a space flight.