War Thunder Used Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion In Promotional Art

War Thunder Challenger

On January 28, 1986, one of the biggest disasters in NASA history occurred when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its flight. All seven crew members on board were killed in the first fatal in-flight accident in US spacecraft history. Now, 38 years later, the Challenger tragedy has been used in promotional art for military combat game War Thunder.

It was first spotted by players who compared the explosion in the art to that of the Challenger. What stood out is the distinct look of the shape of the smoke and debris when it happened. It featured smoking debris falling from the sky along with an angled “cloud” that’s easily recognizable to those who’ve seen the footage or images.

Many assumed it was an AI-generated image that was used for the key art for the game. However, it appears that it was done manually.

War Thunder Challenger Explosion

Developer Gaijin Entertainment acknowledged that the explosion in the image was, in fact, that of the Challenger explosion. The game’s community manager magazine2 says it was part of a “aerial explosion reference pack”.

“Hey guys, we have accidentally used the explosion from the Challenger disaster in one of our key art images,” they said. “Please accept our sincere apologies for this, the picture was part of an aerial explosion reference pack used by our artists and the context was lost.

“We’ll be altering this artwork as soon as we can and will take measures to ensure that this doesn’t repeat again in the future.”

Insider Gaming has reached out to Gaijin Entertainment for comment on how an oversight like this was allowed to happen. A response has yet to be received as of publishing.

What do you think of War Thunder using the explosion from the Space Shuttle Challenger for its game’s promotional art? For more Insider Gaming, read about the streamer who beat a Shadow of the Erdtree boss using her brainwaves, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for exclusive shows, news, interviews, reviews, and more.