Underwater explorer and marine biologist Mike Barnette and wreck diver Jimmy Gadomski explore a 20-foot segment of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger that the team discovered in the waters off the coast of Florida. Image Credit: The HISTORY® Channel via AP

NASA is confirming wreckage from an ill-fated Space Shuttle mission has been discovered by a film-making crew.

The section of the spacecraft, which exploded and crashed into the ocean in 1986, was found in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast, the agency said Thursday in a statement posted online.

The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, killing all seven aboard, in what was then the deadliest accident in NASA's history. Another mishap in 2003 led to the death of seven more crew members aboard the Columbia shuttle.

NASA said the wreckage is the property of the US government and that it's deciding what actions it may take in light of the discovery to "properly honor the legacy of Challenger's fallen astronauts and the families who loved them."

The filmmakers discovered the section of doomed shuttle's fuselage while making a documentary about the Bermuda Triangle for the History Channel. The division of A&E Television Networks said in a separate statement the wreckage is roughly 20 feet long and the first major discovery of Challenger wreckage in more than 25 years.

"Although the episode will appear as part of a series about the Bermuda Triangle, the artifact was found in waters off Florida's Space Coast, well northwest of the area popularly known as the Bermuda Triangle," NASA said.