Press Releases  |  1.26.2017

Challenger Center Marks 31st Anniversary of Space Shuttle Tragedy

Challenger Center

WASHINGTON (January 26, 2017) – Challenger Center, a leading science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education organization, continues to honor the Challenger crew more than three decades after the shuttle tragedy. Each year, the STEM education organization and its 43 Challenger Learning Centers provide more than 250,000 students with the opportunity to become scientists, engineers, and innovators through unique education experiences.

“The Challenger crew’s desire to teach and inspire children everywhere lives on through our work at Challenger Center,” said Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, founding chair, Challenger Center, and widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee. “It is hard to believe it’s been more than three decades since we lost the crew, but I’m certain they would be pleased to know their mission has continued and incredibly proud of all that has been accomplished.”

Challenger Center, formed by the families of the Challenger crew as a living tribute to the seven crew members, is dedicated to the educational spirit of their mission. The organization’s programs emphasize the importance of critical 21st century skills and give students an opportunity to apply STEM knowledge to real world scenarios while they take on roles similar to those of scientists, engineers, and other professionals in today’s workforce.

“Students are the future of our industries, our economy, our planet and beyond,” said Dr. Lance Bush, president and CEO, Challenger Center. “We remain dedicated to the Challenger crew’s mission and are committed to inspiring today’s students to take on STEM subjects and reach their greatest potential.”

Space Shuttle Challenger and its seven-member crew were tragically lost on Jan. 28, 1986. The crew members of shuttle flight STS-51-L – Dick Scobee, Gregory Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, and Michael J. Smith – were part of the first Teacher in Space Project. The NASA program, announced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, was designed to inspire students, honor teachers, and spur interest in mathematics, science, and space exploration. Christa McAuliffe was selected by NASA to be the first teacher in space.

On Tuesday, Jan. 31, family members will be joined by Challenger Center board members and staff at NASA’s Day of Remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery. The day honors the memories of all astronauts whose lives have been lost in spaceflight-related events.

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Media Contact:
Lisa Vernal
Challenger Center