Press Releases  |  1.25.2018

Challenger Center Remembers Crew on 32nd Anniversary of Space Shuttle Tragedy

Organization Created to Keep Education Mission Alive Continues Work to Inspire Students

WASHINGTON DC – January 25, 2018 – Challenger Center, a leading nonprofit science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education organization continues its work to carry on the education mission of the Challenger STS-51L crew more than three decades after the tragedy. The organization was formed by the Challenger families as a living tribute to the seven crew members lost on January 28, 1986.

“It’s been 32 years since we lost our beloved Challenger crew. They were modest individuals with a strong passion to explore and inspire,” said Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, founding chair, Challenger Center, and widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee. “It brings me great joy to know that their passion to inspire and excite children continues with the students at Challenger Learning Centers around the world.”

The seven crew members – Commander Francis R. “Dick” Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka and Ronald E. McNair and Payload Specialist Gregory B. Jarvis and Teacher-in-Space Payload Specialist Christa McAuliffe – 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 math, science and space exploration.

“As we reflect on the past 32 years, we are proud of the work that has be done and the accomplishments that have been celebrated in honor of the Challenger crew,” said Dr. Lance Bush, president and CEO, Challenger Center. “The crew’s passion and commitment to inspire the next generation lives on each day at Challenger Center. As we continue to expand our programs and inspire more students we feel great pride knowing that our work helps continue the crew’s critical mission.”

Challenger Center and its network of more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers provide hands-on STEM experiences to students around the world. In addition to programs delivered in Centers, Challenger Center has developed programs to be delivered in classrooms and in communities. These programs give the organization the opportunity to ignite the potential in more students than ever before.

Most recently, Challenger Center announced that several of the lessons Christa McAuliffe planned to perform aboard the Challenger shuttle during the Teacher in Space mission will be completed aboard the International Space Station (ISS) this year. Challenger Center, in collaboration with NASA and STEM on Station, will work with astronauts Joe Acaba, currently aboard the ISS, and Ricky Arnold, scheduled to arrive in March, to film the lessons. The videos and lessons will be available on beginning this spring.

For more information about Challenger Center, please visit or connect on Facebook and Twitter.

About Challenger Center
As a leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, Challenger Center provides more than 250,000 students annually with experiential education programs that engage students in hands-on learning opportunities. These programs, delivered in Challenger Learning Centers and classrooms, strengthen knowledge in STEM subjects and inspire students to pursue careers in these important fields. Challenger Center was created by the Challenger families to honor the crew of shuttle flight STS-51-L.

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