Blogs  |  1.26.2024

Remembering the Challenger STS-51L Crew

January 28, 2024, marks 38 years since the loss of the beloved Challenger astronauts.

On January 28, 1986, seven crew members of shuttle flight STS-51L – Francis “Dick” Scobee, Michael Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair,  Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe – set out on a mission to inspire and engage students around the globe. It was the Teacher In Space Project, a NASA program announced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, designed to inspire students, honor teachers, and spur interest in math, science, and space exploration. While the Challenger crew was tragically lost, their legacy lives on through our work at Challenger Center.

As we pause to remember these heroes, we are filled with gratitude for the support we receive from people around the globe, committed to keeping their mission alive.

“We are so proud of the accomplishments that this organization has celebrated over the last 38 years. It is an honor to build upon the legacy of the Challenger crew and carry forward the vision created by the Challenger families in 1986.”

- Lance Bush, Challenger Center President and CEO

This year, Challenger family members, Challenger Center board and staff, and Challenger Learning Centers commemorated the anniversary at various events throughout the week:

Unveiling of “Ohioans in Space” Painting

On January 24, Dr. Charles Resnik, brother of Astronaut Judith Resnik, and members of his family attended an event at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio where a 9-foot by 12-foot painting, “Ohioans in Space” was unveiled. The painting features Judith, along with John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Gene Kranz.

NASA Day of Remembrance

On January 25, NASA held its annual Day of Remembrance in honor of the members of the NASA family who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery for the benefit of all. Traditionally held on the fourth Thursday in January each year, NASA’s Day of Remembrance commemorates the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. Challenger Center Founding Chair June Scobee Rodgers attended this year’s event. Challenger Center President and CEO Lance Bush, and Chair of the Board Josh Izenberg were also in attendance.

Relaunch of Christa McAuliffe Center at Framingham State University

On Friday, January 26, Challenger Center, in partnership with the Christa McAuliffe Center at Framingham State University (FSU), celebrated the official relaunch of the University’s Challenger Learning Center. The McAuliffe Center was created in 1994 as a way to honor Christa McAuliffe, a beloved alumna of the University.

The McAuliffe Center is home to one of 35 Challenger Learning Centers that have collectively reached more than 6 million students with our STEM programs. The McAuliffe Center, along with Centers across the country, are recognizing the anniversary with their local communities

The Mission Continues

Today marks 38 years since we lost the Challenger crew. Now, nearly four decades later, we are filled with such pride and gratitude for the support we receive from people around the globe, committed to keeping the Challenger STS-51L educational mission alive. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us to carry forth their legacy.