Back row from left: Mission Specialist Ellison S. Onizuka; Teacher in Space Participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe; Payload Specialist Greg Jarvis and Mission Specialist Judy Resnik. Front row, from left: Pilot Mike Smith; Commander Dick Scobee; and Mission Specialist Ron McNair.

Challenger Center History

On January 28, 1986, the seven crew members of the Space Shuttle Challenger set out on a mission to broaden educational horizons and promote the advancement of scientific knowledge. Tragically, the crew of the Challenger shuttle died on the morning of January 28, 1986 when a booster engine failed, causing the shuttle to break apart just 73 seconds after launch. In the aftermath of the Challenger accident, the crew family members’ families resolved to create a living memorial to the Challenger crew: a space science education center where teachers and students could use state-of-the-art technology and space-life simulators to “explore space” as they apply mathematics, science and technology skills in a workplace of the future.

The result was the Challenger Learning Center concept, a national network of educational facilities containing highly interactive simulations of living and working environments in space. The Centers are focused on several critical long-term goals of national value and impact:

There are over 40 Challenger Learning Centers located in school districts, museums, science centers, and college campuses across North America and beyond.
To learn more check out the Challenger National Headquarter website.