On January 28, 1986, the seven-crew members of the Space Shuttle Challenger/STS-51L “Teacher in Space” mission set out to broaden educational horizons and advance scientific knowledge. Their mission exemplified man’s noblest and most wondrous qualities – to explore, discover, and teach.
To the nation’s shock and sorrow, their Space Shuttle exploded 73 seconds after liftoff.
In the aftermath of the Challenger accident, the crew’s families came together, firmly committed to the belief that they must carry on the spirit of their loved ones by continuing the Challenger crew’s educational mission. In April 1986, they created Challenger Center for Space Science Education.
Challenger Center for Space Science Education offers dynamic, hands-on exploration and discovery opportunities to students around the world. These programs equip students with the knowledge, confidence, and skills that will help better our national, social and economic well-being. The center gives students the chance to become astronauts and engineers and solve real-world problems as they share the thrill of discovery on missions through the Solar System. Using space simulation and role-playing strategies, students bring their classroom studies to life and cultivate the skills needed for future success. Learning Centers reach into communities around the globe, engaging more than 400,000 middle school-age students and 40,000 educators each year.