Challenger Learning Center History
On January 28, 1986, seven people lost their lives. Astronauts onboard the shuttle named Challenger launched from Earth on what was called the "Education Mission." With a teacher on board, they set out to inspire students and to use the thrill of space exploration to ignite an interest in math, science, and technology. However, the shuttle traveled upward for only 72 seconds. Before leaving Earth's atmosphere, an explosion ended the mission and ended the astronauts' lives. Their dreams, hovever, did not die with them.
The astronauts' families resolved to create a living dynamic memorial to honor their loved ones and to carry on their dreams. The seven families founded the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. With NASA's help, this organization designed the Challenger Learning Center, an educational space science program for students and adults alike. This is their dream, their ongoing memorial to the crew.
The Challenger Learning Center and the Discovery Museum: Science & Space Center now carries on the dreams of those seven astronauts. This site is the 20th member of a network of over 50 centers across the nation and overseas. Since October 9, 1997, over 60,6000 students have journeyed to Mars, explored Comet Halley, or returned to the Moon in 2,300 simulated space missions. Approximately 1,175 teacher have attended out professional development workshops, 2,500 people have participated in Community Missions, and 1,500 adults have experienced the thrill of space travel in our Corporate Team Building Programs.
Other enrichment programs, including educational space science activities, astronaut visits, special events, Girl Scout and Boy Scout events, and summer camps have reached untold thousands of community members, students, and teachers.
On October 13, 2007, the Discovery Museum’s Challenger Learning Center was entered into the U.S. House of Representatives’ Congressional Record by Congresswoman Doris Matsui in honor of our 10th Anniversary.
For more information, please visit www.challenger.org.