CONCORD — The 28th anniversary of the launch and loss of the space shuttle Challenger, with New Hampshire’s Teacher in Space Christa McAuliffe, will pass quietly today without public memorial events.
But in many schoolrooms, teachers will take the opportunity to talk about the Challenger mission and New Hampshire’s crew member who often said: “I touch the future. I teach.” She took such delight in gaining the opportunity to teach from space and encouraged her students, saying: “May your future be limited only by your dream.”
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, which honors New Hampshire astronaut Alan Shepard and McAuliffe, the Concord High School teacher who planned to teach children all over the world from space, will not be open today.
The center, which includes the planetarium, Redstone rocket and traveling exhibits,will be open Thursday through Sunday at 2 Institute Drive, on the NHTI campus.
Elsewhere in the country, the foundation started in April 1986 by the family members of the lost Challenger crew continues to open Challenger Centers for Space Science Education.
The closest, the Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Challenger Learning Center, is located at Framingham, Mass., State College, where McAuliffe earned her undergraduate degree.
The center is not a museum and is not open to the public. It provides teacher professional development and learning opportunities to middle school students. The McAuliffe Center’s Challenger Mission Simulation and Planetarium programs are designed to work in a formal education setting under the direction of a middle school classroom teacher.
There are more than 40 Challenger learning centers in the United States, Canada, South Korea and the United Kingdom, with a half-dozen more Challenger Learning Centers set to open within the next two years, including a National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Innovation Center in Washington, D.C.