Challenger legacy boosts STEM with lessons from space

| Industrial Sector News

The legacy of Challenger shuttle astronaut Christa McAuliffe will be continued this year with the delivery of filmed lessons from astronauts on the ISS.

Several of the lessons that famed astronaut and victim of the Challenger shuttle disaster, Christa McAuliffe planned to perform aboard the shuttle during the Teacher in Space mission will be completed aboard the International Space Station (ISS) this year.

The lessons are being organised by Challenger Center, in collaboration with NASA and STEM on Station, who will work with astronauts Joe Acaba, currently aboard the ISS, and Ricky Arnold, scheduled to arrive in March, to film the lessons.

“We are thrilled to work with NASA’s educator astronauts to bring Christa’s lessons to life,” said Lance Bush, president and CEO, Challenger Center. “For more than 30 years, we have continued the mission of the Challenger crew, reaching more than 5 million students with our hands-on STEM programs. We are delighted to have the opportunity to complete Christa’s lessons and share them with students and teachers around the world.”

Acaba and Arnold will film the activities over the next several months. The lesson topics will include effervescence, chromatography, liquids in zero-G and Newton’s laws. Several of the lessons will be completed as originally planned by Christa and a few will be reconfigured based on materials available aboard the ISS.

“Filming Christa McAuliffe’s lessons in orbit this year is an incredible way to honour and remember her and the Challenger crew,” said Mike Kincaid, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Office of Education. “Developed with such care and expertise by Christa, the value these lessons will have as new tools available for educators to engage and inspire students in STEM is what will continue to advance a true legacy of Challenger’s mission.”

Christa McAuliffe was a school teacher who made history when she became the first teacher selected to go into space. She had planned to film several demonstrations to be used as a part of educational packages distributed to students and teachers across the globe. The crew of the Challenger shuttle died tragically on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986 when the shuttle broke apart just 73 seconds after launch.

The collaboration announcement comes prior to the 32nd anniversary of the Challenger accident. Acaba made the announcement during a downlink hosted by Challenger Center and the McAuliffe Center at Framingham State University (FSU). FSU is Christa McAuliffe’s alma mater and home to one of Challenger Center’s 43 Challenger Learning Centers.

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