On January 28, 1986, the Challenger crew boarded their
shuttle for the first Teacher in Space mission.
At 11:30 a.m. Eastern, Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off.
Seventy-three (73) seconds into flight, at an altitude of
48,000 feet, the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded.
The families of the Challenger crew chose to memorialize
their loved ones with a living tribute.
Together, they created Challenger Center for Space Science
Education to continue the education mission of the heroic crew.
Challenger Center’s Partner
“On that day, we lost the beloved crew, but not
their desire to help teach a nation of children
waiting and watching with eager anticipation.”
- Dr. June Scobee Rodgers
Founding Chair of Challenger Center,
Widow of Challenger Commander Dick Scobee
Engage students and teachers in dynamic,
hands-on exploration and discovery
opportunities that strengthen knowledge in
science, technology, engineering, and
mathematics (STEM), inspire students to
pursue careers in these fields, and provide an
outlet to learn and apply important life skills.
The majority of the fastest growing occupations
require significant math or science preparation
to successfully compete for a job.
STEM jobs are projected to grow at a fast pace
relative to other occupations
Kelly Services – July 2012
Today, a lack of skills in STEM subject areas is
said to be the reasoning for many of the
nation’s vacant positions.
In the past three years, across the STEM fields,
job postings outnumbered unemployed people
by almost two to one.
Change the Equation Vital Signs Report, “STEM Help Wanted”
We’re Losing Our Competitive Edge
In science, U.S. eighth graders are outperformed by
eighth grade students in eight countries.
In math, U.S. eighth graders were outperformed by
their peers in 14 countries.
STEM Education, An Independent Supplement from MediaPlanet to the Washington Post, June 2012
The Importance of Reaching Our
Students Early On
“STEM Perceptions: Student & Parent Survey;” Harris Interactive online survey of 500 STEM college students and 854 parents of K-12 students; May 2011.
We must prepare today’s students for an
increasingly competitive workforce so they can
become our next generation of leaders and
This is at the root of Challenger Center’s work.
Challenger Center is committed to helping
students gain a deeper understanding of
STEM subject areas.
Our Challenger Learning Centers give students
the chance to take part in exciting, simulated
The Centers are located in schools, colleges
and universities, in museums and science
centers, or as stand alone facilities.
Each one features a computerized simulator
with a mission control room patterned after
the NASA Johnson Space Center...
…and an orbiting space station ready for
The missions are designed with the
student and educator in mind.
environment is created
technology, real science
data, hands-on activities,
Students are transported throughout the Solar
System where they may rendezvous with a comet
or voyage to the Moon or Mars.
Every student takes on
a specific role with
The setting promotes
and creative problem
solving and decision
It reinforces and brings
relevance to concepts
taught in their
Many Challenger Learning Center students have
gone on to pursue careers in STEM fields.
Where Are They Now…
“I want to be able to help kids experience the wonders of space and
have just as much fun as I did when I went to the Challenger Learning
Center, an experience that I know influenced my career decision and
sparked my passion for space.”
- Brianna, pursuing degree in physics and astronomy
“It was a blessing in my life; it literally shaped who I am and the course
I took. Before, [space] may have just turned into a hobby for me, but
the experience I had at the Center helped me find my career.”
- Meg, Aerospace Engineer based at NASA Goddard
Where Are They Now…
“I can say, my final decision came down to doing it for the 5th grade boy
[himself] who sat behind that NAV console in the Challenger Learning
Center, and the choice became obvious. I am now a Space Shuttle
Robotics Flight Controller in Mission Control here at NASA in Houston.”
- Perry, reflecting on his career decision among two job offers at NASA
where he had to decide between being an astronaut trainer or a flight
controller in mission control.
“My Challenger Center experience set me on a course that landed me as
a Mission Control Operator here at Johnson Space Center in Houston.”
– Tess, Johnson Space Center
The impact is real. The need is evident.
The mission continues.