Challenger Memorial: 25 Years

Rebecca and I were invited to attend the national Challenger Center conference in Arlington, VA, where we gave a talk about the Star Challengers books and also attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery for the Challenger Seven.  It’s been 25 years since the Challenger accident, and 25 years since the founding of the Challenger Learning Centers to help carry on the mission and continue to promote careers in science and engineering.

Rebecca and I woke up on Wednesday morning to the news that a 4.2 magnitude earthquake had struck southern Colorado, but we didn’t feel it.  During our flight to Washington, DC, the pilot came over the intercom to announce that a much larger quake had struck the Washington, DC area and that we might be delayed landing because the city was being evacuated, mass-transit shut down, and the airports on standby.  (Then when we left the area a few days later, the city was preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.  Who says conferences are boring and uneventful?)

We met many astronauts, former NASA administrators, billionaire entrepreneurs, and country singer Lee Greenwood. The memorial ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery was very moving, as was the dedication of the families of the Challenger crewmembers to promote space education.  Because we believe so much in their work, the Challenger Centers have become our chosen charity, which we help promote whenever we can.  So far, with their 48 learning centers in the US, Canada, UK, and South Korea, they have put over four million students through exciting space simulations.

The Challenger memorial in Arlington National Cemetery

Rebecca with the 25 year memorial wreath

Wreath-laying ceremony with families of the Challenger astronauts

Dr. June Scobee Rodgers presents Challenger Awards

Lee Greenwood sings his signature song “God Bless the USA”

Kevin with space-station astronaut, Mt Everest climber, and president of the Challenger Centers, Scott Parazynski