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McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center Commemorates Challenger 30th Anniversary

As the official New Hampshire memorial to Christa McAuliffe, the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the launch and subsequent loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger and its brave crew, including Christa McAuliffe, with a showing of the documentary on Christa, Reach for the Stars, at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, January 23, 24, 30 and 31, and with a special reception for teachers, school administrators, school board members and their families on the 30th anniversary of the Challenger launch, Thursday, January 28, from 4 – 6 p.m.


Generously sponsored by Rath, Young and Pignatelli, with refreshments provided by Associated Grocers of New England, the special January 28 evening for educators will feature hors d’oeuvres and conversation, a star show, exploration of exhibits and resources for educators at the Discovery Center and other NH museums; and remarks by NH Board of Education Chair Tom Raffio, NH STEM Director Eric Feldborg, EdD, Discovery Center Executive Director Jeanne Gerulskis and Education Director Kim Duncan, PhD, and a presentation on NASA resources for educators by NASA Educator Professional Development Specialist Kelly Hartford. All educators are welcome to the reception; admission is free, with RSVPs to Sherie Moore, at smoore@starhop.com or (603) 271-7827 x102 requested.


The public is welcome to all showings of the documentary, Reach for the Stars. General admission is $10 for adults, $9 for students and seniors, $7 for children 3 – 12; members and children under three are free. Tickets to Reach for the Stars and other shows in the planetarium theater are an additional $5.



30 years ago, on a cold January morning, seven brave crew members launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in what was to be a unique mission. On board was Christa McAuliffe, a social studies teacher from Concord High School in Concord, NH. McAuliffe had been chosen out of over 11,000 applicants to be NASA’s first Teacher-in-Space. Known for her passion for experiential education, McAuliffe was to take, in her words, “the ultimate field trip”, teaching a variety of lessons from space. The world’s most beloved teacher and her crewmates were lost when, 73 seconds into the launch, the Challenger exploded. The people of New Hampshire came together to honor Christa McAuliffe by building a science center to carry on her mission. Today, the center that bears her name and that of her hero, Admiral Alan Shepard, welcomes 10,000 schoolchildren on field trips each year, as well as tens of thousands of members of the general public. At the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, people from all walks of life are encouraged to follow Christa’s exhortation to learn all they can about the universe; over 1.75 million people have journeyed to the stars since the center’s dedication to Christa McAuliffe in 1990.


The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center features 21st century interactive exhibits on aviation, astronomy, Earth and space sciences, a state-of-the-art planetarium and a variety of science, technology, and engineering and mathematics programs. The engaging, robust educational programs are geared towards families, teens, seniors, students, community groups and lifelong learners. For more information, visit www.starhop.com.


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