The students at Challenger Middle and Elementary schools weren’t around for the tragedy, but it’s a name they won’t forget.
On January 28, 1986 – just 73 seconds after launching – a booster engine failed and caused the shuttle Challenger to break apart. The launch was broadcasted on live television, and as America watched the 10th flight of Space Shuttle Challenger, it fell apart over the Atlantic Ocean.
NASA lost seven astronauts that day. One of those was high school teacher Christa McAuliffe, who would’ve been the first teacher in space.
NASA will honor those who lost their lives for space exploration this Thursday for the day of remembrance. This event is for employees and starts at 9 a.m., honoring the crews of Apollo 1 and Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia.
This isn’t the only school in north Alabama that commemorates astronauts lost during space exploration – three schools in Huntsville were named for the three astronauts that died in Apollo 1.
Grissom High School was named for Virgil Grissom, along with Roger B. Chaffee Elementary and the now-closed Ed White Middle School.
Columbia High School in Huntsville and the Elementary School in Madison bear the name of the shuttle whose crew died in 2003.