Astronaut, Educator. She was a teacher, and was slated to be the first civilian in space, assigned to fly about the ill-fated space shuttle "USS Challenger". The image of her jaunty stride and exuberant wave as she entered Challenger spacecraft shortly before the ill-fated mission ended in tragedy has become an icon of the 20th century. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan, in an attempt to rekindle the excitement of the early days of America's space adventures, directed that the first ordinary Unites States citizen in space would be "one of America's finest, a teacher." The energetic Social Studies teacher from Concord High School, Concord, New Hampshire, noted on her eleven-page application, "I watched the Space Age being born and I would like to participate." In July 1985, Christa was selected over 11,500 other applicants to become the first Teacher In Space. As a payload specialist on the Challenger mission, she trained side by side with the other six Challenger astronauts. She prepared materials for the two lessons scheduled during the flight and planned to keep a journal, reminiscent of the journals kept by pioneer women crossing the 1800s frontier. Instead, millions of school children and adults watched horrified as the Challenger exploded only 73 seconds after lift-off. Christa's influence continues to touch the lives of school children and adults alike. The Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, opened in 1990 in Concord, New Hampshire, carries on her vision of educating students of all ages about astronomy and space science: "I touch the future, I teach."
Bio by: Shiver
S. Christa McAuliffe
September 2, 1948-January 28, 1986
Wife mother teacher
Crew member, space shuttle Challenger
America's first ordinary citizen to venture toward space
She helped people. She laughed. She loved and is loved. She appreciated the world's natural beauty. She was curious and sought to learn who we are and what the universe is about. She relied on her own judgment and moral courage to do right. She cared about the suffering of her fellow man. She tried to protect our spaceship Earth. She taught her children to do the same.