Christa McAuliffe launched on the Challenger
STS-51L Teacher-in-Space mission with the goal of creating science lessons for students and teachers across the world. Thirty-two years later, McAuliffe’s legacy lives on after the release of her first lesson.
McAuliffe had planned to conduct six filmed science demonstrations in orbit, but after the tragic loss of Challenger
in 1986, the demonstrations became known as "the six lost lessons."
Three decades later, NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Joe Acaba, who were both educators prior to joining NASA, wanted to honor McAuliffe’s legacy by conducting her lesson plan during their expeditions on the International Space Station. They did this by filming an educational video series called “Christa McAuliffe’s Lost Lessons,” which complete the original lesson plans.
“From the day after the Challenger
accident, I prayed that we could continue the education mission, and we’ve been doing that,” said June Scobee Rodgers, widow of Challenger
space shuttle Commander Richard Scobee. “But you give us the culmination of the dream for Christa’s lessons to come to life.”
The lost lessons series was created through a partnership between NASA, STEM on Station and the Challenger Center. The goal of the program is to inspire students across the world to pursue a career in STEM.
“When educator astronauts Ricky and Joe requested to conduct Christa McAuliffe’s lesson plan, I was moved by how this honors not just her memory, but all educators worldwide,” said Mike Kincaid, NASA’s associate administrator of the Office of STEM Engagement. “Working with Challenger Center to bring those lessons directly to students and teachers has been a rewarding effort that we hope will spark the next generation into STEM careers.”
The first video featuring Arnold was broadcast live during a NASA TV event at the Lockheed Martin Global Vision Center and featured a live question-and-answer downlink with him. McAuliffe’s lost lessons and corresponding classroom activities can be found at www.challenger.org/christa
Johnson Space Center
NASA Astronaut Ricky Arnold completing the first of Christa's Lost Lessons.
Christa McCauliffe training for her mission with the goal of sharing educational materials with students and teachers across the globe.
NASA astronaut Joe Acaba was a teacher prior to joining NASA. He partnered with Arnold to complete the lessons.
Ricky Arnold completing science on the International Space Station.