Boston native, history teacher and astronaut Sharon Christa Corrigan McAuliffe died twenty-five years ago today when the shuttle Challenger she was on exploded shortly after lift off.
Christa was selected from more than 11,000 applicants as the first teacher to participate in a space mission. The world watched in excitement on January 28, 1986, as McAulife and her fellow astronauts lifted off at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but that excitement turned to horror and grief as the space craft exploded seconds later.
She was later awarded the Medal of Honor by President Ronald Reagan and since her death has continued to inspire new generations to learn about space exploration.
Framingham State College, where McAuliffe received her teaching degree, created the Christa McAuliffe Center in her honor, dedicated to teacher excellence. The Center recently announced plans to expand its facility and mission, according to MetroWest News.